Essential for advertising property for sale or rental,
interior views have long been a staple of the
professional photographer. Produced with the
aim of showing the space in as favorable a
light as possible—spacious, tidy, airy, and attractive—
the potential for creativity and experimentation
is limited. But if you are not working for clients,
there is no reason to restrict yourself.
Mania for mood
Interior views are most interesting when they
convey a mood—the faded charm of a once luxurious
hotel, the mysterious ruins of an abandoned
house, the remains of a grand palace.
To capture atmosphere, work with light, compose
to make the most of intriguing details, but do not
feel that you have to get everything into one shot.
The best way to use flash to light dark spaces is to
aim the light into a specific area to create an
atmospheric accent, but not to provide the main
illumination. You might manipulate the image to
introduce a vintage look, if that will help create a
sense of times past and lost.
Vintage interior
For a vintage hotel in
Brussels, a faded look, as
provided by the Hipstamatic
app, was more appropriate
than a straight shot. The
app applies a filter that
turns the overall tone to
yellow-green, reduces
contrast and desaturates
the majority of colors. The
result is similar to that
obtained from out-of-date
high-speed transparency
film of the 1980s.
Chateau grandeur
With grand spaces made to impress, it is easy to obtain
an eye-catching image. You can shoot from any corner
of the room—although it is best to have your back to the
windows—and you can shoot from a high vantage point.
From an atrium balcony you need only a moderately
wide-angle lens to give good account of the space.
Transit zones
Architects love transit zones or areas: they are often
neglected by the average visitor, but of course no building
can do without them. They are usually used more than the
main rooms, and they structure the character and style of
the spaces, so make room for them in your photography.
Restored glory
The extensively restored throne-room of Frederick II, in
Gioa del Colle, Italy, is seen here from the throne itself. This
viewpoint was chosen to show that subjects entering the
room are very well lit by large windows. In contrast, the
throne itself is in darkness.
Rooms usually look their largest from a corner,
often the one facing the door. A view in which the
adjacent corners can be seen will make the room
appear large and spacious, but in a small room
you may need an extreme wide-angle lens to
capture it all. Extreme wide-angle views will
appear to elongate objects near the edge so that,
for example, round mirrors appear egg-shaped. It
is best to avoid such apparent distortion by moving
round objects away from the edge of the image.
Light the room evenly to avoid extensive areas of
deep shadow: small lights hidden behind furniture
are very effective, and do not have to be perfectly
color balanced. Avoid views that look directly out
of a window as the bright light from outside is
tricky to balance with the dimmer interior light.
Modern in retro tones
Sleek hotel interiors may be most
natural when captured in color but
can take on more style and character
when toned as if the image were
created with darkroom processes.

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