How to Shoot and Edit Interior Photos

Taking professional-level interior photos is a surprisingly difficult skill to master. Here are five tips for improving your interior photography.

I am consistently surprised by the poor quality displayed in local real estate photographers' images. The photos I see either have an overdone HDR look or are lit poorly and have warped edges. Honestly, few photographers have a solid understanding of what a quality real estate photo looks like, and even fewer know how to go about capturing one. Like any other genre, professional interior photography takes a unique set of skills as well as a level of experience that few people have.

If you want to get a solid foundation in real estate photography, this video is a great place to start. In this tutorial, Becki Peckham of Becki and Chris gives a handful of excellent tips for taking better interior photos. She shares several examples of what not to do and also shares a brief overview of what techniques and gear you need to improve your craft.

The most common mistake I see is one that has one of the easiest fixes. Photos that do not have straight lines might work for some portraits, but they look terrible in real estate photography. You can resolve this issue quickly in Lightroom by using the transform tab. Here, you can match up lines in your photo that should be parallel or it can even automatically straighten lines, and it does a decent job. At the very least, you should be using this adjustment on any wide interior shot. This is one of the many excellent tips covered in Peckham’s video. To find out what else she has to say, take a look at the video above.

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12 Comments

Mark Richardson's picture

It's difficult to find realtors in my area willing to pay enough for images to justify anything more than running through the house with a wide angle and shooting handheld.

Mark James's picture

Most don't have the budget for it. When the houses hit about a million, you can start seeing realtors pay decent money. Most of the money I made at this was in the rental sector. Lots of air B&B's that might be interested in some quality shots if you can find them.

Daniel Medley's picture

A lot of it depends on market, too. Where I live, a realtor friend said that a two year old could scribble a picture on a piece of paper, throw it in the yard, and the next day you'll have a bidding war.

What really drives me nuts is when the realtor takes their own photos with their cellphone but they're like the worst photographer in the world and you get dark photos of a wall, the floor, some sink in a corner, a crooked blurry photo of a dark hallway, a ceiling fan...

I mean most realtors do a decent job of at least giving an idea of what the property looks like but then you get those rare cases where it looks like they handed a camera to a monkey to get the photos.

Mark James's picture

Sounds like the same basic process I used. I've done resorts as well as villas and yachts. It is fun when they have it all clean and staged properly. Not so fun when they don't.

Benedict Eric's picture

Great video!

David Pavlich's picture

My son is a wedding photographer and has a drone...hard to believe that several of his clients want drone shots at their weddings. But, once in a while, he'll get a call from a friend of his that sells real estate. For those really big, pricey estates, some want aerial shots, so he gets a little extra work for his drone. I know it's not interior but it's something to think about.

R. P.'s picture

Good tips for beginners. Very much like the non-HDR look of the merged exposures. But what bugs me is that most of her compositions cut through objects on the left and right edges: partial tables, stemless flowers, halved doors and picture frames. Maybe bring something wider then 16mm ;-) or stitch.

Rob Woodham's picture

This is very common in interior design/architecture photography versus real estate photography. The aim is to give the viewer the idea of the space from a design standpoint including finishes, materials, etc, versus taking a documentary approach and showing the viewer exactly what the room looks like wall to wall.

It's two different approaches for two different audiences.

Darren Loveland's picture

Good point by Rob. RE photography should be a high quality form of documenting the property, interior design photography is more artistic. I shoot roughly 300 houses a year and maybe 30 interior design projects a year. When I transition from RE to ID for a project, I have to sort of mentally retrain my workflow and eye as the two styles are quite different.

Love her compositions, but curious with the no flash style.. do you keep the same style when there are views through the windows or keep them blown out? I guess designers don’t care much but I feel realtors do.

Christian Berens's picture

Sound advice and short enough to keep my interest :P I liked the tips. I'm thoroughly impressed she uses all natural light. I'd be interested in seeing some of the photoshop edits