In by previous post listing my top 5 tips for photographing interiors, I talked about the importance of being detailed, cropping in camera, etc. Basically, taking a bit of extra time up front to ensure a great SOOC image. And if you do those things, then editing is a breeze! There is no skin to touch up, no flyaway hairs to remove. In fact, I can sum up my processing workflow for interior images in just three steps!
Cull ruthlessly. I mean it. Interior photography is about the illusion of perfection. When photographing people, you may occasionally keep an image that is a little bit soft because of the emotion captured…not so here. This is why being detail oriented and meticulous PRIOR to shooting is so valuable. If you have three very similar shots, keep just the best one. In this nightstand vignette, I took three different shots from slightly different angles, with slightly different focal points. I only needed one vignette and knowing the vision the stylist had in mind, I presented her with the third image.
The very first thing that I do to each and every interior shot is ensure that it’s straight. I do my best to make sure my horizon is straight when shooting but some angles don’t lend themselves to a tripod and I shoot handheld. Or maybe I’m shooting from a lower than normal angle which causes distortion. In those instances, I occasionally find that my image is slightly off kilter and needs just a bit of adjustment. You can see in this example that I have used the Lens Correction tool in Lightroom to correct the lens distortion of a lower angle and a wide lens. (HINT: Be sure to select “constrain crop” in order to automatically crop the image to fit your corrections).
Make standard adjustments to contrast, clarity, sharpness, shadows and highlights - and nothing else. (I like to save myself some time and apply the All In One Clean Edit from the Pretty Presets Workflow collection. It’s been my go-to for a LONG time). You can also clone out outlets, thermostats, etc to present a cleaner image if you like. I only do this if those things are distracting - like white outlets on dark walls. Interiors aren’t the genre for creative edits unless you’re sharing images of your own home and you’re trying to create a specific mood. However, in most cases, the goal is to showcase the space and the work of the stylist/designer, not the editing. The job of an interior photographer is sort of invisible and is essentially product photography - it’s just a very large product!
One of my oldest clients, a style blogger, has been featured in the local newspaper, national magazines, West Elm, Home Depot, published in a home design book and most recently, HGTV. And do you know who took all those pictures? I’ll give you one guess. I am thrilled for her when she receives recognition for her beautiful work but I don’t expect anyone to know my name because interior photography is not about the photographer. Your edit should be as invisible as you are. If an interior photographer is doing their job well, people will see their images and proclaim, “What a lovely space,” not “What a lovely image.” And though the praise may not be knowingly directed toward you, it’s high praise indeed.