How to Photograph Your Apartment

Making your listing photographs pop.

This guide will instruct you how to adapt your photos to the type of room you’re photographing by giving you some flexible guidelines to think about when photographing your room or apartment.

USE NATURAL LIGHT

Anyone who has used a flash on their smartphone or camera to take a photo, knows that it is anything but flattering. So unless you have a top of the shelf lighting system for your camera, try to rely as much as you can on natural light when taking photographs.  Try to rely only on natural light when taking interior photographs. This is the golden rule for interior photographs. Open all your shades and doors to maximize the light that enters the room. If your room gets better light in the afternoon, wait until then to take your photo. Conversely, if your room looks great early in the morning, jump out of bed and take photos then. In natural light, colors are fresh and clean, shadows appear natural, and chances are you’ll need to do a lot less editing.

Tip: Although natural light is the best condition to shoot in, try not to photograph when your room is getting direct sunlight. Rather, try to shoot in indirect, pleasant natural lighting.

SHOOT RAW

Take a closer look at your camera’s settings. Most cameras today, whether top shelf or entry model, come with the function to shoot “RAW”. RAW images, unlike JPEGs, are completely uncompressed. While the files are larger, RAW images allow you to have much more control over how you edit your photo. Any adjustments to brightness, saturation, and exposure will look much better on RAW files than JPEG files.

Tip: If you are not sure how to change your camera settings, Google “[camera model] RAW photo setting” to find instructions. 

INCREASE YOUR APERTURE

A camera’s aperture (or “f-stop”) is how much light is let through the “hole” of the lens. It controls the depth of field of a photograph. A lower aperture number will blur the background and puts the focus on the object. This is great for detailed close ups, for example of a lamp or piece of furniture. If you are photographing a whole room, though, a higher aperture will bring the whole room into focus. Look into your camera’s settings and try changing the aperture for different types of photographs.

Tip: Be careful when taking high aperture photos in darker rooms. Because less light is being let into the lens, your photos may become too dark. You may need a tripod and lower shutter speed to take a successful high aperture photo in a dark room. 

SHOOT STRAIGHT

When in doubt about how to photograph a room, shoot it straight on. This may seem obvious, but I cannot count the number of times a “creative” angle ruined what would otherwise have been a great shot. A good way to think about shooting straight photos is to organize the view you’re photographing into grids. People enjoy photographs where the central object, such as your bed, is not in the center of the photograph. Make this object fall in the lower (or upper) third of your photograph, where your guidelines intersect.  Take a look at the sofa, bed, and chairs in the photographs below. (Photo credits to Design Sponge).

Tip: Are you having difficulty getting your entire room in the photo? Try moving furniture near the door, and photographing your room through your door. A wide angle lens can often do more harm than good.

photographing-apartment-image-1photographing-apartment-image-3

STAGE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS

Even the nicest camera cannot take a pleasant photo of a room that is dirty, messy, and disorganized. Before photographing your room, clean your desk, mop your floors, and make your bed. The most successful photos tend to be of rooms that look lived in but that are neat and clean enough that people can imagine brining their own stuff (or mess) into them. If your room is piled with your things, it is harder for others to imagine it as their own. If you don’t believe me, just look at the photos in this article.

EDITING PHOTOGRAPHS

Nowadays, there are dozens of great photo editing softwares out there. I particularly recommend Adobe Lightroom because of its user friendliness and ability to organize photos you upload to it. Upload your photos to the software you use and play with the sliders for Contrast, Exposure, Lightness, and Saturation. These alter the light and color levels in your room and can allow you to make your photo bright and filled with vivid color. Many softwares will also allow you to save your changes as settings, so you can apply them to other photographs you took.

Tips: Do not over-edit your photo. Making your photo too saturated, sharp, or bright can make it seem artificial and ruin the homeliness of your room. 

Do you have any other tips? Add them in the comment section below!