How to take pictures of a showroom apartment(nikon D40)?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by chiefroastbeef, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    Hello all,

    I have a friend who owns a renovation company here in Hong Kong, and he recently finished a multimillion USD apartment. He'd like me to take some pictures of it. I've never taken pictures of apartments, anything indoors really and was wondering if you guys have any pointers? He is a great friend, and I don't want to let him down! :)

    I have a:
    Nikon D40
    Old school Nikon SS-24 speedlight from my father's Nikon F4, I'll buy a diffuser
    AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm
    AF Nikkor 20mm
    AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm(D40 kit lens)

    Thank you for your suggestions!
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    For indoor shots, you'll want the widest lens you can get your hands on. 18mm might not be wide enough to capture the whole room, but its worth a try.

    Get the camera into a corner which best looks onto the room (for example, take the shot looking into the kitchen, rather than out of it), and drop the aperture down to about f/20 to get the largest depth of field possible. You'll need a tripod or a table to hold the camera on.

    Also, make sure your friend gets the exact photo that he wants. Digital photography means you can shoot thousands of photos in one session, so keep on snapping until you get the perfect shot.
  3. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    You'll want the widest available wide angle lens.

    Since D40 is APS-C (citation req) => 18mm -> 18*1.6=28mm which doesnt sound good enough now!

    If purchasing lenses is not an option! You might want to consider Panorama! (A straight panorama preferably!)
  4. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    Just remember you're composing photographs; be prepared to move the furniture around so that it looks best in the photos....this might mean putting things out of position or too close together for use in real life

    Also, pay attention to when and where sunlight comes through the windows. You may have to schedule your shoot to avoid or take advantage of sun light hitting the interior surfaces of the apartment.
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Turn on every light possible in each room you photograph; doing so will give a nice, warm, sparkly look to the photos.
  6. legatoboy macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2007
    I have similar need and I have a Canon Rebel XT and kit lens. Anything I should pay attention to in terms of using flash (or not using)?

    ps* (I am in Hong Kong also :) )
  7. mknawabi macrumors 6502


    Feb 5, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    Bounce the flash. Since you're using digital and you are fairly new, shoot as much as you need until you find the light you like.
  8. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Thee biggest problem will be if you take the pictures during the day and have the windows to deal with.
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    If the pictures are for advertising a multi-million dollar apartment, then you're not really equipped to take pictures in terms of lighting and likely experience- in that case, not letting your friend know that would be letting them down. Interior photographers generally replace *all* the interior light bulbs with tungsten photo slave flashes[1], add additional flashes to fill in between the bulbs and balance the lighting since the photo floods aren't adjustable (and some ND filters for bringing things back down if necessary,) use very expensive tilt/shift lenses that don't have very much distortion and can control perspective, and have lots of experience. At the high end, they'll also often add film lighting outside to ensure constant color temperature and control over the light coming in through the windows, though this depends on the venue and budget. Generally, if it's not furnished well, you'd want an interior designer and a furniture budget as well.

    If they're just for your friend's personal use, then I'd go with the 20mm shot on a tripod, and probably do long exposure and flash multiple times manually (light painting with a flashgun) as you're not going to get even illumination with a single flash- and people aren't comfortable in a room that doesn't have light coming from two directions- if you can balance the flash with the window light, then that'll save you having to do multiple flashes if your flash will cover the range well, but I'd expect light fall-off if you're going to camera-mount the flash, and you might be better off with a remote trigger and a light stand for the flash. It'll also be difficult to get good white balance with mixed window and flash lighting- depending on the decor and walls, that could be a significant issue.

    Make sure your friend understands the difference between personal and professional use- poorly done, even well lit shots used for advertising their services or the property itself can end up costing them business and money.

    Lots of people think that anyone who's a camera buff can shoot anything professionally. Like last-minute "Can you do my wedding?" surprises, a friendship isn't worth losing over a single event that you're not equipped to shoot.

    You may find the following books useful: Shots: Pro-Lighting

    [1] Like these:

    Note the different power level and beam spread- you really want a selection so that you can provide the right "look" for things like lamps.
  10. chiefroastbeef thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    Thank you so much for the valuable advice guys! I will study them and practice what was suggested.

    My friend usually has a pro photographer to take the pictures that will be submitted to media and international interior design contests. But he wants me to take pictures for his own record and personal use. I've told him I've never done this type of photo taking, and he knows and understands.

    Thank you again guys!
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    So your friend can spend "multimillion USD" but can't pay a couple hundred to hire a profesional photographer? He really really should hire the pro.

    The D40 is not the best for this kind of work but you can stil do OK. The hardest part of this job is always lighting. Camera mounted flash is not going to look good. Put the camera o a tripod and use whatever length of exposure is required. Get the widest lens you own and take some shots. Typically you are backed up into some wall. try and keep the camra level, not pointing up or down. This will keep vertical lines vertical.

    The pro will have things like and ulta wide lens, a full frame or even larger camera makeing a tilt/shif lens or id the shot requires it a view camera and he will come in with an understanding of how to elinimate geometric distortion. He will also have so lights with slave triggers that he can hide in the room
  12. chiefroastbeef thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    Like I said, he does hire pros for his portfolio and contests. But he asked me to take some pictures for personal use.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  13. gmecca2 macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2008
    In no way do I mean to insult you but if your friend normally pays professionals and obviously isn't struggling for money, why wouldn't he want the best pictures possible even for his own use.

    I feel as though you should be asking him if you could shoot for practice not him asking you in this case. I am just an amateur but shooting indoor living spaces is not the easiest thing and you can tell when it is not done by a professional. Just look at some apartment and home listings compared to those on corporate websites for those same properties. It's not and day.

    If this is something you want to learn buy the equipment and learn but it may be something you find you dislike and was a costly attempt.

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