What Does It Take to Photograph a Room?

Have you ever seen something so strikingly beautiful that you have to stop what you’re doing to snap a photo? So fun, right? But then, when you look at the photo, it looks nowhere near as beautiful as it does in real life.

Um, what gives?!

I don’t know about you, but this used to happen to me ALL THE TIME. The reality is that our eyes are incredible, because they provide images way more complex (and way cooler) than even the best cameras out there. This is a huge problem for retail and interior photographers, because we want to capture the rooms exactly as they look to the naked eye—not how our cameras think they look.

Luckily, here at The Wonder Jam, we have a process to make all that frustration go away!

We recently used this magic on sparkspace, a meeting space provider located in Columbus, Ohio. They have huge, expansive rooms full of glass windows, reflective surfaces, and some of the coolest stuff. For a manager looking to book an awesome meeting, it’s perfect. For a photographer, on the other hand, it’s a BIG challenge.

Retail and interior photography is no laughing matter. There are SO many obstacles in the way. Lighting setups that look great in person often look weird and “off” on camera. Some areas of the photos turn out way darker than others, and it’s really hard to capture the whooole room in just one photo.

Sounds like an impossible task, right? Well, here’s how we do it!

First, we use a special, super-wide lens that can capture the entire room in just one shot.

Next, we set up and take a photo of the room with the lights on at a normal brightness. As you can see, the photo’s not too bad! But there are a lot of weird little things that pop up immediately. Take a look…

Then, we turn off ALL the lights, so the only light coming in is the natural light from the windows. Once the lights are off, we use a technique called bracketing to take photos at a range of different brightness. Because the rooms might be unevenly bright, this allows us to have a photo of each part of the room at the correct brightness.

Next, we start to edit. But here’s where things get CRAZY—we combine all of the pieces of the photo into one big beautiful photo! Frankenstein-style. We use the photo of the room with the lights on, and then piece together all of the different levels of brightness into one photo.

So, chopped up, here’s what it looks like!

Combined, they look like this:

Lastly, we do one final edit, and wah-lah! Just like that, we have a photo that represents how we actually SEE the space.

Pretty amazing, right? But let me tell you, it’s no small feat.

November 8, 2019
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