Interiors of buildings

If you are a beginner, then making pictures of the interiors of buildings may sound difficult, but the abilities of modern camera equipment has made this task easier than ever before. A wide-angle (or at least a shorter than normal focal length) lens is usually necessary. This is because there seldom seems to be enough space to get back far enough to include what the eye sees when looking around an interior. Entry-level compact cameras with their 30 or 35 mm standard lenses have an advantage here. A 28 mm lens (or equivalent on digital cameras) is probably ideal, as shorter focal lengths start to create distortion of shapes near the corners of your picture. Digital SLR shooters need to remember to account for the Lens Multiplication Factor when considering what focal length is considered wide angle.

Be cautious about tilting the camera when it is fitted with wide-angle lenses. Such an action creates images where the edges of buildings taper as they move away from the camera. This effect is often called 'converging verticals' and is acceptable to the eye when the photograph is obviously looking upwards or even down. But there is nothing more distracting than slightly non-parallel vertical lines in a straight-on view of a building or architectural interior. As Figure 18.9 shows, you can eliminate this effect by keeping the back of the camera vertical and either moving back or cropping off the unwanted extra foreground from your final image.

Figure 18.10 Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements contain perspective correction features designed to remove lens distortion and correct perspective problems associated with capturing with wide- and ultra-wide-angle lenses.

For those occasions when it is not possible to keep the back of the camera parallel to the subject, or where the use of an ultra-wide-angle lens is the only solution, both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements contain perspective correction features. These tools provide a software solution for converging verticals as well as other lens problems such as barrel distortion (see Figure 18.10).

Even though you will tend to use wide-angle lenses for most of your architectural pictures, you will also find that a long focal length lens, such as 100 or 135 mm, is useful for photographing out-of-the-way details within a large interior. Picking out interesting architectural features can suggest the whole.

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