Welcome to the forum!

As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

photographing the interior of a shop

sasko1sasko1 Member
edited July 2013 in technique & style & stuff

I need your help again. Hope someone can help me with issue.

I have a job to take images of a pharmacy shop. Interior, shelves, staff behind counter...etc. Shop looks something like this:
http://www.ocmi.net/images/LC Pharmacy 3/LC-Pharmacy-1.jpg

The main issue I have is artificial light. So I do not know what to do. I have three options:
- to use high iso without flash
- low iso and tripod
- medium iso and bounce flash (with gel)?

Although I am afraid to use flash, since there will be some shiny surfaces (glass, metal...)
What do you suggest? What is the best way for results here?
Images will be used for website and also for magazine and flyers.

Gear: nikon D700 + 24-70

Big thanks for help


  • JerryJerry Member
    edited July 2013
    Hi there,
    I actually work in a pharmacy belonging to a smallish chain, so I've taken quite a few photos within the premises.

    I've had best results with no flash and medium/high ISO. The artificial lights used are surprisingly bright so you shouldn't have to go much higher than ISO 800 or so and be able to handhold.

    Take a custom WB or take a photo of a Grey card in different places around the premises and your White balance should be spot on too.



    Ps. The lights have a tendency to be blown out ( go white ). But shouldn't cause any problems.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Thanks Jerry.

    I'll try not to catch too may lights, since all the focus should be on shop shelves and staff. Since I do not have gray card, I guess WB from raw (white selection) should do too? Or you suggest gray card? (maybe hint, which one is good?)
    I still did not go to location, but I hope for bright invironment.

    Do you have any sample, to see your work, Jerry?

    Thanks for help.

  • JerryJerry Member
    WB from white selections should do just as well. Plenty of white areas in a Pharmacy after all.

    I do have a few pictures of work colleagues etc, however, the computer is on a mobile broadband and my lovely half has kind of smashed the dongle ha ha.

    (Doing this on my phone)

    Btw, the exposure should be rather consistent so manual mode should be a breeze
  • Hi Sasko

    Shooting a lot of commercial properties and alike etc, my advice for INDOOR SHOTS is

    1) Shoot in RAW.
    2) Use your flash and bounce it.
    3) The 24-70mm lens is ideal and you will find that you will use it often at the 24mm end if your trying to capture a lot in the frame.
    4) grey or white card, forget it. Use M mode and ensure that your ambient light registers at some point. Test and shoot.
    5) leave the tripod at home.

    Remember there are no magic setting such as ISO 800, f5.6 @ 1/60th second.
    Just get to your location earlier, walk around and take some test shots of the ambient light only to see what you get.

    I find in some situations that I done use flash and I expose for something white within the property. If you do this correctly, all the other tones will fall into place.

    Good luck.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Hi, angelo69.

    Thanks for advice. I always shoot in RAW, so there won't be any problem. As far as I saw from one image I got, the place is bright enough so I guess, tripod will stay at home. :D
    Jerry and angelo, I will do this in M mode. No boo for me. I shoot in M a lot of times.

    Angelo, what you mean by:
    Angelo69 said: Use M mode and ensure that your ambient light registers at some point.
    You mean to see when the lights starts to blink on my display?

    will also try to bounce flash. What is your opinion about gel? Should I use 1/2 CTS or without gel?
    I don't wanna find out at home,t hat I have two different lights mixing on my images. :)

    Also I guesss it is better to hae a bit overexposed (if), than to have undrexposed shots. Right?

    Really aprishiate help here. Thanks.

  • Hi Sasko1

    By M, I mean "manual" mode on your camera. Not Av or Tv or P.
    By having the ambient light register, I mean take a shot with the flash off and see how it looks. If theres heaps of light in the store then you may not have to underexpose by a great deal. 1-2 stops is usually enough however take a test shot and see how it looks.
    Gel, well thats up to you but if you already shoot in RAW, then you can tweak the WB and have it looking good.

    Hope this helps

  • Sasko1

    I for to answer your last point.

  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    OK! Thanks for help Angelo. I'll go there on Tuesday and see what happens. Hopefully everything will be okay. :)
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    This topic has been well covered by others. (Thank you!)

    Re your original question - the light is very even there. So this is low / medium ISO territory, with the use of a tripod. (imho)

    Unless there is people involved .. then I'd probably resort to bounce flash.

    Re exposure: expose correctly.

    Now, since these are fluorescent lights, you'll find that your shutter speed will affect the color balance. It has to do with shooting higher than 1/60th and catching part of the AC power cycle. Slower shutter speeds will help give you more consistent color.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    In that case, I'd better bring tripod with me. Will first try without, to see, what shutter speed I'll get and if it will be too slow, tripod will do.
    I guess eye perspective will suit best for this kind of shots, right?

    Thanks for help
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Eye perspective? Meaning eye-level?
    Not necessarily. You don't want to point the camera down, or else you'd get perspective distortion.

    So it really depends on how wide you zoom and your composition. But I'd recommend keeping the camera level.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Yes, I ment eye-level. Sorry for my english. Not that perfect. :)

    Okay... tomorrow is day D. I hope everything will go smooth and the customers will be satisfied with images. Thanks for all the help here.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Back from the shop. :) My report:

    Shop was quite bright...so I managed to pull it off without tripod. I did couple of shots without flash, but later I started to use it as a bounce. Was better solution, I guess. Much less shadows on shelves. But some shots were unable to pull it off with bounce due to separator on the cieling which blocked the light from flash.
    All in all I am satisfied. ISO 400-800 was enough, so post production will solve all issues left. :)

    Thanks for help here. Now I have to wait to see, if I got the job or not. :)
  • Hey Sasko, can you show us a sample! Now curious after reading all that!!
  • No problem. I will show you sample or two. Just wait until I get to my computer. :)

  • Here are couple of images I did. There were plenty for them. I randomly picked 4 to show it here.
    As far as I know, they will decide for the cheapest offer. We will see. I didn't go below my costs and I am standing behind all my numbers. :)
  • 5426 seems soft on the bottom right. Other than that (and the fact that they are all reversed) they look good. (based on the small size)
  • Well, I can't put full size on the web yet...and I reversed it just to see if anyone will notice ;)

    Yes... 5426 is a bit soft in the corner I noticed now, when you mentioned. I checked others and are all OK. Thanks for your comment.
Sign In or Register to comment.