A checklist for photographing architectural interiors...
If you flick through the pages of a travel brochure or browse travel company websites you'll find far fewer photos of interior architecture than of exterior architecture. Why? Exteriors tend to be more iconic and instantly recognisable than interiors. You can fit an entire exterior into a single photo but you just can't do that with an interior because there's always a wall behind you.
Photographing interiors can be quite challenging. Photographing the inside of a building is very different from photographing the outside of it. The lighting can be difficult. Space might be restricted. Access might be limited.
It's helpful to have some ideas about how you might approach photographing an interior rather than have to suddenly think about it all when you're standing there for the first time. I hope the list below will help - it's not exhaustive and it's not a list of rules. Feel free to ignore, adapt and improve!
Look up. Ceilings can be interesting and beautiful!
Look down. Floors can be interesting and beautiful!
Connect the inside with the outside - for example, beams of light streaming in through the windows of a building.
Connect the building and its users - can you picture the people who use the building inside?
Look for details of the interior that other photographers might not notice - sculptures, door decoration, furniture, artwork.
Juxtapose a small element of the interior with the rest of the room as a background
Look for patterns and symmetry. Interiors are full of them!
Can you somehow capture the mood of the interior in your photographs?
Look for little signs or other pieces of text that say something about the building.
Does the room say something about the personality of the people who use it? Can you show this in your photograph in some way?
Windows and doors can often be used as important elements of a photograph and can give a sense of scale in photos.
Respect requests not to take photographs
Ask yourself 'what is special or unique about this interior?', 'what is it that I'd like other people to know about this place?'
Don't get so tied up taking photos that you forget to look at the interior with your own eyes.
Explore the interior to see whether there are interesting angles or viewpoints that aren't immediately obvious. Many buildings are full of interesting nooks and crannies.
Is there anything else you consider when photographing architectural interiors? What would add to this checklist?
Rob has visited more than 50 countries. He's travelled with organised groups and independently. His travel photos have appeared in many publications and on many websites. His favourite meal is breakfast.