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Other than beautiful natural landscapes and rich street life, Japan also has another perfect subject for your photography, especially if you’re into architectural photography. Traditional Japanese houses are rich with unique design features that each hold their own importance in the country’s culture. Many such features are also made a part of more modern houses due to their importance and practicality.

This makes Japanese houses very interesting subjects for photographers visiting Japan. Let’s take a look at some of the best features of traditional Japanese houses before going over some tips for interior photography.

Maximum Use of Light

Your camera will love Japanese houses because of the amazing light that is made part of the indoors. The use of paper screens that slide in and out of spaces as needed is a great way not only to connect and divide spaces but also lets in a lot of light into the house. This light is also diffused, which is great for photography as there are no harsh shadows anywhere in sight. The screens themselves are sometimes so beautifully crafted that they become very interesting subjects.

Connecting the Outdoors with the Indoors

The Engawa is a corridor that is present all around a traditional Japanese house. This becomes a great place to sit and relax, but it also serves the purpose of connecting the outdoor nature with the indoor spaces. This is also why Japanese houses are so well lit, as this space around the house allows light to come in from all sides.

Unique Indoor Spaces

Japanese homes have multiple very unique spaces that each serve a purpose. All of these make taking interior photos of Japanese houses a very fun experience. Spaces like the Ofuro which is a space for bathing usually made separately from the toilet, and the Irori which is a sunken space that is used for heating a room during winters and also as a cooking space make Japanese homes completely different from what you may have ever seen before.

So Japanese houses have some great features that you can photograph, but how should you be photographing them? Let’s talk about some tips and tricks you can try:

Use a Wide Angle Lens

Interior spaces can be very small at times, and a standard lens may not always be able to capture the scene you are trying to photograph. This is where a wide angle lens comes in handy. It will help you take photos that are not only dramatic but also contain a lot more information in them than a ‘normal’ lens would.

Use a Wide Aperture

Using a wide-angle lens with a wide aperture will ensure that your photos are not underexposed. Yes, Japanese homes are well-lit, but a wider aperture will also allow you to use a faster shutter speed. This means you can shoot hand-held, and therefore faster than you otherwise would be able to. It can be very helpful if you’re short on time.

Make Sure You Clean Up

An otherwise perfect shot can be ruined by something small that doesn’t belong in the scene which you missed. So be careful to set up your shot properly and clean up your scene. It doesn’t hurt to make a few changes in the space before you press the shutter to ensure that you end up with the best possible image.

Learn to Post-Process

Cleaning up your images after you’ve taken them, on a computer, is a very important step in professional photography. There are many impressive photo editing software programs available today that make this process very easy. You can not only fix the exposure and contrast of your photos but can also remove objects you don’t want in your frame, change the white balance if you’ve shot the image in RAW, work in multiple layers, create composite images, and much more. To find the best image editor for your needs, it’s best to try them out first to get a feel of what you like most.

So the next time you’re in Japan, don’t just get caught up in the street life and the natural sights, take some time to visit some traditional homes and capture some of the architectural heritage the country boasts. I assure you it will be one of the best indoor shooting experiences you’ll ever have.