get the shot…
home photography tips

You’ve just set your table for dinner; everything’s hot, stylish, and sustainable. Quick! Grab your smartphone and get a pic to post. Whether we’re showcasing our homes on social networking sites, or putting our house on the market, we’re in love with taking photos of our lives. Maybe you want to document that great DIY or renovation project, or show some great before and afters of your living room redecoration plans. If you’ve ever snapped a few pics and wondered how magazines and décor sites get those fabulous images, we’ve got some tips to help improve your home photography skills. And you don’t even need to know your f-stop from your shutter speed.

  • The first step is deciding on your style and if you don’t know already, the easiest way is to assemble a Pinterest board of images you love, then use those for inspiration to take some shots around your own home. You’ll quickly see a pattern emerging. Do you like architectural shots? Are you more into vignettes? If you’re taking photos to put your house on the market, then you need to showcase the rooms, not the contents.

With rule of thirds on the right, and without on the left (source: Wikipedia)

  • In photography, composition is king. The classic rule of thirds applies to almost all images – imagine your image is divided into nine equal parts, three up and three across. When you frame your shot, line up your subject, or focal point, on one of the intersecting lines, and try to keep any strong vertical or horizontal lines along one of them as well. This will break you out of the “place the subject in the middle” mode and lend more life and balance to your images.
  • Aim for natural light. Flash is not your friend for attractive photos, it’s harsh and flattens almost everything. If you don’t have enough natural light, turn on some lamps. Still not enough? Take off their shades, place a mirror behind them and angle it toward your subject. Turning lights on also lends a warm, inviting feeling to your images.
  • Don’t overlook the details. Make sure you capture those amazing textures, the smooth wood grain, the molded fireplace mantle, the texture of the nubby linen on your pillows. Whether you’re shooting a vignette or a whole room, those little details make the image come to life.
  • Go wide when you need it. OK, we’re getting a little technical here, but a lens that falls between 10 and 24mm will help capture the whole picture, like the exterior of your home. Resist the temptation to use that wide angle indoors, however, since it can mess up the sense of proportion in your shot. Instead, step back to fit more of the space in your frame.
  • Get styling. It may sound like overkill, but whether you’re showing off your new décor or posting for sale, thinking like a stylist for a minute or two will make a huge difference. Declutter your space, hide any visible wires, plump the pillows, arrange the throws and give a sweep for pet hair. Consider adding fresh flowers and lit candles and while you’re at it, arrange those shelves and tabletops to be as attractive as things you see on your favorite décor blogs.
  • Practice, practice, practice! The best way to improve your home photography skills is to take lots of shots. Keep track of your progression and watch your improvement.
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