Photographing interiors can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to balancing the available ambient lighting along with artificial strobe lighting to produce pleasing-natural looking results.
Introducing artificial lighting such as flash to augment the natural ambient light, can produce stunning images that will help sell any room or property. Shooting with the ambient light alone can sometimes leave your images looking dark and gloomy, which is not very inviting to potential tenants or buyers. In this blog, we will look at some lighting options that would be ideal for shooting interiors.
Many real-estate photographers use small flashes such as speedlites, and pocket flashes such as the PIKA200, as they can be easily hidden out of view, behind furniture, pillars or household plants etc, to add extra pockets of light into certain areas to boost ambience. Speedlites are commonly used as they are small and battery powered, meaning they can be placed virtually anywhere you need them, without having to worry about trailing cables all over the place. Since flash exposure isn’t affected by shutter-speed, you can use your shutter speed the adjust the amount of ambient light in your final photo. You can either use a slower shutter-speed to increase the amount of ambient light in your scene, or you can use a faster shutter-speed to decrease the amount of ambient in your scene. You can even get the best of both worlds by combining two or more exposures in post to create a High-Dynamic Range image.
Unlike traditional speedlites that use AA batteries, the LI-ION580II uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is capable of up to 650 Full-Powered Flashes Per-Charge, with Ultra-Fast Recycling Times of up to 1.5 seconds, with virtually no slowdown as the battery power diminishes. This removes the need for bulky external battery packs, or bags of AA batteries and will keep you going throughout the day. With a Built-In Receiver and being a part of THE PIXAPRO ONE SYSTEM, the Li-ion580II can be used alongside with other more powerful PIXAPRO flashes when photographing larger rooms (such as a Hall etc.) or a room with multiple light source (e.g. multiple windows)
MagGrip: The MagGrip is a wonderful modifier for speedlites, as by attaching this to the rectangular head of the speedlites, it allows it to be used in conjuction with a wide range of different magnetic modifiers, such as gels and diffusers. Using these modifiers on your speedlite can help to add a different style and option for your lighting, helping to make the final image stand out.
MagSphere: The MagSphere is the perfect modifier to help transform the hard-directional flash being produced from your speedlite into a much softer lighting source. With the design of the MagSphere, it creates an omni-directional light, helping to spread the light over a wider area. The MagSphere also features an integrated gel slot, allowing it to be used with different gels, to help further create different lighting effects.
40" Translucent White Umbrella: This Umbrella is a great modifier to help create a softer lighting, and the smaller size means that the speedlite offers enough power to make sure the modifier is properly covered in the lighting. As it features a Translucent white colouring, it helps to create a less contrasting light compared to that of a silver umbrella with a reflective interior. The Umbrella is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for travelling between different locations and homes, to reduce any unnecessary issues with the equipment.
Like the LI-ION580II TTL Speedlite, the GIO1 also comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which has ultra-fast recycling time and capable of producing 480 full-powered flashes per charge. The GIO1 also features a round head, which produces beautifully smooth-gradated lighting, for more natural-looking light fall-off in comparison to a traditional rectangular-headed speedlite.
Round Head Accessory Kit: As the GIO1 speedlite not only features a round-head design, but also a magnetic head, it allows it to be compatible with this Round Head Accessory Kit. This kit contains a wide range of different modifiers such as Barndoor, Gels, Diffuser and Snoot to help create a wide range of different options and styles for your lighting, to allow it to match any particular environment.
If you need something more powerful to boost the ambient light in a larger room, we recommend either our battery-powered 200Ws Pocket flash like the PIKA200 Pro, or a battery-powered monolight strobe such as the CITI400PRO or the CITI600PRO. We would also recommend using strobe lights to illuminate darker areas of the room, as these strobes are capable of outputting a large amount of light and can be used with a wider range of light modifiers than a speedlite. Depending on your shooting angle, you could place the strobe behind your camera, and bounce the flash off of a wall or ceiling above for natural looking results.
The PIXAPRO PIKA200 PRO is a 200Ws battery powered flash (a great cable-free option, to avoid long extension leads lying around). This palm sized flash features quick recycling times and can easily be hidden behind furniture and other objects. Another advantage of the PIKA200PRO is that you are able to combine 2 units together to form a single 400Ws flash, to give you even more options when shooting in larger spaces.
Dual Smart Bracket: This Dual Smart Bracket allows you to use 2x PIKA200 PRO units together at the same time, in order to create a 400Ws Battery Powered lighting unit. This is a perfect set-up if you find yourself in a larger space than originally expected and requiring slightly more power than a single PIKA200 PRO can offer. The Dual Bracket also offers the ability to use Bowens S-Type Fitting modifiers with the units, in order to add further control and effects to your lighting to suit any given situation
The CITI400PRO is a 400Ws battery powered moonlight whereas the CITI600PRO is 600Ws battery-powered monolight. The added power of the CITI Pro Series flashes gives you the ability to shoot in both smaller and larger spaces. Both lights feature a standard Bowens S-Type modifier mount (CITI400 Pro requires the included S-Type adapter) enabling them both to be used with a wide range of modifiers straight out of the box, to help you produce softer lighting and avoid harsh distracting shadows that can happen with speedlites. Depending on your shooting angle, you could set the strobe behind your camera line and bounce flash off the wall or ceiling above or behind you to fill any shadows in front of you.
Left: CITI400 PRO
Right: CITI600 PRO
All of the above recommendations, as well as the rest of the PiXAPRO flash lighting options, are part of the PiXAPRO ONE System. This means you can seamlessly mix and match the different flashes, and control them all via a single flash trigger. The user-friendly display makes it simple to understand all the settings on your triggers, and the dedicated buttons mean that you always know what you are in control of at any given time.
Suggested Kit Layout
If the room that you are photographing has a simple design with basic set up, you should be fine to achieve a high-quality image with a single-light set up such as PIKA200PRO. However, if the room comes with more complex design, with a lot of details that you would like to emphasise, we would suggest multiple lights set up such as 1x powerful strobe (CITI400PRO or CITI600PRO) and at least one units of small light (LI-ION580TTL or GIO1 or PIKA200PRO). Using a modifier such as a Translucent Umbrella is one of the preferred light modifiers to create a broad and extremely soft light source in order to fill a room.
Each room comes with its own unique style and design, so capturing the best image each time can be difficult. Hopefully, this blog has offered an insight into the best lighting options for each situation.