Tips for Sharp Real Estate Interior PhotographsAugust 30, 2018
Hello, this is David Robinson, and here I’m going to give you some tips
for taking sharp and clear photographs of real estate interiors.
With real estate photos, getting a good crisp image is very important,
so I’ll be looking at areas that affect that.
Choosing the right lens
and reducing camera shake.
There are many different lenses available,
each with strengths and weaknesses for a variety of scenarios.
For every lens there are two key features that will help you decide
it’s suited to interior real estate photography:
Focal Length and Aperture.
Normally, lenses carry technical information which help us identify their features.
Here, we can see that it says 16 millimetre, f/2.8.
The first number, 16, is the focal length.
And the second, 2.8, is the aperture.
The focal length tells us whether the lens is wide angle
A low number, like 16, means it’s a wide angle lens.
It’ll cover a wide field of view
and so you should be able to fit in a large part of the room.
This is what our room looks like through a 16mm lens.
However, some wide-angle lenses do have the disadvantage
that they sometimes distort the image.
Lines that should be straight, are in fact, curved.
Fortunately, you can fix that in software
but fixing it it cuts off some of the outer parts of the photos,
so make sure to leave plenty of room around what you want to capture
when you’re using a wide-angle lens.
There is a type of lens called a ’tilt shift’ or ‘perspective control lens’
which has extra controls to eliminate the distortion when you take the photo itself.
This makes the process of taking the photo more complex
but saves you processing time later.
Now let’s look at the second number: the aperture.
The aperture is the size of the hole that controls how much light gets into the camera.
This is generally adjustable and each lens has a range of apertures that it will support.
Apertures are described using f-stop numbers that look like this:
F 1.8 or F 4
On a lens, these same numbers are instead often shown like this:
1 to 1.8 or 1 to 4.
The lower the number, the wider the aperture.
What is written on the lens is the widest aperture that the lens will support.
And lenses with smaller numbers on them, are called ‘Fast Lenses’.
For a wide-angle lens, something around f/2.8 or lower
would be considered fast.
Fast lenses tend to be good for interior shots
because they let more light in.
This lets you take photos of darker areas,
without having to use long shutter speeds.
One problem many lenses have is called ‘Chromatic Aberration’.
This results in coloured fringes around high contrast edges …
and this is what it looks like it.
It can be fixed in software but it’s best to avoid it if possible.
More expensive lenses tend to have less problems with this,
and if you’re using a zoom lens, avoid using it at the end of its range.
If your lens does have chromatic aberration, it will often be around the edges of the scene.
So, when you’re taking a picture, check if the aberration is just around the edges of the photo.
In that case, just take a wider angle shot than you need
and later you can crop out the part with the aberration.
Now that you have chosen the lens you want,
I’m going to look at how to get the best focus with it.
Some cameras and lenses will automatically focus but that can’t always be trusted,
especially in low-light
and if you want the very best results, it’s better to focus yourself.
If your camera has a back screen, make sure you activate it.
It’s often better to use this than the viewfinder when manually focusing.
Set your lens to manual focus mode, and you’re ready to start.
To make sure you’ve got the best focus,
pick something with sharp high contrast edges
where the focus will be really obvious.
In this room, there are a few suitable candidates.
To get the best feel for whether you focused well or not,
you want this edge to be nice and large on the screen.
If you’ve got a prime lens, use your camera’s built-in magnifier to show the area larger.
For a zoom lens, zoom into the maximum focal length on the area you want to use.
now manually adjust the focus ring on your lens whilst watching the screen,
until the edge is as crisp as you can make it,
now you can zoom back out to the focal length that you want.
Once you have focused your lens, there is still one thing that can spoil the sharpness of your photo:
If the camera moves or shakes while taking the photo,
the result may turn out blurred.
This is particularly a problem with long exposures
when you’re taking photos of interiors that are fairly dark.
One way that camera shake can happen
is if you make the camera move while you’re pressing the shutter button.
Even if your camera is on a tripod, it might still be possible for it to move a little.
The tripod joints might be a bit loose
or there might be some play somewhere else.
One way you can eliminate this is not to touch the camera at all.
Most DSLR cameras have a socket where you can plug a cable in
to control them remotely.
You can then buy a shutter release cable
that will plug into the camera.
It’s just a button on the end of a cable,
but you can get more advanced ones with more features.
Different makes and models have different sockets on them,
so make sure you buy one that works with your camera.
Another source of camera shake is the mirror inside the camera itself.
DSLR cameras have a mirror which moves to either let you see the image through the viewfinder.
or let the lens see the image.
It can’t do both.
When you take a photo, the mirror automatically moves from one position to the other
and that can sometimes introduce a little shake.
This is often a problem with telephoto lenses
but if you find you still have a little blurriness after using a remote release and solid tripod,
you can try a function many cameras have called ‘Mirror Lockup’.
This tells the camera to put the mirror in the position for taking the photo
beforehand so that when you actually take the photo, it doesn’t have to move.
The disadvantage is you can’t then see through the viewfinder
but you can line up your shot using the back screen
or, line it up with the viewfinder and then set ‘Mirror Lockup’.
So these are the tips we’ve looked at …
Choose a wide angle lens.
Faster lenses are usually better for interior photography.
Leave enough space around your scene, in case you need to remove any distortion.
Manually focus your lens for best results.
Use a remote shutter release.
turn on mirror lockup.