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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 30 Mar 2007 (Friday) 16:34
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Lighting for Interior Shots of Homes

 
BearLeeAlive
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Mar 30, 2007 16:34 |  #1

I am in the process of (re)building a website for my company. I do custom home building and renovations. As I am in to photography I would like to take my own photos. I only do residential work, so the largest subject size would be of the front elevation of a house, with the surrounding landscape in many cases. I would also be taking photos inside of rooms and details. I might like to do some panned shots, I would imagine stitching images would be the way to go.

What type of lighting would work best for this situation, as often the lighting in the house is not adequate and light from a speedlite is not even or soft enough.

I imagine I would need a couple flood lights on stands. What would you recommend? I would like to buy quality but with as reasonable cost as possible.

Now over to the Lens Forum on the same subject. LINK


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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 30, 2007 16:48 |  #2

I would start simple and work up.
Could be a tripod and wide angle lens is all you need.
Biggest problem usually is the windows get blown out if you shoot during the day.
Off-camera flash can be used to highlight certain areas, but now you're talking about a lot of trial and error, and a bit of a learning curve.
The possibilities are many, in terms of lights and what you can do with them.


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BearLeeAlive
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Mar 30, 2007 17:01 |  #3

Thanks Curtis, I will definitely be doing lots of practice. I want these photos to look top notch. I see too many similar sites where the photos are of poor quality and distorted, which really looks bad. Some look fantastic and likely make use of a pro shooter.


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Curtis ­ N
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Mar 31, 2007 04:58 |  #4

Wide angle lenses will really make things look wonky indoors if you're not careful.
The key is to keep the lens pointed horizontal. Find a target on the other end of the room the same height as your lens and aim at it. That will prevent the walls from looking like they're falling over. I like to use a pan/tilt tripod head for this, so I can lock down the vertical axis and then pan around for different compositions without much fuss. Zoom out and crop later to get the composition you want.


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BearLeeAlive
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Mar 31, 2007 08:24 |  #5

Thanks for that tip Curtis. I have a 3-way and ball head that have panning capability. I do know that I have seen a bunch of wide angle shots on some builders sites that really distorted the image and did not like the result. Maybe some visitors to these sites don't really notice, but I am sure lots do. Distorted wide angle shots can be very good, just not for architectural/product type images.

EDIT: LOL Curtis, your wife just pointed out your title. How am I supposed to take advice from someone with such a title. :)


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chtgrubbs
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Mar 31, 2007 11:29 |  #6

Usually my choice of lighting for interiors is based on the dominant existing light. Generally you are better off trying to supplement the existing light rather than totally lighting it from scratch. If a room has large windows or skylights I will use flash to fill in darker areas or accent details. If the balance is mostly tungsten, I will use tungsten accent lights. Fluorescents are always difficult, but they can be balanced by filtering the lights sources to match them. In a mixed tungsten/daylight lighting screen you can photograph just after sunset so the windows have some light in them but the tungsten light is still dominant or try to balance the light in post-processing.




  
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BearLeeAlive
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Mar 31, 2007 14:09 |  #7

I would definitely use as much ambient light as possible, it often accents things in ways I would like to show in the photo. I do find some interior shots to have dark areas, this is what I would like to light a bit. I do have a good flash but have no idea on what type of stand lights would work best. I find some shots using a flash really help with closer elements but leave the further away elements even darker. I am thinking something I could vary the amount of light from so as to just add to the existing lighting, not dominate it. I see lights with big soft boxes or some screens people aim the lights through. I am looking for a good portable lighting solution. Probably one light strategically place might work to fill in dark areas.


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Wilt
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Mar 31, 2007 16:02 |  #8

Since the use of ambient light is very often different in color balance from what the supplemental lighting (provided by the photographer) adds, one technique that is applied in interior photography is to use color balancing filters over the supplemental light sources, so that they appear to be part of the ambient lighting!

Placement of these properly filtered sources inside the 'normal' lighting fixtures (e.g. inside tablelamp shades to make a 'brightr table lamp') is one example of getting supplemental lighting to appear natural to the scene.

Also, for mix of incandescent and outdoor lighting, placement of large color balancing filters over the windows can aid it reducing the difference in color balance from the very different sources.

A really good looking job can be time consuming, and requires a certain level of investment on the part of the photographer, that one hopes can be absorbed by the client or amortized over many clients!


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woodsie
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Mar 31, 2007 16:16 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #9

I have had some success with using a on camera flash as the primary light source and then a secondary slave flash (or more) to light up parts of the room that the primary flash doesn't reach. The slave flash doesn't have to be an expensive new one, as long as it has a manual mode on it. I tend to run the secondary flashes a stop lower than the primary so that the shadows still look natural. The tricky bit is to place the slave flashes so that they don't show up in the shot.

To stop windows blowing out I will take a light reading from the window then balance the rest of the lighting so that the window is about a stop under exposed. But obviously if you don't want to show what is out the window then dramatically under or over exposing the window makes sense.

Here is a quick one I did a few weeks ago.

IMAGE: http://woodsie.smugmug.com/photos/134884436-L.jpg

Slave flash set around the corner to the left. Obvious mistakes including using too wide an angle lense causing obvious distortion on the left, and reflection of the primary lens in the window. But it served the purpose I took this shot for at the time.

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http://woodsie.smugmug​.com/ (external link)

  
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Lighting for Interior Shots of Homes
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