Interior Photography – Lights on?

Yesterday while I was photographing this wonderful home there were a few spaces that I thought would make sense to use as illustrations for my philosophy on the use of lights when conducting interior photography: both the use of the lights that are placed in rooms for our day-to-day use and for the use of supplemental light when photographing interiors.

First, an example of supplemental light for interior photography to fill in spaces outside of the room that is the main subject of the photo:

I’ll start with the finished photo. Does this look like something you’d expect to see if you were to enter this room in person?


It was important to me when arranging this photograph to highlight a few important features of this space which include the view through the windows and the view over the balcony to the vaulted living room.

The following photo is the same space at the same time with the use of the supplemental light in the vaulted living room turned off:


My opinion is that instead of showing a consist inviting feel of this space and how it interacts with the space next to it, the viewer is faced with a nice room and a very dark space next to it. The dark area of the image is distracting and draws attention away from the wonderful features of the space. This is absolutely not how it appears and feels when you are in these spaces in person and that is why I set up for the finished photograph the way that I did.

The next example of interior photography might be less obvious, but is still something I like to watch for.

I’ll start with the finished image which is what I delivered to my client:


A nice space where I wanted to ensure the viewer could see that there is lovely green space outside of the window.

And the next image with the only change being that the bedside table light is off:


It’s not a huge difference, but my opinion is that the first image has just a little bit extra going on to draw the eye of the viewer into the space. There is just a little extra spark in that area of the room to make the photo a tiny bit more interesting. I always look for lights in spaces for interior photography to add a little extra spark and interest to the finished images. If you’re having a space photographed soon, please check to make sure your lights are working!