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Best Digital Camera for Interior Room Shots AND landscapes?!

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Posted on Apr 10, 2012 5:50:13 AM PDT
I like Les's idea. Hire the guy teaching the class.

$1000 a shot seems like it would be difficult to sustain.

Any photographer you hire should be able to show you a portfolio with enough work in it to give you an idea of what to expect. If you are looking for food photography, and a photographer shows you a lot of portraits, with a hamburger or two in the mix, that should tell you he doesn't usually shoot food. You want someone who can show you a large number of food shots. If you want the interior of your B&B, your photographer should have pictures of building interiors to show you, and buildings that are the same general size and mood as yours. A bunch of huge hotel lobbies and office conference rooms don't tell you how he will shoot a B&B.

You can hire someone who isn't an expert at your subject matter, just, don't expect that his shots of your B&B will be as compelling as his portraits.

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 6:05:30 AM PDT
I just unpacked the T3i again and played some more, focusing on pictures of the bathroom. It's pretty addictive, even just trying shots from various angles and positions makes such a difference. Here's what I think I'll do. Ask my student friend to take me through the basics; then take the Jim Block classes and find out how much he charges for pics while I'm at it, OR...if by some lucky chance by then my pics are come out well, go with that. Well, something like that but I've basically convinced myself to keep the T3i and dedicate 3 hours a day of picture taking and learning.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 9:47:27 AM PDT
EdM says:
"Why don't you just hire the guy who's classes you're taking?"

In many schools, there may be conflict of interest rules as to student-teacher financial deals, to preclude the appearance of impropriety. OTOH, the instructor/professor may well be able to recommend someone that they know, whether former student or otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 2:36:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2012 2:37:17 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Some time when your student friend can be around to help out you should rent the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. has great rental prices and low shipping cost (let them know that Ohio Action Images recommended them).

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 4:50:02 PM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
If you want a wide view there are programmes, I have three which came with differents makes of cameras I purchased, which will stitch two or more frames together to achieve the wide view. This means that you can buy an Olympus M4/3 camera at a reasonable price and get the shots. I assume that your photos will be used on the web and in brochures so any DSLR is over-kill. Even M4/3 is too much.

Provided you support the camera, the stick from a household broom will suffice with care, then virtually any good P&S camera costing around $200 will do the job for you. If there is one which will do HDR more to the good. My Paint Shop Pro X4 editor costing about $60 apparently will handle HDR for me but I have yet to explore that. You need a camera that will shoot three shots bracketing three exposures 'under, normal, over' for you.

Really despite what I have written I echo the use of a pro who knows his job ...I could use the P&S camera for the job but I'm not sure you could.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 9:56:17 AM PDT
The hardest part of doing interior shots is the lighting, especially if you want the views out of the windows in the shots. A good real estate photographer will use a couple of powerful strobes and as many fill in lights as necessary to light up the dark parts of the room. Some people might think that HDR will do the trick, but that will not match up the color temperature of the interior lights and lighting to what is coming in through the windows, odd looking photos result. Others will 'draw in' the windows in Photoshop, modifying the color temperature of one exposure, that will work OK for the outside view but not for the light streaming in, once again odd looking photos result. There is much more to it than strapping on a wide angle lens and hoping to get a good looking exposure, especially if these photos are going to represent your business and are the main source of advertisement. I'd hire somebody to do at least one room just so you can see what it will take. What you want to find is a photographer that specializes in high-end real estate photos.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 10:13:59 AM PDT
T. Campbell says:
"A good real estate photographer will use a couple of powerful strobes and as many fill in lights as necessary to light up the dark parts of the room. Some people might think that HDR will do the trick, but that will not match up the color temperature of the interior lights and lighting to what is coming in through the windows, odd looking photos result."

QFT - and just for fun... I did this to see what would happen. The result is that if you do the HDR correctly, you can get the light balanced. But I found that I was ended up with wonky colors and the resulting HDR output still needed some Photoshop TLC to try to make it look correct. To a person who had never seen the room, it would probably look "natural" enough. But the colors of walls and fabrics in the room were not very close to the true colors.

