We started our Instagram account as a way to inspire, help people by sharing tips, and to get a jump start on building an audience for this blog. We never dreamed that it would grow to 9k followers in just a little over a month. I had never used Instagram before and Brooke only occasionally used it – mainly to keep an eye on what our teenage daughter was posting and to share the occasional vacation pic. To say the least, we were complete novices when we started. And I am still far from being an expert, but I have learned a lot. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that Instagram photos need to look great.
Since our content is all centered around our house, over half of our photos are taken inside. And if you have ever tried to take a photo inside, which I’m sure you have, you know how difficult it can be to get amazing results. So in this article, I’m going to share some tips for taking better interior photos, which I believe has helped our Instagram account grow so rapidly.
1. Use a Real Camera
There is no doubt that phone cameras keep getting better, and I know there are plenty of successful Instagram accounts out there that only have photos taken with an iPhone. But for interior shots, it is better to use an actual camera, like a DSLR. I’m currently using a 10 year old Cannon T2i. I know, it’s old, but it’s been an awesome camera for our needs. I would love to upgrade to something like a Cannon 6D, which is a little pricey. And there is also the more budget friendly option in the Cannon T6 that I’m considering.
The problem with using an iPhone for interior shots is that there is almost always never enough light, and you can’t adjust shutter speed on an iPhone. With a DSLR, you can adjust the shutter speed to let more light in so that your photos are lighter and brighter.
Another advantage of using a DSLR, is that you can use different lenses for different situations, which brings me to tip number two.
2. Get a Wide Angle Lens
If you want to capture an entire room, a wide angle lens is a must. I don’t know how many times I’ve been trying to take a photo, and I’m backing up, backing up, and back right into a wall. One time I almost fell down the stairs while backing up. So not only will having a wide angle lens help you take a great interior shots, but it could potentially save your life.
Before I started taking photos for instagram, I knew I needed one. In my research, I came across a great article by Karianne from thistlewoodfarms.com about her Sigma wide angle lens. After seeing her shots in the article, I was convinced. I did notice that her article was a couple of years old, so I ended up going with the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, which is a newer version.
One thing to keep in mind with a wide angle lens is that you can get some stretching/distortion if you go too wide.
Here is a shot of our foyer using the kit lens that came with the camera. It can only go to 18mm:
And here is a shot using the Sigma. This one is shot at about 14mm. You can see how much more of the room is captured giving you a better sense of how tall the the ceilings are in the foyer.
Having a wide angle lens doesn’t mean you should go super wide on every shot, but it does give you more flexibility to shoot in tighter spaces.
3. Use a Tripod
As I mentioned earlier, being able to adjust the shutter speed will allow you to let more light into the camera and give you brighter interior shots. But when you use a longer shutter speed, any movement of the camera will cause your photo to be blurry. Since it’s impossible to hold the camera perfectly steady in your hands, using a tripod is a must. I went with the best reviewed and cheapest tripod I could find on Amazon. It’s been awesome so far.
4. Turn the Lights Off
Although it might be your first instinct to turn all the lights on in the room before taking a photo, don’t do it. Lights will give your shot an orange tint. Natural light looks so much better and softer. If after you take a couple of shots and notice they are too dark, simply slow down your shutter speed.
With experience, you’ll learn what times of day are best for shooting certain rooms in your house. I’ve also noticed that I get the best results on overcast days. The light coming through the window isn’t has harsh and gives the photo a softer look.
Here is a shot of our kitchen with only natural light:
And here is the same shot with the lights turned on:
5. Get Lower
It’s better to shoot lower. In other words, instead of having the camera at eye level, shoot around stomach level. The first time I tried this, I was blown away by how dramatically it changed the shot.
But your camera height can vary depending on what room you are shooting. For example, if you are taking a picture of your kitchen, you don’t want to be so low that you can see the underneath of your upper cabinets. The bottom of cabinets aren’t always the most attractive part of the kitchen.
Again, this is the beauty of having a tripod. You can easily adjust the height of your camera.
Doing these five things have helped me tremendously in taking better interior photos for our Instagram account. I hope they can do the same for you.