The Best Settings For Interior Photography

Interior photography comes with its own set of challenges that photographers need to step up to. From figuring out which settings are best, to useful tips for making the whole thing work, we can help!

The Best Settings for Interior Photography

Sure, you could learn everything yourself, but we all have things we need to get on with, right?

As such, we have compiled a few tips and information regarding interior photography that you can use to make your photos pop.

From the ISO and aperture to some handy tips for getting the best results, keep reading to up your interior photography game. 

Choosing The Right Camera Settings And Modes For Interior Photography

Camera settings and modes can make or break a photograph.

By knowing what you should and should not do, you can get your photos looking better than ever. Let’s go through what you need to know about modes and settings before we get into a few tips and tricks. 

Try Out Aperture Mode

Manual mode has its place, but there are other options that will get you great results. Manual mode is excellent, but it won’t always be suitable for your creative needs.

As an alternative, you can shoot in aperture mode. This actually gives you greater control of the final result without needing to worry about the right exposure. 

By using a small aperture (f6–f16), you can get wonderfully crisp images that are in focus and sharp.

If you use a larger aperture, you can get more depth in your photos. By doing this, you will be able to create the bokeh effect (blurry background). 

When using this mode, your camera will automatically calculate what it needs to do for the right exposure as soon as you give it the aperture. It takes a lot of the confusion of the work and makes it more enjoyable and liberating. 

Shoot In RAW

Just about every camera will give you the option of shooting in a JPEG or RAW format. If you do have the option, choose RAW – this will save all your data that the camera sensor records, and the files will not be compressed.

This will mean that the quality of the image will be higher!

Even most cameras on mobile phones have the ability to shoot RAW nowadays, so don’t think that you need a high-end camera to get the job done.

More Time? Test Out Manual Mode

We know what we just said, but we also mentioned that manual mode does have its place! If you have more time to play around with settings, then manual mode could really work for you.

Truth is, shooting in manual mode is a lot easier than you might think, so don’t even think of stressing about it.  

Using manual mode will ultimately give you the highest level of control for your photography. However, there is a lot more than you will need to know about it if you want to make it work.

Namely, you will need to figure out ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and use the histogram feature that your camera offers. 

Let’s take a look at each of these points and see what you need to bear in mind while using manual mode. 

1. Determining ISO

ISO is crucial. It would be a good idea to keep the ISO as low as possible. Doing this will prevent your finished image from being grainy – and no one wants a grainy image.

The ideal ISO setting will be somewhere between 100–640. However, these numbers may vary slightly depending on your particular camera. 

Start with ISO 100, and work your way up if you need to. 

2. What About The Aperture

Since the aperture gives you control over the field of depth of each of your images, you will need to change this depending on the results you want.

If you want a blurry background, then you will need to adjust your aperture to have a lower f-number (this opens it wider). 

However, if you do not want any bokeh effects, alter the aperture until it perfectly suits your needs. This will vary from one shot to the next. 

3. Selecting The Right Shutter Speed

Shutter speed affects exposure – this is essentially how bright or dark your image is. Since it can be difficult to tell if your exposure is actually right, you may need to use the histogram feature that your camera has. 

We will go through this feature below. 

In general, a shutter speed of 1/125–1/250 is a good place to start. However, this will once again depend on where exactly you are shooting and what you are trying to achieve. 

4. Use the Histogram Feature

The histogram can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting your exposure right. On the histogram (which you can opt to show up on your camera screen), the left side represents all the dark areas in the shot.

The bright areas are represented by the right side, and the middle holds all the mid-tones. 

You will see large spikes on either side of the histogram if the image is too bright or too dark (overexposed or underexposed).

The histogram should cover all the brightness levels – this is how you know something has the correct exposure. 

Tips For Making Indoor Photography Work Well

There are a few tips you can implement into your work to ensure that photography always goes well. We will cover a few of the best tips that could make a big difference in your work below.

The Best Settings for Interior Photography (1)

1. Use A Tripod 

Using a tripod will ensure that every image you take is perfectly still, so you will never have to worry about blurring again. Your images will be clean and crisp, and you can easily recreate them if you need to layer one image over the other.

Just make sure you set up your tripod somewhere that makes sense, and don’t move it until all your shots in that particular area are done. 

2. Natural Light Is The Best

Natural lighting will always be your friend (unless you are doing editorial-style pieces that use lots of fun colors). In most circumstances, however, natural lighting will always be preferred.

It allows you to get the best shows and gives you all the best details that you want in photography. 

Using natural lighting will also mean that the balance will be good, and much easier to work with. Of course, if your project requires something different, then go for it. However, in most cases, you can’t go wrong with natural lighting. 

3. Carefully Monitor Your Lighting Conditions

This goes hand-in-hand with the above.

However, this also means that you need to be aware of how your lighting can change. It can change depending on the weather and time of day, but also with other lights on in the room. 

For the best results, you should keep all other lights in the room off. This will help to keep the light balanced and clear, so you do not need to deal with any issues with differences in tones and brightness. 

4. Try Different Heights

If you are taking interior photos of spaces, try to vary the angles and heights of the photos. While you should not shoot too much ceiling or floor (unless the project demands it), you can play around and have fun. 

Most interior photographs are taken from around chest height.

However, you can go lower or higher for something a little different. Waist height can work really well in some cases, or maybe even lower depending on what exactly you would like to capture. 

5. Use The Golden Ratio

The golden ratio is a tool that can be used and accessed just about everywhere.

Your camera (even phone cameras) will have the option for you to use it. It essentially works on the ratio of ½ to ⅔ and will allow a grid to come up on the screen.

Use these grid lines and place important items of themes on the lines or where the lines cross each other. Doing this makes the image more pleasing, and will always keep it interesting. 

6. Make The Foreground Interesting

You can play around with the depth of an image by adding something to the foreground.

This layered look will help to guide the eye to where it should be in the image. It can be anything you like – from flowers to furniture. 

By doing this, you can blur the foreground items and make the image more interesting overall.  

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you can use either manual or aperture mode to get fantastic interior shots. Aperture mode takes a lot of the stress away from photography while still allowing you to get creative and have fun.

However, shooting in manual mode offers the most freedom. 
If you want to use manual mode, you need to make sure that your settings are correct for the shots you want to do.

This includes having the right ISO (likely between 100–640), changing your aperture, and using the correct shutter speed to suit your personal needs.

Laura McNeill
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