As a photographer I’m often asked what is the best way to shoot a room. And it all depends on the room. Ideally it would be great if you had beautiful existing light and enough space to step back and get the whole room in. Without either, it gets a bit tricky.
First of all it helps to have a versatile lens on the camera. By that I mean one with a zoom and a wide enough angle to include the room while you’re practically standing on the bed. And if you have a lens with tilts and swings you can adjust the view so it doesn’t look like a shot of an insane asylum or a goldfish bowl.
And then there’s the lighting. If there isn’t enough light, I usually set up a strobe. I direct the light to bounce off the ceiling or a wall to soften the effect (if your wall is not white, place a large sheet of foamcore against the walls). The light looks most natural that way. And then this all depends on whether you want a nighttime mood or all bright and clear to show off the entire room in detail.
When I first approach the room, I set up the camera on a tripod. Capture the image with the desired lighting and angle. Then decide what to move in the room for a good composition. Working with a digital camera helps a lot as you can see your results on the screen. Most furniture can be arranged more closely together in photos than you would want it in reality. Move a chair or some other item into the foreground for depth if you want. Move plants and flowers and objects to make the most of details and accents. Keep moving and taking photos. That’s the fun part.
Remember when you finally get the one shot you wanted, no one will see all the other boring steps it took to get there. They’ll only see the final, beautiful photograph.
Brian is from Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA, receiving a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. As a photographer in New York, he has worked in almost every aspect of the photographic industry, from portraiture for the entertainment and music sector, to still-life work for major food, beauty, and home design clients. Brian Hagiwara, 10 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012 / 212-674-6026