2021 Must-Follow Guide to Onsite Photo-Taking DIY

2021 Must-Follow Guide to Onsite Photo-Taking DIY

Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Chandler Bing

//This blog is updated in 2021//

A picture is worth a thousand words.

When you are trying to rent, or resell your space, whether a large bar or a small room, it is important that your prospective customers have a clear image of the area. This is because great portrayals not only draw attention, but also incite inner desires to own the product (in this case the space), and maximize willingness to pay. Hence, marvelous photos are the key to succeeding in the rental and resale business.

In this article, we introduce the fundamental advice on DIY site photo taking. Follow this simple instruction to take appealing pictures of your space, and be the most popular property owner!

     1.Organize Your Space

When you are attending a formal event or going on a date, you tend to wear nice clothes and try to leave a good impression on others. This should be the same when you are taking photos of your site – take care of the scene setting.

Begin with cleaning up, because messy environments are never attractive. Then, decorate the corners you are going to take photos of. Give small props so that people are able to imagine living in it. Shiny or light-generating items are useful for creating atmosphere and adding richness to the space. Even more, think of your target audience when you do a photo shoot. For example, if you want to attract a tenant with kids, put toys in to help them imagine their life in the space.


      2. Choose Your Light Source

One of the most important factors for any type of photography is lighting. Depending on which light source you use, the mood of your space can turn out in totally different ways. More importantly, without enough light, your photo will not be able to deliver all the necessary details about your space.


Above photos, although of slightly different angles, are indicating an obvious difference between good lighting and bad lighting. While you can even see the spots on the ceiling in the first one, it is impossible to recognize where the second photo was taken.

Then, what should be your light source? There are two main options: natural light and artificial light.

The biggest characteristic of natural light is its dispersion. As you all know, the sun is so far away from your space that it does not shine more on a spot and less on others. The light is evenly spread throughout your whole space. Therefore, you do not have to make an effort to brighten up your space or adjust the color in the editing process. Typically, early afternoon is the best time to take a photo with natural light.

On the other hand, you might be willing to use artificial light which includes ceiling lighting, lamps, and any other light sources that you’ve got. Depending on the specific mood or atmosphere you want to arouse, lamp lights or colored lights could be more effective. Because artificial lights are controllable, you can use and modify them according to your purpose, carrying out your intent completely.


     3.Shoot Your Site

1) Night Scene Interior

One advantage of night scene interior photography is that it sheds light on specific objects and creates a mood. Instead of showing every aspect of your space, you can expose only what you want to.

Here are some tips for setting:

✔  Change the ISO on your camera to the maximum (or above 1600)

✔  Take note of light reading and exposure reading

✔  Use a tripod to make the camera stable during exposure

✔  Use a timer to avoid jostling the camera when you press the shutter


2) Day Scene Interior

When you are taking a photo of your space during the daytime, benefit from the natural light!

✔  Add supplementary light by using flash units or strobes

✔  “Stage” your scene: again, never forget to tidy up your space

✔  Shoot into the corner of a room to make the space look larger

✔  Capture unique aspects of your space (e.g. old brick, light patterns, etc.)

3) Panorama

✔  If possible, use panorama mode on your camera (rather than to post-edit photos)

✔  Overlap 15% to 30% of the photos to make the connecting parts more natural

✔  Use a tripod to keep your camera on the same level

✔  Take the photo multiple times to grab more details; no need to stop after a single pass!

     4. 360°

A 360-degrees photo is a great way to portray the interior of a hotel or a cabin, but it is hard to take a good one because if the exposure is correct, the details are blurred out and if there is not enough light, the atmosphere is not complete. Hence, in order to solve this problem, remember to use a multiple exposure technique. Also, take at least six photos – four on the horizontal side and three on the vertical side, one of each overlapping with one another. (Imagine a planar figure of a cube!)

     5. Video

You might want to take a video of your space, to provide an even better description of your space. When you are taking a video, you really need to make sure that the setting is perfect, because post-production of videos is much more time-consuming than that of photos. (For instance, you cannot simply delete an obtrusive object once you have taken a video.) Moreover, one video shows more than one photo. This can be both good and bad; you can be more detailed and informative, but might have to expose some defects of your space as well.

One mobile application you can use is FiLMiC, which is a high-definition video camera application. It provides variable speed zoom and aspect ratio overlays. Aspect ratio function should be particularly useful, because, in interior photography or videography, the structure, angles, and ratio largely influence the audiences’ perception. With this application, you can also control the focus, exposure, and white balance.

      6. Editing

Finally, we have arrived at the very last part, which is editing! Post-processing gives you a chance to enhance your photos. Even if you made mistakes taking the pictures, the right software can help you bring a perfect result.

GIMP and Paint.NET are the two we recommend to you, because they are both free, accessible, and easy to use. Because this editing process will accompany a little bit of adjusting and a little bit of cropping at most, and because you will be editing your raw photos, such software will be able to do the job. Of course, if you know how to use Adobe Photoshop, you can use it.

