Interior Photography: Equipment and Techniques for the Architectural and Interior Photographer
Like any art form, the light quality is a crucial element in the art which is also valid for photography too, particularly in the case of Photography of Interior and Architectural Design. Lighting for photography in hotels and residential interiors or more extensive interiors of corporate architecture, light creates the textures, spaces, and atmosphere of the room, and the skilled architectural photographer uses light to enhance and show these features in the area that is being captured. Light is utilized to guide the eye of the viewer towards areas of interest, to divide planes from spaces, and to create an impression of light streaming into the interior. Light defines space! The effects and colors are visible only by sunlight. Even though the current trend tends to be shooting “natural lighting,” which is simply an abbreviation for natural or readily available light (with very little or no additional lighting) in nearly every circumstance, using the right amount of different lighting can result in incredibly high-quality photographs of interiors.
There’s no need to be required to buy the “latest and most advanced” system. My lighting is bare Balcar Strobes that have 2400 and 5500-watt power packs. They’re more than 25 years old and are perfectly fine. I’m saying this because the light is light. The thing that is important is how it is used.
A flash setup: I typically travel with an energy source of 25,000 watts (approximately seven batteries and twelve flashes), and I often make use of all. This is not required for excellent lighting. Even though my lighting setups and style are usually complicated, one can still achieve a pleasing appearance with a less complex arrangement.
The benefits of the strobe lighting system are:
A) A capability to dominate or even balance the ambient light.
B) The capability to transform the color temperature of the head that is daylight (5K) into other lighting sources. i.e., tungsten or fluorescent.
3.) Ability to control shutter speed. This is crucial when there is strong interior sunlight or if you are trying to capture the view of the outside through the window.
If there was just one lighting system, I strongly recommend a high-powered flash system that has four to six flash heads that have sufficient power to operate them with 1200 WS of energy for each lead.
Other lighting systems I have worked with include:
Professional studio lighting If my primary lighting source of light is tungsten, I will employ “hot light sources,” also known as studio light.
The “hot lights,” which can be either floods or spots, are skewed to 3200K, which means one-quarter CTO (Rosco #3410) correction is needed in order to avoid having these lights appear too excellent compared to the other lighting in which the illumination is tungsten.
Modeling lamps I have in my flash heads to complement the lighting of the tungsten bulbs that are in use. These lights do not require any extra color correction as they have a color spectrum that is similar to the tungsten light – remarkably when they are dimmed from the total power. I also love the quality of illumination that comes from the modeling light. They are directional but not overly powerful.
PAR Bulbs: We utilize regular bulbs (Par lights between 30 to 75 watts in floods and spotlights) in cheap “work lamps” reflectors. These lights can be used to illuminate and light spaces, and they are instrumental in bringing drama and intrigue to a room. I also employ these lights to illuminate outdoor structures in the evening. You can create an attractive lighting system cheaply using these bulbs.
Other Light Control “tools” that I utilize:
An assortment of umbrellas that can be used for “fill light.” Small, big soft, hard diffused, and “shoot across.”
Grid spots are used to concentrate the light source for a “spot” effect.
“Black wrapping” foil: To place on reflectors to control the direction and spill of light; additionally, for Gobos to prevent light from striking a surface or to stop light from entering the lens of the camera and creating flare. The farther away you are to the lighting source, the greater the precision of control.
Different diffusion sheets that you can put over and diffuse the light. The further away from the light source, the more diffused the result.
ND filters to block above the light. 1/2 stop, one-stop, two-stop.
The material is black chiffon: to put above the top third or half of the umbrellas to prevent light from the sides or ceiling. Also effective when extended to block the light coming from windows or an adjacent room.
“Mathews” flags, as well as scrims, are used to cut down on the light by turning it off.
Reflector cards: silver and white to bounce light to fill or reflect, or remove or block light.
The optical and radio slaves are used to trigger flash devices remotely.
Rosco (Lee also produces these) Conversion light gels to cover the flash heads in order to convert the color temperature
To balance the color of the flash (5000k) into Tungsten (2900k), I employ 1/2 CTO (Roscosun #3408). (In the days of film, a Full CTO, Roscosun #3407) the conversion was needed. However, I’ve found that using digital and the 1/2 CTO performs perfectly. The 3/4 CTO convert could be required in some circumstances ( 1/2 CTO 3408 + 1/4 CTO 3409).
If you are in a mixed-light scene that has tungsten light and daylight, 1/2 to 1/4 CTO is a good choice. Effectively.
In commercial settings (fluorescent or metal halide), I typically employ my Rosco rugged 1/2 and green filter, which, while only half-correction of daylight into cool white light, suffices for digital media. A whole rigid plus green (3304) filter was used during the days of the film; however, it’s too excessive for digital.
I have noticed that the majority of modern lighting used in commercial spaces is significantly warmer than traditional “cool white fluorescents” therefore, I typically use Rosco 1/2 rugged plus green Rosco 1/8 strict and green, and 1/4 CTO (3409) or half CTO (3408) to raise the temperature of the color.
Rosco also produces filters that CC can use on top of Studio hot lights, but I don’t often use them in the present: To convert 3200 into daylight, use the following: Rosco 3202 full blue.
Convert 3200 into half-day 4100. Rosco 3204 half blue
To convert 3200 into 3800. Rosco 3206 3rd Blue
Lighting is an essential element for high-quality architectural and interior photography. It should be considered a critical element that is just as crucial as composition, color, and contrast. Properly using lighting can ensure that the color balance is maintained as well as reveals colors and textures clearly and creates an evocative lighting effect that would not be possible if the subject was captured using only ambient light. Although it is possible to invest a few hundred dollars in sunlight, this isn’t required. It is possible to look out for equipment that is old in the market for sale, and, with a bit of patience, the right equipment is available at affordable.