At first sight shooting interior may seem an easy and simple task, but it is difficult to shoot in a closed space without a wide-angle lens. This does not mean that everything you shoot must be wide-angle. You can shoot accents or parts of the room with a normal lens, but for the general views which include the whole room within a single shot so that the viewer can get a feel of the interior in its entirety, you will need a wide-angle lens, or wider than the kit lens in any case. If you have a full-frame sensor, you can use a zoom lens of the 17-40, 15-30, 16-35 range. If you have an APS format camera – 10-20, 12-24 or similar. It is preferable to have a lens with distortion correction and minimal chromatic aberrations.
Using a fish eye lens may sometimes produce an interesting effect, but it is not recommended for this type of photography.
The greatest problem is the poor lighting in closed premises.
One option is to use flash, but it can only be used in relatively small rooms. If the flash is only one, the photograph will look flat. A better option is to use a tripod, long exposure times and the available light.
Usually light inside the room produces high contrasts. The light near the window is very strong while further inside the room it quickly gets much dimmer.
Cloudy days offer better conditions for this type of photography because the light is soft and dispersed. You must shoot in RAW format so that during the editing process you can level brightness and bring out more details in the dark areas.
It is a good idea to turn on the lights in the room while shooting. Turn on everything which can emit light – television sets, computers and other similar sources of light. (Sometimes I even place in certain niches my own video lamps which I carry in my backpack.)
To begin with, in this way you will have more uniform light. More importantly, having many different light sources creates accents. The room has a cosy but unconventional look. Without the various light accents even the most interesting room will look flat and boring.
How do we set the white balance when we have several different light sources – the natural light from the windows and the artificial light from the lamps? You will have to put up with the fact that the objects will not be uniformly lit and that in some parts of the room you will have different casts. This is not always a defect. Sometimes it can be an effect and the picture benefits from the different colour tones; it is more interesting and it is closer to what we perceive with our eyes.
Using a tripod when shooting interior is a must. To have greater depth of field and more objects in focus, you need to close the camera aperture, which automatically leads to lower speeds, and it is difficult to achieve good quality without the use of a tripod, especially considering the poor ambient light.
When shooting interior photography in public premises, it is important to take extra care not to have people walking in front of the lens during exposure time. However, sometimes this creates a more interesting atmosphere and brings the place to life.
There are always two people in every picture: The photographer and the viewer.