And when I say that you need to "do the HDR correctly", I mean you can't use your camera's built-in HDR mode (if it has one) and you can't even let your camera evaluate the exposure for the room (using evaluative or matrix metering) and then just bracket up and down. You have to work more like an experienced landscape photographer... manually spot-metering the brightest point in the image (and note that exposure), manually spot-meter the darkest point in the image (and note that exposure), and then use those two to find the middle exposures (count the stops of difference to find the middle stop.) Manually set the middle exposure and then bracket up and down based on shutter speed (not aperture). Even after all this, I still got very bad white balance and color matching.

You can do HDR, and it'll "work" - but it won't be as straight forward as you'd think. I imagine this is why high-end realty photographers still prefer to drive around with a lot of gear (mostly lighting) even though you'd think modern HDR would make that obsolete.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 12:12:05 PM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
The more people write the more it is obvious that it pays to have a knowledgable professional do the job.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 12:58:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012 12:58:43 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Depending on how far away you are from opening, there is always the possibility of arranging a barter. A couple nights in your bed and breakfast in exchange for some of the photography work. Obviously, you'd want to make sure the photographer was competent, as you don't want to become a flop house for want-to-be photographers.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 5:44:34 PM PDT
Is that an offer Tom....?!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 6:53:48 PM PDT
T. Campbell says:
So we are going with the "flop house" theme then? ;-)

Sorry, I couldn't resist -- and yes I am totally kidding.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 6:48:03 AM PDT
Oh yes, I've already placed orders for frilly Victorian curtains, some doily lamps, and lovely polyester bedding---that's gotta be worth at least 5 interior shots right? ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 3:58:14 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Sarah L. Douglas says: Is that an offer Tom....?!

Actually, it was not meant as one. It was simply meant as a suggestion. Though the idea is very appealing, my summer looks like it will be booked up.

T. Campbell says: So we are going with the "flop house" theme then? ;-)
Sorry, I couldn't resist -- and yes I am totally kidding.

With a set-up like that, I certainly don't blame you. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2012 6:03:13 PM PDT
Kyle Brady says:
Why are you recommending a $1600 FF lens that is only a 25mm equiv on the T3i? That's not a good match for anyone, let alone the OP who is trying to get a quick job done which requires real wide angle. She'll need something at least 12mm or wider.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 7:14:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 18, 2012 7:20:20 AM PDT
Neo Lee says:

Let me start off by linking to some of my recent ultra-wide landscape shots:

I would use an ultra-wide zoom lens such as the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Sure enough you're not going to always shoot at 11mm but it is going to be much needed for many shots, because when you gotta capture everything in one shot, you're going to need it ultra wide. Space is limited indoor, and you can't move back enough to frame everything in. Wall and furniture will get in your way. While space could be well unlimited outdoor, ultra wide in right conditions can make the landscape look so good. Believe it or not, 11mm is sometimes not wide enough. I wish I could have the Sigma 8-16mm at my disposal. Basically photo at 8mm focal length is about 35% wider than the 11mm. Big deal.

Camera of your choice should be an APS-C DSLR camera. The more ideal is a full frame DSLR such as a Canon 5D MK II or a Nikon D700 but you're going to spend much more on the body as well as on the lenses that work on full frame. Used on a full frame DSLR, the Tokina and the Sigma mentioned above will have severe vignette all across the focal range except 16mm. I'm not aware of any other cameras that could use affordable ultra-wide lenses.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 7:34:12 AM PDT
Thank you so much, everyone, for all the great information. We have postponed the opening of our vacation retreat to June of 2013 so I hope that gives me a bit more time to learn more about taking good shots. I will keep practicing and, if not good enough by then, will hire out (but, fingers crossed...). It's been really fun posting back and forth and getting your opinions - I've appreciated each and every one - the diversity is what helps me reach a decision. THANK YOU!!!

