How to Make Money Taking Pictures

It should be simple. Take pictures. Make money.

Interior Photography

Interior Photography

SHANNON (QUESTION): 
Hi rockstar!  I recently accepted a job doing interior photography.  I will be photographing kitchens for a local cabinet maker.  As I mainly photograph people (and mostly outdoors), I wanted to see if you have any tips for interior photography.  I will probably be using my 17-55mm 2.8 lens as my other lenses are too close up with my crop sensor camera body.  I do have two flashes with triggers as well.  I know your Airbnb photos are great so I really appreciate any advice you can give!

Interior Photography

PHILLIP VAN NOSTRAND (ANSWER):
Hi Shannon! Thanks so much! I do have interior photography tips. Here’s a summary of what Airbnb wants whenever I shoot their apartments [editor’s note: As of this writing, I’ve currently photographed over 200 apartments, homes, mansions, and yurts for Airbnb, in Santa Barbara and New York]:

Standing in each corner of the room (unless you’re in a yurt), shoot diagonally across to the other corner. Camera flat (on a tripod is best) at chest level. External flash on top of camera, pointing directly UP at the ceiling for bounce, manually powered at around 1/4 power. Wide angle at 17mm (on a FULL FRAME CAMERA! Cropped sensor is ok, but you lose some of the room). Settings probably around 1/160, f. 5/6, ISO 400 (or adjust to get some of the outside exposed).

It takes some time finding the delicate balance between exposing for ambient light (adjust shutter speed!) and the flash (adjust aperture!) and the outside (shutter speed/ISO).

Does that make sense? Then I just do four corners of each room, make sure adjoining room doors are closed because you lose light that way. No trashcans, plungers, or laundry baskets in the shot, and toilet seat down. Airbnb wants a minimum of 12 pictures. Details are a plus. I always export in Lightroom with these settings:

Quality: 88 (reduces file size)
Resize to fit: 4500 pixels Long Edge
Resolution 72 pixels Per Inch
Call me if you have further questions! 805.637.6982

If there is distortion, Lightroom has a great feature in Develop Mode under Lens Correction called “Vertical” which will pull/squeeze/adjust all the up/down lines into a vertical position, which is desirable for interior photography

For even more information on interior photography, subscribe to my blog on the right and stay tuned for next week!

interior photography

$$$ Tip:

I’ll explain this a little more in a later post but there are two kinds of interior photography that you can charge for: Rental units and interior design jobs.

Rental units are going to be quickly done and you will be able to charge maybe $100-200 per unit photographed. Even some of the top guys I know about in New York are charging maybe $120 to deliver 4 pictures.

If you are shooting for an interior designer the stakes are higher and the photos will live online longer. I charge around $300-500 per unit depending on the project and the client. I still want to get the job done in an hour or so, but there are definitely more photos delivered and you will have more dealings with your client (the interior designer).

2 Replies

  1. Gloria Nikki Bell

    i saw for the first time, an article you had up about photographing the nite sky…i LOVE your pix and i always wanted to know HOW did anyone do that???…thanx so much for sharing…i will give this a try…i love shooting the moon and LOVE the nite sky…this is my next challenge!

  2. Gloria Nikki Bell

    …again, thanx for your sharing these tips!

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