If you have your sights set on a career as a lifestyle photographer, knowing how to take beautiful and professional home interior photos should be one of your skills. Bathrooms are an important part of the home—sure, they’re functional, but ideally they should also be attractive and make the user (or the viewer of the photo) feel a sense of calm and refreshment. Whether you’re taking bathroom background photos for real estate listings, interior design magazines, or stock photo sites, there are a few tricks that can elevate your photos from basic to beautiful.

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How to Photograph a Bathroom

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Who wouldn’t want to spend hours in this bathroom?

Know Where Not to Focus

We’ll get this one out of the way first: Bathroom photography should focus on the sink, mirror, or bathtub—not the toilet! Of course, toilets are an important part of many bathrooms, but they’re not exactly attractive subjects. If a toilet has to be in the frame, make sure the lid is closed.

Make Sure the Space Is Spotless

Just like kitchens, bathrooms can accumulate a lot of grime. Even a bathroom that’s given a regular scrub might not be clean enough to take the best photos. In addition to making sure surfaces are clean, mirrors are polished, and the glass is streak-free, put fresh bath mats down for the photo shoot (or remove them if that looks better). The bathroom should be dry, too, to avoid unattractive reflective patches.

Although it’s not necessarily the photographer’s job to clean the bathroom, you might want to take some basic cleaning supplies with you on bath background photography jobs so you can make any urgent last-minute changes.

Get the Right Lighting

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Natural lighting may be more limited in bathrooms than in other rooms.

As with all types of photography, lighting is one of the most important considerations for taking great bathroom photos. But bathrooms also present some unique issues when it comes to lighting. 

Bathroom windows are often small, frosted, or covered with blinds that limit the amount of light that comes in. Photos of bathrooms may look over-exposed around the window area because of the uneven source of light. This is where good editing skills come into play. Take several photos of the room from exactly the same spot (use a tripod for this), but adjust the exposure settings in each photo. After, edit them together using photography software, taking the best elements of lighting from each.

Reflective Surfaces and Mirrors

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Position yourself so you’re not reflected in the mirror.

Nobody wants to see the photographer or their camera in a bathroom photo. Although it’s best to take bathroom photos from a height where the concavity of the sink is visible, you may need to drop the level if you’d be visible in a reflection. This can work out alright if there are other details of interest in the photo, such as drawers or door handles.

However, for small bathrooms or those with large mirrors where getting a reflection might be unavoidable, set up the photo so it’s as easy as possible to edit afterward. Rather than having your whole body visible in a reflection, set your camera up on a tripod and use the timer. That way, only the camera may be visible in the reflection (and thus easier to edit out after) rather than your whole body.

While brightness is desirable in bathroom photos, you’ll want to minimize the glare of flash. With reflective mirrors, glass shower partitions, high-shine stone countertops or floors, and white porcelain tubs or sinks, setting your flash to high might be too much. In this case, keep your flash on, but reduce it to a lower setting for the best effect. Pointing it to the ceiling can also minimize glare.

Consider Size and Angles

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Choose the best angle for photographing a small bathroom.

One limitation that interior designers have is the size of a bathroom—they need to know how to maximize a room that’s often small. Bathroom background photographers need to work with the same limitation, with half-bathrooms being especially restrictive. To get as much of the space in the frame as you can, position your camera just outside the door.

Whatever the size of the room, a good rule of thumb for bath background photography is to set your camera up high enough that the curve of the sink is visible. This will create the most natural impression and is the level that most people will see a bathroom from if they stand in the doorway.

Add Accessories 

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Simple staging by Skillshare student Elsa Huet.

Staging is as important for bathrooms as it is for rooms with many more accessories, such as living rooms or kitchens. Make sure the toilet seat is down, the toilet paper has a neat edge, towels are folded and hanging nicely, bath mats are straight, items on shelves are tidy (or better yet, stowed away), and plants or flowers are fresh and in good condition. 

You might also want to move things around in the bathroom. Composition is important in all photography, and each image needs to have a focal point. While you can’t move the toilet or the sink, you can reposition movable accessories so they better adhere to the rule of thirds or draw the eye in along certain lines.

Uses for Bathroom Photos

So now that you know the principles of taking great bathroom background photos, where can you use them or sell them?

Stock Photography

Stock photography companies are a major source of income for many photographers. You might find your bathroom photos being used in everything from editorial articles to small-town advertisements. As a stock photographer, you’ll need to know how to edit your photos and add keywords for this specific purpose. 

Real Estate

As with all kinds of home and interior photography, you can use your bathroom photography skills to shoot images for new real estate listings. You’d rarely be commissioned just to take photos of bathrooms, of course—you’ll also need to be skilled at shooting bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and more.

Blogging

If you’re really serious about selling yourself in the bathroom photography niche, you could run your own blog around this theme to showcase your work. Alternatively, you can work with other lifestyle and design bloggers who need bathroom photos. While some bloggers may use stock photos, it’s worth developing relationships with bloggers so they buy photos from you rather than the big stock photo sites.

Lifestyle Magazines

Glossy print magazines and their online off-shoots will often need original bathroom photography from professional photographers. Readers look to style magazines and websites for the latest design trends and to see real-life examples of beautiful homes—sometimes of celebrities or other known personalities—so there are opportunities to put your home and bathroom photography skills to use here.

Beautiful Home Photography

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Build a career as a lifestyle and home photographer.

Bathroom background photography is just one component of lifestyle photography. While some lifestyle photographers may focus on human subjects, you can also choose to specialize in homes, interiors, and design. Learn how to take great photos of living rooms and kitchens, too, and you’ll be well on your way to building an exciting career.

Learn Everything You Need to Know 

Level Up Your Interior Photography: How to Shoot and Edit Like a Pro