While getting the best angle and the right lighting is crucial, it isn’t the only thing that goes into a a good interior photo. Sometimes you need to get in there and move some stuff around. The room might look amazing as you walk through it, however once a composition is chosen and the camera is in place the photos just don’t look right.
The solution to a funky photo might be to consider moving some furniture, thinning it out, scooting it around, whatever it takes to make everything look its best. Overcrowding can be a big problem, so an adjustment here and there can inject some needed breathing room, on occasion when things look really tight a table and set of chairs might be moved out of frame. More often though as the room gets distorted by the lens, the closer objects and those near the edge of the image can start to look strange so a little adjustment can put things back to looking normal, even when they look bizarre to your eye.
This classroom is a great example, it is in pristine condition because it was just finished, the furniture was moved in , everything is inviting and functional and it will surely be an exciting space for the new students returning from vacation and about to start the new year. At first look from my iPhone, everything looks fine, so I start to pick out details I think I might like to improve upon.
Things feel a little messy and crowded. I would love to see more of the reading area in back, the rug looks comfortable but is barely visible, so it would be nice to see that too, it will also be a nice pop of color. There are two desks facing each other, removing one would free up some space. There are shelves and play areas that also provide a little visual clutter so we pull those out and color coordinate what we keep. The chairs come toward camera to give the room a distinct seperation between the work and play areas. Once the tables are lined up and the chairs carefully placed, they are moved around the picture plane to make an interesting composition.
As my assistant and I work we peek into surrounding rooms for inspiration, we find some stuffed animals for the white shelves in the reading nook, a globe for the desk and a cute desk and building blocks for a little color and detail in the front of the shot. Every chair is straightened to make things nice and orderly. Once everything looks great we photograph the room in several exposures, some with the lights on, some with the lights off and some with powerful studio flash units. Later the exposures will be combined to create a natural looking image that shows the whole range of colors and textures that are there in the space.
After we have photographed the room, one of the most important steps is to return everything back to its place, so no-one can tell we were there.