Again, the most important thing about DIY site photo taking for rental and resale is attractiveness. Of course, you should not be a photo fraud by totally distorting or recreating the photo of your space. Nonetheless, you need to draw the buyers’ attention. Hence, try to make your space look beautiful, with some atmosphere. Hence, start taking photos right now, and find the best angle, best lighting, and best furniture disposition for your space to appear appealingly.

Planning to go for a renovation? Either a large bar or a small room, your interior designer should have an idea of the condition of the area. A customized interior design (like the one from archiparti) can be done only if the designer has a full command of the space; the designer or contractor has to be aware of the potential of the flat. In addition, knowing the location of windows, fuse box, air conditioner, and many other items is critical to deciding where to put new items and move existing ones. Furthermore, photos may not only provide background information about your space but also inspire the designer!

In this article, we would like to share some essential tips on DIY site photo taking for communication with designers. Go through this guide, take accurate and informative pictures of your space, and enjoy the rest of your interior design process as well!

  1. Define Purpose

Why do you want a new interior design for your space? Are you about to have a baby, move in or out, or simply want to refresh yourself? When you are requesting a designer or a contractor do renovate your place, you first need to identify the reason why you are doing this, because it is the core of a personalized design. Depending on your purpose, the same space can be arranged in tens of different ways. For example, a small room in your home could be your kids’ toy room, your study, or a family TV room.


  1. Show the Real Situation

When you are taking photos of your space to communicate with your interior designer, you always need to remember to show the actual condition of your space. To do so, followings should be included:

✓  4-8 shots each for all rooms/area
✓  1-2 shots each for all ceilings and floors
✓  1-2 shots each for all openings (windows and doors)
✓  1 shot for each existing non-moveable item (e.g. fixed cabinet, air conditioner, curtain)
✓  1 shot for all electric switches and the main fuse box
✓  1-2 shots for gas and water supply
✓  1-2 shots each for all areas with problem (e.g. leakage)
✓  1-2 shots for whatever to be kept after the construction work
✓  1-2 shots each for the entrance, main lift lobby, and floor lift lobby

We would like to once again emphasize the importance of ceiling situation, because ceilings may be slanted, have beams, lightings, built-in air conditioners, etc. It is highly possible that ceilings are in an unusual condition, so it is very important to capture the ceiling situation. Floors, windows, and all other openings (including doors) should be taken into serious regard as well because they are not moveable nor easily modifiable. The amount of storage is another significant part of a renovation because it is directly related to the house structure as well as the possible degree of modification. Last but not least, don’t forget to take photos of special corners or situations.

Here, the key point is real and inclusive. You need to deliver the true appearance and circumstance of every part of the space to be recreated.

  1. Stay Clear, Coherent, and Correct

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind during the actual photo shoot step.

First, take photos clockwise to capture all 360° of the area. By following a single direction, the designer can have a more vivid and correct imagination of the space. (Say you follow clockwise for some rooms and counterclockwise for the others; the designer will be mixed up and have a wrong image of your space!)

Second, square each corner of your frame with each corner of your space. This will help you find horizontality and balance in your photos.

Third, show out the location of the main fuse box. The purpose of this shot is not to show how your fuse box looks like, but rather to show where it is located so that your designer would avoid blocking or hiding the box with other items.

Fourth, check the angle. Is the camera standing far enough to contain all the necessary characteristics of your space? In other words, is the angle wide enough? Is it accidentally truncating certain side? Unlike brightness or color, the angle is something you cannot fix in the editing process. Hence, pay attention to the angle, and take multiple photos of each item from slightly different angles, so that you can choose the best one among many.

  1. Use the Floor Plan

You should have prepared the floor plan of your property before you began taking photos. (If not, go check our DIY Site Measurement article right now!)

The floor plan is not only for the designer to use, but also a useful resource for you. Keep referring back and forth to the floor plan to indicate which photo is for which location. Take a regard of site measurement as well, since it is another pointer that helps you organize your photos.

Simply put, suppose that you are building an information tower for your interior designer: floor plan is the foundation, site measurement is the framework, and site photo taking is style and decoration. You need to come up with all these three to provide complete data.

Along with site measurement, site photo taking will be one of the first things you would do for an interior project owner. (Again, refer to our DIY Site Measurement article if you need some advice on this topic!) Again, the most important thing about DIY site photo taking is clarity and accuracy. Hence, try to portray it as it is. Make sure that every part is reflected, and easily noticeable.

Even if you haven’t been thinking of renovation, it should be tempting to refresh your space after reading this article. What to wait for? Visit archiparti website and discover stunning, customized, and professional designs waiting for you.

Dana, archiparti blog contributor

archiparti empowers project owners and independent designers by streamlining the process in the design and build industry. Benefit from personalized and professional design service, as well as on-site measurement service. Be more efficient with archiparti.

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