How To Photograph Interiors

by William Lulow

Here’s a neat image which was actually shot with a number of studio strobes. It is a rather large hotel lobby which had to be lit from several directions to render it with a bit of “snap.” This was an all day shoot which encompassed several of the hotel’s rooms as well as an upstairs lobby and one downstairs as well. In addition to the interiors, I also had to make a good image of the hotel’s exterior as well. I worked with one assistant and a hand truck full of lighting equipment.

This image actually took five lights to illuminate successfully. There was one placed camera right, another nearer the camera to fill-in the shadows of the closer furniture, one to the left of the camera to balance out the lights on the right, one closer to the desk to illuminate that part of the room and a strip light (light with no reflector) placed behind the desk to give some brightness to the desk part of the room. Altogether, five lights, each doing a separate job. You will also notice that the exterior appears normal. This is because a reading was taken of the light outside and then balanced with the exposures for the interior.

UpstairsLobby_105WEB

Many interior images shot without the addition of artificial light often overexpose the exterior. It often takes an unusual approach to make a scene appear normal!