Interior design photography challenges

Overcoming three major challenges in interior design photography.

Interior design photography can be one of the most challenging specialties in the photography field. This is of course if you are planning to do it properly. I would like to discuss 3 of the major challenges.


It is not always easy to introduce artificial lighting in interior design photography. Wide angle lenses are typically used architecture photographers and as their name describes, they are wide. A lot of times leaving no space to include a strobe. Leaving us with two alternatives. The first one is using natural light architecture photography and the second option is using composite lighting to hide the equipment and enhance your images.

White balance

Combining natural light coming from the window with the existing lighting fixtures is not as straightforward as you might think. The percentage of the light coming through the window vs the light coming out of the internal light bulbs must be calculated. This is not so much an issue in interior design photography if you are photographing a bight room or at night with no natural light. According to that percentage, your white balance for interior design photography should be set between 4800k – 5500k for a bright room filled with natural light to 2800k – 4000k for a dark room at night. Sometimes it is also not so straightforward to shoot at night since the invention of energy efficient bulbs that introduce a green cast. a 1/4 to 1/2 stop magenta gel must be placed to cover the bulb. Color meters (not light meters) are almost extinct but they provide a powerful tool to help determine the right balance. A less expensive alternative is to use a large gray card such as the 24″ pocket vision.


Styling is to interior design photography what a makeup artist is to a fashion or portrait photographer. Styling brings life to the picture and creates a sense of liveliness. Once you have mastered the first two challenges you will start to understand that great images in interior design are all about the styling. Interior design styling is a profession all on its own and should be treated as such. I am a fan of delegating work to a professional stylist.




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About Antonio

Antonio Cuellar is a commercial photographer who specializes in capturing the architecture and lifestyle of the world's most luxurious hotels and resorts.