Let’s face it, using your camera in manual for the first time is a daunting prospect but you often can’t get the results you want using the automatic settings.
This post is going to give you a foolproof formula for getting the best camera settings for your interior photography.
Best Camera Settings for Interior Photography
There are three main camera settings which are going to affect your interior photography.
These are aperture (or f-stop), ISO and shutter speed.
Each setting works by letting either more or less light hit the sensor but there are slightly different ways they do this.
Best Aperture for Interior Photography
I’m going to start with which aperture to use for interior photography.
The aperture of your camera is how far the lens’s diaphragm opens to let light in.
It’s often referred to as an f stop and is written in numbers, usually f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4 etc. Sometimes these are on the side of the lens but most modern cameras will show you either through the viewfinder or on the camera’s screen too.
The aperture not only controls how much light is let through but also controls your depth of field, or how much of a scene is in focus.
My go to aperture is between f8-f11.
This will ensure that most of the image is in focus and there are no issues with diffraction which come with smaller apertures.
Which ISO for Interior Photography
The ISO setting on your camera adjusts your camera’s sensitivity to light.
A lower value means the sensor is less sensitive to light and a higher value means the sensor is more sensitive to light, so the image is brighter.
This sounds good but it also comes at a cost, the more sensitive your sensor is to light the more digital noise is introduced to the image and the quality of the image decreases.
Each camera has a base ISO which it will perform best at. I tend to stay at iso 100-200 but will push it to 400 if I need to, there is a small change in the quality of the image but 99% of end users wouldn’t spot it at this level.
Once you start going above iso1600 you will start noticing noise, which appears as a grain across the image.
What is the Best Shutter Speed for Interior Photography
So our final camera setting for interior photography is your shutter speed.
I have intentionally left this for last as it’s nearly always the last setting I will change.
Set your aperture to f11, your iso to 100 and then simply adjust your shutter to where it needs to be.
If your shutter speed is going to be slower than 1/60th of a second you’re going to need a tripod!
It’s worth throwing a caveat in here that if you’re shooting purely natural light and you have to use a really slow shutter speed that if you have anybody in the image they may begin to appear blurry if you open the shutter.
You can use this to your advantage and use them to create a sense of movement in the image but if you want them pin sharp it may be time to introduce some external flash to your image so that you can use a faster shutter speed.
Which White Balance Should I Use for Interior Photography
Although white balance is one of those things you can tweak fairly easily in post production it’s important to understand how it affects your image to help you get the best image in camera and save you time.
In simple terms, light is different colours.
Most cameras pick up a range somewhere in between 2500 kelvins (the unit used to measure colour temperature), which is a red colour and 10,000 kelvins, which is a blue colour.
Different sources of light will give out different colours of light, for example, an average house light is around 3000k and daylight is around 5600k so if you have both sources of light in the same image you’re going to get a difference in colours.
This can be great for shooting pure lighting installations but where you have a space with large windows you will often end up with a blue or cyan cast around the windows.
The quickest way to sort this (which I admit to doing 80% of the time) I use the AWB:W which will give priority to getting the whites in your images pure white, anything that has a colour cast I can then remove in photoshop after using a hue and saturation layer.
Interior Photography Cheat Sheet
As a bonus for reading this far, I have put together this handy cheat sheet to help you nail every exposure:
That’s my guide to interior photography camera settings. If there are any tips you have for getting the best interior photography images, put a comment below and share the knowledge!