One Essential Piece of Photography Kit You Probably Don’t Use

Apart from the camera and a couple of lenses, there’s one piece of essential kit you’d need to use in order to take pictures of interiors that are as good as this…

By Doctor Photo workshop student, Bridget Andreas

So – how do you get great shots like the one above and like those on my photography site at www.hello-photo.co.uk?

Well, I can tell you it’s got nothing to do with flash! None of the interiors there were taken with the aid of flash but they all were taken with the ‘essential’ piece of kit that I’m suggesting you use for your interiors. If you do as I suggest, you’ll never want or need to use flash again and with the other tips I’ll be sharing with you these coming weeks, you’ll see the quality of your interior photos increase, too. Next week I’ll be talking more about ‘Light’ and why flash isn’t great.

So how do I ensure rooms are bright, sharp and professional if I can’t use flash?

The answer is, you need to use a tripod using only ambient light*.

*ambient light is light that you don’t bring along with you!

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do this, and the benefits are clear because your photos will:

⦁ Look natural: Your interior shots will look completely natural and will be the closest thing to what you actually see when you’re in a room, with all of the shadows being exactly where the eye would expect them to be.
⦁ You can use the right aperture settings: You’ll be able to use F8 as your aperture setting with your wide-angle lens and that will ensure you will have a deep depth-of-field so that (correctly focused) your images will appear sharp throughout. Most agent’s photos look soft because the aperture they’re using is too big. And that’s usually what happens when you let the camera make the decisions by using Program Mode.
⦁ You can use the most desirable ISO settings: You’ll be able to use a low ISO setting because your shutter speed can be as slow as it need to be, so that your shots won’t suffer from noise.
⦁ It’ll be at the correct height for a professional looking photo! One important added benefit of using a tripod is that you’ll be more likely to take your photo at the correct height for the furniture in the room. Most times, agents take their photos from a standing position and point the camera down. That causes the walls to appear to lean in and that’s a terrible look. Look around the room you’re in now, you won’t see the walls leaning in unless there are structural problems or unless it’s been deliberately designed that way. Take your interiors at a height that’s just above the room’s main furniture. Keep the lens as parallel with the ground as is possible. This tip alone will see a marked improvement in most agents’ interiors.

So.. I need a tripod? Which is best…

Most of the agents I teach make the mistake of buying a cheap tripod. What they find is that often they last only five minutes, they’re not very stable and they’re difficult to operate quickly.

I’ve used the same tripod almost daily for 12 years. It’s a Manfrotto 458b and its unique selling point is that its height can be varied VERY quickly because the legs just pull out to the length you need and can be retracted again by pressing a button at the top. The speed of operation improves my productivity and it will improve that of your photographer, too. I can photograph a small to average home, beautifully, in less than 20 minutes. With a lesser tripod, it would at least double if not triple my time taken. When coupled with a joystick head, getting the shot framed so that it’s level is extremely easy to achieve. It’s the closest thing to genius.

If you learn to take photos like those of Bridget (shown above) I can almost guarantee that your brand will get noticed by those with beautiful homes to sell. Bridget will tell you, if you ask, that two years ago she didn’t know one end of a camera from another, but since taking my workshop she’s moved up the ladder and is frequently asked to photograph the most beautiful homes in her area.

Here at Doctor Photo we’re on a mission to transform property photography. As well as enhancing images we also teach. If you’re interested in taking photos as well as Bridget, then do drop me an email at johndurrant@doctor-photo.co.uk and maybe we’ll set up a workshop for your team.

John Durrant was an agent himself for 37 years, selling his partnership 12 years ago, since when he’s photographed some of the most beautiful homes in the south-east. He’s also the author of the 12,000-word Guidance on Property Photography for the RICS and he’s been featured on the BBC and in various national newspapers such as the Sunday Telegraph. John’s available for speaking to groups of agents about photography-related subjects.

Tom Durrant

Doctor Photo are a leading Image Enhancing Agency. We enhance and transform photos taken by leading estate agents, property developers and photographers, to maximise the appeal and value of their clients’ houses and commercial properties.

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