Home photography ideas: learning to light up interiors


One of the biggest challenges in indoor photography is balancing exposure with outdoor lighting conditions. When shooting buildings for commercial clients, whether the subject is a home, office, or other commercial property, interior images almost always have more impact when the view outside. a window is visible.

However, since light levels are considerably lower indoors, the exposure required will often make the windows large blocks of burnt white reflections. One potential solution is to frame the exposures and use HDR software to blend multiple images, for a wider dynamic range. The downside of this approach is that, without care, the tone mapping procedure can introduce an unrealistic effect, increase noise, and produce mixing artifacts and edge halos.

An interesting alternative is to use off-camera flashes for additional interior lighting. By accurately calculating exposure settings for exterior light and strategically placing flashes indoors, shadows can be raised, while maintaining exterior highlights. The position of the flashes and the way the light emitted mixes with the natural light from the window go a long way in making your images successful.

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Before: Underexposed foreground
By exposing to exterior daylight, the interior of this room suffers from extreme and unattractive underexposure, while offsetting creates lost reflections in the scene of the exterior landscape.
(Image credit: Avenir)

After: Full tonal scale
Outdoor exposure and the addition of artificial lighting by external flashes produces a balanced exposure throughout the frame, revealing exceptional depth. A much more effective business plan.
(Image credit: Peter Fenech)

Here, we explore how to work with multiple light sources for images of exceptional depth, but free from identifiable processing technique signatures, which might otherwise detract from the impact of the subject.

1. Configure the wireless system

(Image credit: Avenir)

In order to properly illuminate the scene, we will need the freedom to move the flashes at will. Attach radio triggers to your flashes, as they will prove to be more reliable than line-of-sight triggering.

f3The Best Wireless Flash Triggers

2. Test your flashes

(Image credit: Avenir)

To make sure all of your wireless flashes are configured correctly, use the test button to verify that each unit has been assigned to the same channel and group. If one does not shoot, reset these settings using the flash menu or the controls on the triggers themselves.

• The best flashes

3. Position your lights

(Image credit: Avenir)

Place a flash at each end of a room, with the head pointing 45 °, to bounce light through the gap. If you have another flash, place it outside the frame, aiming towards the window to fill in the shadows.

4. Define the base exposure (for outdoors)

(Image credit: Avenir)

Take a meter reading of the scene outside the window, then push it in just before the highlights lose their detail. This maximizes the interior brightness possible to reduce native contrast as much as possible.

5. Evaluate the balance

(Image credit: Avenir)

Take a test shot and determine if the balance between natural light and flash is optimal. If the interior space is still too dark, increase the flash output in â…“ stop increments until contrast is desired.

6. Modify the propagation of light

(Image credit: Avenir)

Finally, try varying the zoom of the flashes and adding or removing diffusers or wide panels, to experiment with light diffusion. A tighter beam can highlight important areas but look less natural.

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