View Full Version : Interior photos - Bathrooms
08-20-2008, 10:31 AM
I take photos of new bathroom installations for display on a website and I'm finding that making use of the natural lighting results in much nicer photos rather than artificial lights (off camera flash or overhead spots).
These rooms can be quite a challenge, they are small and not always very well lit. I'm wondering if a 16-35mm lens might give me more room to play with, but will it cause distortion? With tiled walls there are lots of straight lines which would emphasise any sort of camera distortion.
Some day I'd like to take on more interior photography opportunities so advice, tips or c&c is welcome.
Two examples from today, the rooms are not finished, I'll be visiting later this week to photograph properly.
08-20-2008, 10:35 AM
The lighting in these shots is really good. I agree that light is a major challenge in interior shots, but this works great.
As far as lining up everything, thanks to the magic of Photoshop you can get all the verticals straight and even if you have a little barrel distortion you can fix that, too. The wider the angle of your lens in these small confines, the better. The trick is to make sure your camera is level and it will help to eliminate much of the distortion.
08-20-2008, 11:02 AM
Very nice pictures of good looking bathrooms. I like the symmetry and simplicity. Well done.
08-20-2008, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the reply and advice Landis. I am seriously looking at a wider lens, but I need to get some studio lighting too so I'm in the dilemma of what to get first - shame my budget is not unlimited! If I apply barrel correction in Photoshop will I not need to then crop the image, which does that not kind of defeat the purpose of having a slightly wider lens?
The lighting on the second photo above was not very good at all, a very small and dingy room without the overhead spots on. It has no window and only the door behind camera position which leads into a not so bright hallway. I'm quite pleased that I have been able to make it appear much lighter and airier than it really is. I should have raised the camera height jut a little more though so that the tap is clear of the handbasin rim. Fortunately I will be going back later this week so can re-take the photo.
08-20-2008, 11:06 AM
Thanks Michael :-D
08-20-2008, 11:20 AM
Leonie, the distortion depends on the lens and on the lack of level in your camera. Different lenses have different distortions on them. My 24-105 4L has horrible distortion on the edges at 24, IF you point it up or down. I took a shot at the beach once when I was standing up on the parking lot area, pointing the camera down. The horizon just curved down like you wouldn't believe. I could easily fix it in Photoshop. My 17-35 2.8L is better but still has some distortion at the widest. You just have to be careful with it is all.
08-20-2008, 11:55 AM
17-35? or did you mean 16-35? I've been looking into the 16-35mm f2.8 and it looks nice but does not come cheap. The 24-70mm that I have now on the 5D seems to distort very little compared to the 17-85mm that I used with the 400D.
08-20-2008, 12:18 PM
Hahaha......my lens is rather old and back in the dark ages, they had the 17-35.
08-20-2008, 12:24 PM
I thought I had overlooked an alternative lens :-D
08-20-2008, 12:49 PM
I've been eying the 16 - 35mm f/2.8 L II for awhile but it is very painful in the pocket book. Alternatively I've been looking at the 17 - 40mm f/4 L which is somewhat more palatable at my level. I am looking for a lens that will give me good results in similar tight situations but relatively easy on the pocket.
This is what I reviewed lately http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/16-35mm-ii.htm
08-20-2008, 01:15 PM
You miss a stop on the F4, but in reality, if you are shooting interiors, you are going to be stopped down anyway. Save your money and get the F4 is my advice.
08-20-2008, 01:28 PM
You've done well with the lighting in the small room, but it still doesn't work IMHO, since the left side of the room is visibly darker than the right side. From your description of the circumstances, the only remedy seems to be additional lighting. If you strobe above and behind, is there enough white tile to act as a large light source?
One of the restraints in such a small room is that if you raise up the camera to capture more of the taps, you run the risk of the camera showing up in that shiny metal surface above the toilet. Regardless of that risk, I agree with you that the camera should be higher. In addition to showing more of the tap, it might eliminate those shadowy hollow areas under the sink.
I like the shadow on the floor under the toilet - it emphasizes the feeling of floating.
Very nice work in very difficult spaces.
BTW, you might have a look at the Sigma 12-24mm. I've read where a few architecture photogs are quite happy with it.
08-20-2008, 01:34 PM
That's (17-40mm f4) a good alternative and a much better price. I'm not sure I'd ever use it at f2.8, certainly not for interior shots which is the reason I'd buy this lens. I'd also use it for landscapes and again it's unlikely I'd ever use it at f2.8 for landscape photos.
08-20-2008, 01:39 PM
Dennis, the camera is standing on the door threshold, to my left is a narrow wall next to the doorway which I could try bouncing light off, the walls are not painted yet (that's why in this shot I've only included the lower half of the wall where there are tiles) and I think the colour now although not white is a lightish colour. I will try bouncing the flash off this wall and see how it comes out. Thanks for the suggestion.
