As a photographer, you have no shortage of options for interesting and unique things to document in photos. But if you appreciate tasteful home design, consider photographing living rooms. A wide array of companies and individuals need living room background photos—for anything from real estate listings to home design blog posts—so specializing in this type of photography can be a great way to build your business.
In this guide, learn tips for photographing living rooms and a few common uses for those photos.
How to Photograph a Living Room
To accurately capture a living room in photos, keep these considerations in mind:
Create the most inviting, airy living room photos by using natural light. Artificial light can cause unwanted glare on windows and create unnatural color casts. Aim to shoot your photos when the sun is brightest—generally, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In the early morning or late afternoon, the sun may not provide enough illumination and can cast harsh shadows in the room.
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If you’re shooting a series of photos of the same living room—say, for a real estate listing—aim to take them all from approximately the same height. Drastic changes in height (e.g., taking one photo while crouching low to the ground and the next while standing on a stool) can create a disjointed experience and make the viewer feel like they’re bouncing around the room.
Along the same lines, make sure to keep your camera level, so the vertical lines within the room (e.g., doorways, table legs, cabinet edges) remain vertical. Otherwise, the room will look slanted to viewers. Fortunately, most cameras (including smartphones) offer a grid feature that can help you keep vertical lines correctly aligned.
Before you take any pictures of the room, strategically include a few tasteful props, like a vase of fresh flowers, a small stack of books, or some throw pillows. These objects make a living room feel more, well, lived in, so viewers perceive the room as warm and inviting. But don’t go too crazy. Add too many objects, and your photos may begin to look cluttered and disorganized.
Be especially mindful of bookshelves, which often end up as the catch-all for random odds and ends. Rather than filling each shelf to the brim, place just one or two groupings of objects on each ledge. This will allow the shelves to look balanced and aesthetically pleasing in pictures.
Living rooms with large, bright windows are a dream for providing natural light—but those windows can also pose a challenge in the form of glare. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with unwanted reflections in your photos.
To prevent this, shoot during the day, when you shouldn’t have to use any interior lights. If you use flash, point the flash away from the windows (many photographers recommend pointing it at the ceiling instead). If it’s still a problem, try using a polarizing lens, which is specifically designed to reduce glare.
Uses for Living Room Background Photos
What companies and professionals need living room photography? More than you might think. If you’re building a photography business, consider targeting these sectors.
At some point or another, a range of businesses use living room backgrounds—on their websites, in ads, and on social media. However, companies often don’t want to invest the time and resources into commissioning custom photography. Instead, they turn to stock photos. As a stock photographer, you can sell living room background photos to websites such as Shutterstock or iStock and receive a commission or royalties when companies purchase them.
While they say that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, living room photos are a powerful component of real estate photography, too. The living room is where people spend much of their time, so it’s those photos that allow buyers to really envision themselves living in that house. Real estate agents also know that photos are powerful—some research has shown that homes with high-quality photos sell more quickly and for a higher price per square foot.
Vacation Rental Photography
Vacation rental owners also typically work with photographers to capture their properties. High-quality photos can make your rental unit look more appealing and increase bookings. And living room photos are some of the most important, as they can help travelers picture what it would be like to enjoy their vacation in that home.
Lifestyle and interior design bloggers often need photographs that document living rooms, whether it’s a room in their own house or a client’s home. Unlike companies that occasionally purchase stock photographs, bloggers typically produce custom content—and on a regular basis. So, by marketing your services to them, you have the potential to build long-term professional relationships.
Make a Living in Living Room Background Photography
Given the vast need for living room backgrounds, specializing in this aspect of photography can be a great way to distinguish your brand. By working with bloggers, real estate agents, and stock photography websites, you can build a lucrative business and cultivate your portfolio with an array of beautiful photos.
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