Howdy, Stranger!

If you're just starting out in the world of photography and want to learn how to get the most out of your camera, then this forum is your new secret hangout spot!

Take better photos today with my Nikon D5100 Cheat SheetsCheck 'em out!

Interior design photography

edited February 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
Total newbie to photography, but willing to learn and I intend to make it a new hobby of mine.

I have the standard 15-55mm lens and buying a 55-200mm lens for general purposes. I also have a speedlight flash as well.

The reason itself that I bought the camera a few years ago was to take pictures of the jobs that we do. We have a finished carpentry company that does modern closets, kitchens, doors (walkway), vanities, and many other things. Most of these are in tight spaces or in bad lighting. I can say that I've tried reading and looking around to see how to get a professional look to them, but they still come out looking very amateurish.

I was looking into getting a 35mm lens or something in that range to help me capture the tighter spaces in low-light. I am located in Miami and the majority of my clients are along the beach or close to it, where most of the kitchens have open glass doors/walls with light coming in from the ocean.

I want to make our pictures look like those you see in design magazines, because the work we do is amazing, and our pictures aren't reflecting that.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


  • edited February 2016
    35mm is likely too narrow a viewpoint with this camera for interiors. Remember that that is "normal" on the DX sensor. 18mm is wide, and equivalent to about 28mm in the 35mm format. For interiors, your best bet is probably going to be a wider zoom. The wider the better if you're trying to fit in a whole room.

    If you have difficult spaces that need perspective correction (something one can nowadays do in software, but once needed an expensive shifting lens), you will probably want to go even wider than you need, because correction will make your images non-rectangular, and you'll have to crop.

    You may never get the full look of design magazines without considerable lighting expertise. Most of what you see there is highly engineered, with dedicated lights, and probably highly post processed as well. But one thing you will need to do is to make sure that if you have a lot of light from outside, you light the interior highly as well, so that you do not need the most extreme dynamic range between the bright outside light and the interior. You might find it helps to have an off camera flash that can illuminate dark areas without entirely removing the appearance of light entering from windows.

    If your work involves areas that are very shiny, you will also have to make extra effort to eliminate reflections, by diffusing the light, and getting placement that removes them, and perhaps by a bit of retouching.

    Another possibility for wide angles in this digital age is panoramic stitching. Although the D5100 does not have an in-camera panorama setting, you can do this in post with a little practice. Ideally, you need a tripod, and you need the tripod's base to be horizontal (leg adjust, not head adjust). Take a series of overlapping shots, and then use software to stitch them together. The result will have ragged edges, so again, you must include more than you intend, so you can crop later. You are best off in manual mode, so that the camera's meter does not change exposure as you pan.

    Microsoft makes a very nice free program called "ICE" which does a very good job of stitching. It works only with JPG files, so if you shoot Raw you must convert. Keep the file size big, and you can shrink it later as needed. ICE will stitch both horizontally and vertically, and can do enormous images of considerable width. If you're on a tight budget and can't afford a really good ultra wide lens, this is a good alternative, and the pixel density and detail in a stitched image can be impressive.

    If you're feeling really flush with money (yeah, right!) you might look at a tilting and shifting 24mm lens. Nikon makes one that is breathtakingly expensive, and a third party (Samyang) makes one that is merely shocking. A tilting and shifting lens will give you perspective control, and by shifting can make beautiful rectilinear stitched pans, and also can allow you to shoot a reflective surface and not get your own image in it. If you shift, you can shoot a mirror and not be in it! The tilt feature allows depth of field control, and you can focus on tilted walls and floors and the like. Such a lens is manual focus only, and probably manual exposure too, though it will operate the camera's meter, but for some work it's "da bomb."

  • edited February 2016
    Thank you for the input! It was very detailed and helpful.

    I was wondering if a lens like the Nikon Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD would work for this circumstance? I know the lens is a little fast, but it should work, right?

    I'll probably use a program to splice the image if I need some extended area.
  • edited February 2016
    I would expect a 10-24mm to be a pretty nice width for the purpose. I don't know anything about that particular one, but it should give you good width, and with it good depth of field.
Sign In or Register to comment.