Make your home Insta-perfect: 5 secrets to take amazing interiors photos

Discover how to take pictures that have the Instagram wow-factor with the top tips that stylist Sophie Brown and photographer Chio Fernandez shared at the first Livingetc and Fujifilm interior photography masterclass

room with sofa and glass table and rug
(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

bathroom with bathtub and glass door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

Let your picture tell a story

A good picture starts in your head. “Interiors photography is storytelling,” says Sophie. “Your images will only work if you have a story to tell and a clear idea of who you are telling it to.”

room with arm chair and fire place

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

Create a mood to match your story

Each interiors story calls for a different angle or styling props that help you deliver your message. “Think about your story,” says Sophie. “If I wanted a living room shot to feel cosy and moody, I’d light the fire, I’d like a book turned upside down like someone just got off the chair and I’d turn down the lights to get more glow. But if I wanted this to be about coffee in the morning, I might take the cushion off the chair, take the lamp and logs away and put fresh flowers in.”

room with camera and fireplace

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

When in doubt, go portrait

You need to pick the right format for your photo story as styling for a landscape shot is very different from styling for a portrait shot. As a rule, Chio advises to go for portrait. “That’s because this format works best in magazines and on Instagram. She also recommends always leaving a little extra space in your picture. “You don’t want to have the perfect photo already because then you are not going to be able to crop it in any way. Capture everything now and if something bothers you, you can always cut it later.”

room with white brick wall and fire place

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

Channel the light

Chio suggests aiming to have natural light in your images. If your room is dark, using a good camera and selecting an aperture (the setting that determines how open the diaphragm of your camera lens will be) that is large enough to allow in a lot of light while keeping the main elements of your image in focus. Beware that there is a trade-off between aperture and depth of field.

room with girl with camera and plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chio Fernández)

Don’t forget to use the right camera

Making the most of light is just one of the reasons Chio and Sophie suggest using a good camera rather than a phone when photographing interiors. “Camera photos are of much higher quality so cropping them is not a problem, whereas if you crop a phone picture, it may become pixelated or lose focus,” Sophie explains. Chio particularly likes the new Fujifilm X-E3 because it combines the quality of a camera with the immediacy of the phone. “It has Bluetooth and it connects directly to your smartphone, so any image you take is immediately available to share directly to Instagram or on your blog.”


Photography by Chio Fernández

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.