08-20-2008, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the input on the lens Landis...I believe I realized that but have just not stepped off the sidewalk yet. Sorry Leonie did not mean to hijack your thread.
08-20-2008, 01:51 PM
No problem Michael :-D
08-20-2008, 04:32 PM
Leonie, these look really good! To get more in the photos, I'd use the 17-40mm (since you say you have no use for f/2.8) and correct the distortion in PS. I'd shoot from closer to a normal height instead of knee level.
For reflections, you probably know what I'd do. For a flat reflective surface such as a mirror or that thing above the toilet, I'd take the photo ignoring the reflection in it and then take it again from an angle which gave me a reflection I liked. Then I'd simply change the perspective of the reflective object to match the first picture.
08-20-2008, 04:40 PM
For reflections [from] a flat reflective surface such as a mirror or that thing above the toilet, I'd take the photo ignoring the reflection in it and then take it again from an angle which gave me a reflection I liked. Then I'd simply change the perspective of the reflective object to match the first picture.
That's pretty clever. I'll remember that for the future.
08-20-2008, 04:44 PM
. . . the walls are not painted yet (that's why in this shot I've only included the lower half of the wall where there are tiles)
I hope you don't include the upper half of the wall even when it's finished. This room could end up looking like a phone booth or an upright coffin. I hadn't realized from the lower-half shot just how absolutely narrow it is.
If you get into a situation where the ambient light is inadequate You can use the flash in low power to add to the scene. Another way is to make use of the multi flash and try, for instance 1/4 power @ 30HZ for 3 flashes. The camera won't let you fire if you have your shutter speed wrong (in manual mode) so don't be afraid to experment and the lighting is totaly different from the usual high power ETTL exposure I get.
08-21-2008, 01:10 AM
Bruce, thanks for the advice on the lens and again for your tips about reflective surfaces - they really are the bane of my photography but I'm determined to get the better of them. I've had to touch up this one to remove a bright red wall reflecting through a doorway on the opposite side of the hallway. The reason I photographed this one (second photo) from a lower angle is that we wanted to show that it's a wall hung loo, a higer angle and you wouldn't see the gap beneath the loo. However I could have gone just a little higher to improve the handbasin but still show a gap under the loo.
Dennis, yes the room is very narrow. And I need to check but I believe that is a smaller version of a traditional size bathroom suite, as you can see it only just fits in the cloakroom.
Jim, I need to sit down with the manual for my flash and learn how to use it off ETTL. This is probably why I'm not getting the best from it.
Thanks everyone for your advice and help :-D
08-21-2008, 07:42 AM
I agree with Landis, these are really well lit. They don't look like dark bathrooms. Your lens is great. Your pictures in dark places always look bright.
The first one intrigues me. Going to show a lack of knowledge here. lol lol
What is that on the wall? It's to big to be a heated towel rack. I think. :roll: :roll:
08-21-2008, 07:50 AM
Hi Skippy, it is indeed a heated towel rail :-D
08-21-2008, 07:56 AM
Really! That's a lot of towel space. lol lol They must have ten kids. lol lol
08-21-2008, 08:16 AM
It's a lot of towel space yes, and a lot of money too! (it comes with a designer label). This is in the ensuite for the guest room. The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw it was "I wonder how many towels you could hang off that!"
08-21-2008, 09:38 AM
Lovely shots Leonie. I much prefer natural light for interiors unless it's evening, and even then ambient lighting often gives a better picture, if a poorer record.
08-21-2008, 09:55 AM
Hi Skippy, it is indeed a heated towel rail :-D
Ohhh I was just gonna ask, I thought it was some kind of ladder to climb off the loo lol lol
08-22-2008, 04:48 AM
Ron that is funny lol lol lol lol
08-22-2008, 09:04 AM
08-22-2008, 08:09 PM
Nice work Leonie,
I like the strong diffused light in the first shot and the present soft shadow of the door in second.
08-23-2008, 01:42 AM
Thanks Leo and Tony. I've been browsing some professional interior photographer's websites and their photos are beautiful, I really think this is an area I want to explore more.
08-24-2008, 10:24 AM
I am a plumbing contractor, been one most of my life too :-(
I've dealt with a lot of plumbing fixture catalogs, layouts, etc.......
From the cheesier manufacturers to the top of the line stuff ( 10 thousand dollar toilets :shock: ) and honestly, just what you posted....rivals the best presentations I've seen in my 35 plus years in the business. I can't imagine what you might accomplish if you so endeavor to focus on it :-D
08-24-2008, 11:03 AM
You're so kind Eddie, thank you :-D
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