How To Use Light To Enhance Your Interior Photos

If you are new to photography, and you want to try taking interior photographs, you may be unsure how to get started.

How To Use Light To Enhance Your Interior Photos

Lighting is one of the most important tools that you will need to master if you want to enhance your images, and take high quality photographs. 

The process and equipment needed for proper lighting in photography can be difficult to comprehend at first, as there is so much to consider. In this guide, we are going to help you out. 

We will cover why lighting is important, what kind of lighting to use for interior photography, and some of the best tips and techniques to use to light your interior photos(see also: How To Use Light To Enhance Your Star Photos).

Read on to find out everything you need to know about using light to enhance your interior photos! 

Why Is Lighting Important For Interior Photos?

Lighting is one of the most essential factors in constructing a successful photograph. Without proper lighting, viewers would not be able to see what they need to see in the image.

You can use lighting to create shadows, shapes, illuminate features, and so much more.

Lighting can also create a tone, mood and atmosphere in your images. Therefore, you need to be able to manipulate light properly in order to have a vibrant, illuminated and interesting image. 

Once you have the knowledge and you can understand the impact lighting has on photography, you will be able to create a variety of different images. 

Lighting is also essential for interior photos as it can highlight the features of a room, make it feel more natural, welcoming, and it transforms the space. 

What Kind Of Lighting Can Be Used For Interior Photos?

When shooting interior photos, you really need to embrace the lighting, as there may not be a whole lot of natural lighting available as there would be with outdoor photography.

As you are inside of a building or structure, you need to be able to use the light that you have from windows or lighting equipment. 

Bad lighting can really ruin a shot, and good lighting can turn a great photo into a fantastic one! 

When it comes to interior photography, most experienced photographers will say that natural lighting is the best option.

Natural lighting can really transform photographs and feels normal to the human eye, while highlighting the natural beauty of the space. 

Natural lighting is also known as ‘daylighting’ which is a technique that brings natural sunlight and daylight into the space using windows or skylights.

This makes the image appear more inviting and realistic, which is great for interior shots because it feels like a glimpse into home life. 

However, depending on the space, you may want to use artificial lighting instead out of necessity or to add something to the image. 

Some interiors may be darker and not have as much natural light as you would like, so you may need to add artificial lighting such as flashes, softboxes, or strobe lights. 

Tips & Techniques For Lighting Your Interior Photos

If you want to take your interior photos to the next level, then follow tips and tricks! 

Make Sure You Plan

The first step is to make sure that you plan ahead before your shots, especially when doing interior photography as you will want to use natural lighting if possible.

The best time for this kind of photography is when the sun is directly overhead. 

You may want to visit the space before the shoot so that you know what kind of lighting is available, and when the best time is to take the photographs.

You will also know then which equipment you need to bring with you for the actual shoot to boost the natural lighting. 

Choose The Right Time Of Day To Shoot

Daylight is your best friend for interior photography, so you have to choose the optimal time to shoot.

If the sunlight is too harsh coming through the windows, it can cast shadows in places that you do not want it to, and cause glare. When the sun is directly overhead, it should provide more illumination all around and give you better lighting in the room. 

Utilize Off Camera Lighting

Off camera lighting can be very beneficial for interior photography. Try using a speedlight to bounce off the walls and surfaces to make the light appear more natural instead of aiming it directly at your subject. 

This should help you avoid harsh shadows and unnatural light. 

If you want a lot of light to show off an interior, then you can also use strobe lighting, but this can create harsh shadows. You can also use lighting in the room such as lamps to create a more cozy yet natural atmosphere.

Take Windows Into Account

Windows are your most powerful ally in interior photography.

Make sure that you expose the camera properly by pointing your camera at the window to show off the views outside of the interior too, and also ensure that the light from the window is not over-exposing your camera. 

Try Flash For Details

Depending on how much detail you want to have in your images, you may want to use flash photography for lighting up the room.

Using a flash can bring attention to certain details and focal points, so you can utilize this to bring features to light. 

Give Bracketing A Go

Bracketing is a technique where you take multiple photographs of the same composition and style, but with different exposures. This way, you can utilize various lighting techniques for the interior, and see which one looks best.

Make sure that you expose your camera to light and dark spaces to see what it picks up on the interior and which lighting works best for your project. 

Turn Off The Lights

Most interior photographers prefer to use natural lighting as it does not discolor the interior or alter the warmness of the photograph. Interior lighting can often be very warm and change the whole color of your images, so natural lighting is best.

Therefore, you will want to turn off the lights so that the photos do not look unnatural and too bright or colorful.

This way, you can see the natural colors, textures and shadows of the room to make it more realistic and true to form. If you need light, use a flash. 

Combine Various Lighting Tools

In most cases, you may need to combine lighting tools and techniques for the best results.

How To Use Light To Enhance Your Interior Photos (2)

For instance, you may want to include natural light sources and some flashes or softboxes to control the lighting- so some areas are lighter and some are darker.

Make sure you use dimmers and adjust your speedlight to get the best photographs. 

How To Take Interior Photos

For more tips on taking the best interior photographs, check out this section! 

Utilize Natural Light

The most important thing to learn when taking interior photos is to use natural light! Light bulbs and interior lighting cast horrible shadows and color casts, so keep them turned off, and utilize the light of the day instead. 

Get A Tripod

A tripod is one of the best investments you can make as a photographer. It can ensure that your images are sharp and crisp, and you don’t have to worry too much about shutter speed.

Make sure that you have one with a bubble level so that your images are always picture perfect and straight. 

Stage Your Images

For interior photography, you have to stage your images well. Get rid of anything unsightly such as trash, cords, cables, mail or anything that ruins the shot.

Don’t be afraid to move furniture and create your own staging if you think that it will look better a certain way. You can also move furniture to hide outlets and switches to give an overall look of perfection that is nice, clean and tidy. 

Keep Lines Straight

Ensure that you shoot from the same height if you are taking a series of photographs of an interior, and make sure that your lines are all straight.

This will prevent the viewer from feeling jarred or that they are jumping around the room. Chest height is a great option for interior photographs as it feels natural as if you are standing in the room yourself. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Closer

Finally, don’t be afraid to get closer and zoom in on some details. If there are beautiful shelves filled with decorations, then take a shot of it.

This can make the images more interesting, and gives viewers a full picture of what the room entails. Play around with the depth of field for your close-up images, so that the background is blurred and the focus is your subject. 

Final Thoughts

With this guide, you can implement good practices and techniques in your interior photography.

However, lighting is all about trial and error, so be sure to play around with it and take plenty of different shots to get the results that you are looking for.

Laura McNeill
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