before/after interior design lighting setup [images + shooting notes]

Started Nov 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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rkeller Senior Member • Posts: 1,066
before/after interior design lighting setup [images + shooting notes]

Part of my professional photography practice includes shooting built designs for architects for their portfolios/websites. I thought I'd show the before/after shots of a particularly complicated lighting setup along with notes for those interested in such technical details.

This a bathroom remodel project that had a large amount of mirror and for which the client wished to accentuate the wood countertop face. The lighting setup for this is one of the most complicated I have ever done, given the minimal working space and the large amount of reflective surface.

  • Camera: Olympus E-PL1 (I shoot with an E-M5 now, but this was done about a year ago)
  • Lens: Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 at 9mm & f/9.0
  • ISO 400. 1/60 sec. exposure

I typically do my interior design shots using a 22mm-28mm equivalent focal length. This one is at a 18mm EFL (minus some cropping) because of the small space. Shot at ISO 400 to boost the flash output given required bouncing and diffusing methods.

Along with the lights you see in the room plus the ambient window light, I used 4 to 5 strobes (Olympus FL-50Rs & FL-36Rs) with a variety of modifiers in manual slave mode triggered with the popup flash. These all had to be creatively hidden - I'll provide some hints as to their placement in follow-up comments to this thread.

While the lighting took a long time of trial-and-error to set up, I only had to do minimal Lightroom processing for the final image.

  • There are some shadow transitions that I was considering softening, but the client preferred the harder edges
  • The client was interested in accentuating the exposed pipes under the sink, else those would have been cloned out.

Snapshot of the scene before de-cluttering and lighting:

Final shot:

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"If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself." - George Orwell "Politics and the English Language"
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Olympus PEN E-PL1
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