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 8:16:48 AM PDT
carl says:
I have done arch. shots and the real problem is this: There are situations where good results are impossible to get. It doesn't matter what equipment you use. I had a very small bathroom rehab to photograph, and yes, a wide angle 10mm on a dslr could get wide enough, but i was forced so close that the distortions were not acceptable. It was stone so reflections from the mirrors and stone tops limited where i could shoot from. It was a nightmare, and i didn't like the results, neither did my client. Now i charge 500 an hour for residential and i usually turn down these awful assignments.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 8:16:54 AM PDT
D. T. Jones says:
On the Olympus the 14-42 mm lens is the equivalent of a 28-84 mm 35 mm lens, I think that might help.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 1:27:06 PM PDT
EdM says:
The info helps, BUT the thing is that a 28mm equivalent lens is not very wide for doing interior shots. Really, you want a minimum of 24 mm [35mm camera equivalent] in lens focal length, or wider.

Looking at lenses, 4mm at the long end, say 200 mm, is only a 2% change which is basically unnoticeable. At the wide end, however, 4 mm at 24 is 1/6th [17%] difference, and the wider one goes, the greater difference that each mm makes.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 7:29:33 PM PDT
Joe says:
I have BOTH Panasonic G2 and Olympus Pen bodies. They are both GREAT in their own right. The lenses are interchangeable and I use my 9-18mm lens on BOTH. I insert a all-direction bubble level in the flash shoe on ALL my cameras. (got them cheap) I also have an adapter to use all my ole Nikon glass on them as well.

I like to shoot wide, film or digital. One HUGE advantage of the Panasonic is the fold out LCD screen. Easy to flip up or down for above head shots or down low at cats eye level and actually SEE what you are shooting. The LCD is also a touch screen. Both brands have automatic modes, so either can be used like point& shoot as well as manual creative DSLR.

They both use the Micro 4/3 system and adapters are available for many old 35mm rangefinder and SLR lenses.

Another feature of SOME Panasonic models is the built-in electronic viewfinder. Great for shooting in bright sunlight (read washed out LCD screen). If I had to pick only one between the Pany or Oly, I would go for the Panasonic WITH built-in viewfinder!

I also shoot 3D with BOTH, the Panasonic 3D lens fits and works on both.brands (easier for a novice on the Pany tho)

FYI I have a pair of Panasonic G2s and one Olympus PL1..........

Posted on May 11, 2012 6:03:14 AM PDT
I'm signed up to a vacation rental marketing's a recent article and experiment on photos that you might find interesting! BTW, I ended up getting the Olympus Pen EPM1.

Posted on May 11, 2012 8:28:22 AM PDT
It will probably help to get a camera that shoots RAW because they capture all the data on a picture and store it. You can than at your computer adjust exposure up or down, white balance, and nearly all the other picture qualities. I have a Canon T2I and the Canon t3 and up will do this and come with the software to process pictures. All the moderate and up priced Nikons also have this. You can fix a lot of almost perfect pictures if you shoot it in RAW.

Posted on May 11, 2012 8:52:20 AM PDT
Joe says:
I have RAW ability on my Lumix G2 (Panasonic) but seldom use it. With the histogram and ability to adjust exposure in real time, I have not so far found a real serious need for RAW. It is a GOOD feature to have. I can also shoot RAW + JPG and get both.

I feel the new smaller EVIL/eDSR (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) or Electronic DSLRs the path of the future.


In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 10:32:07 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
With a Olympus Pen EPM1 camera you will want to pick up a Olympus M ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 micro Four Thirds Lens.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 11:19:34 AM PDT
<<I have not so far found a real serious need for RAW >>

That's funny, with Lightroom rendering RAW's as it imports them, I see no serious need to shoot JPEG anymore.
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Discussion in:  Digital SLR forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  51
Initial post:  Apr 3, 2012
Latest post:  May 11, 2012

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