Final tips from our professional photographer
Take a test
“I always snap a few test shots without a tripod first,” explains Max. “Once I’m happy, I’ll get the composition roughly right and then fine-tune the arrangement of the objects. There’s no point obsessing over an object’s position until you can see how it looks through the viewfinder.”
Look for props
“When you’re shooting still life shots on location, have a good look around before you get started,” says Max. “Go through the house room by room looking for interesting objects or groups of objects and come up with a potential shot list.
“If possible, find out about the age and style of the property before you get there, and take a few suitable props along with you. I’m always on the lookout for interesting objects that I can use as props, and I take a selection on every shoot.”
What do your props say about your interior?
“When you’re looking for objects or arrangements to photograph,” advises Max, “think about using things that reflect the purpose of the room, such as soap in a bathroom.
“Adding a touch of luxury will also give your finished image a polished, classy feel, even if the items in question are never actually used! Handmade soap tied up with rattan is always going to look more appealing than a plain old bar of bath soap!”
Use aperture creatively
“I try to use aperture as a creative tool in its own right: f/2.8 enables me to focus the viewer’s attention on a single detail, f/5.6 lets me show most of the subject but blurs the background, and f/8.0 enables me to soften the background,” says Max.
“I tend not to go higher than about f/11, as most lenses are at their sharpest in the f/8-f/11 range. Any higher and the depth-of-field benefit is cancelled out by the loss of optical quality.”
Use your lights wisely
“If you set your exposure for the ambient light, before any lights are switched on, if they’re then switched on for the duration of the exposure to add interest you run the risk of badly blown-out highlights,” explains Max.
“Because shutter speeds are typically a second or more when you’re shooting interiors, the way round this is to only turn the lights on for a split second during the exposure. This should be just long enough to add a subtle glow without altering the exposure or producing any blown-out highlights.”
Get down low
“When you’re shooting whole rooms, the temptation is to shoot from head height,” cautions Max, “but, more often than not, getting slightly lower results in a more pleasing viewpoint. Everyone knows what a room looks like from eye level, so shooting from lower down offers a different perspective.
“Plus, if you keep your camera level and shoot the room from roughly halfway between the floor and the ceiling, you reduce the risk of converging verticals. These can be corrected in Photoshop later on, but this takes a fair bit of time and effort, so it’s always best to get it right in-camera in the first place.”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Interior photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day