Noise Issues with interior photography, even with strobes and low ISO...

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I take product photos for a bedding company, and we shoot inside a home. I use studio strobes, and as far as I know, my camera settings are correct and the photos are well lit. I usually keep the ISO between 200-640 (640 for the darker rooms), and between f/11 and f/22. However, there is still an extreme amount of grain in my images and I am not sure why. I use the companys Canon 80D, and have used a Canon 5d Mark IV, and both cameras still give a lot of grain (although the full frame causes less of course.) I have never had this happen with my images, studio lighting or not, until this job. They've always been crystal clear. Does anyone know why this could be? Would really appreciate any help.
 
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Garry Edwards
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Hi and welcome to TP

I cannot offer any insight though another TPer might be able to suggest a solution?

@Garry Edwards I think maybe this falls into your KB ;)
I'm not sure that I can offer any insight either, at least not at this stage. The obvious guess is that underexposure has caused digital noise, especially in the shadow areas, but we need to know more before we can say anything useful.

I think that the starting point has to be to post one or more example image, so that we can see the issue and hopefully work out what's happened.
And I'm going to ask a moderator move this thread to the Lighting forum, which is where the lighting people tend to hang out.
 

LongLensPhotography

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ISO200 should be OK, 320 if absolutely necessary. 640 is emergency situations. It certainly sounds like underexposure, and quite severe one at that. Don't expect to boost it 2 stops in post and get away with it, and forget any more than +25% shadows --> looks awful.

f/8-11 is normal range, you should pretty much never ever use f/18-22 for anything.
 
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Thank you everyone. Im going to try bumping up the strobes and staying at iso 200 f/11. what concerns me is theres almost no space for the lights and for me to shoot since it is in a home, the lights have to be fairly close to the room and quite cropped in. I will come back to this thread with an update
 
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ISO200 should be OK, 320 if absolutely necessary. 640 is emergency situations. It certainly sounds like underexposure, and quite severe one at that. Don't expect to boost it 2 stops in post and get away with it, and forget any more than +25% shadows --> looks awful.

f/8-11 is normal range, you should pretty much never ever use f/18-22 for anything.
I've done countless bed shoots. For a long time, they were always shot large format, ISO 50, and it was always enough, even though with large format I nearly always shot at either f/45or f/64.
And with digital, shooting at 200 ISO is a luxury, there's never any need to go higher.
F22 = diffraction, so you're getting softer and noisier images.
Softer yes, noisier no. f/16 is generally considered to be the smallest usable f/number for a full-frame camera, smaller of course for smaller formats.
Thank you everyone. Im going to try bumping up the strobes and staying at iso 200 f/11. what concerns me is theres almost no space for the lights and for me to shoot since it is in a home, the lights have to be fairly close to the room and quite cropped in. I will come back to this thread with an update
The Queen's homes probably have big enough rooms for this type of shoot, but personally I'm not good enough to work well in really small spaces. My work has always been in roomsets created in large pro studios, which is much easier.
 
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I've done countless bed shoots. For a long time, they were always shot large format, ISO 50, and it was always enough, even though with large format I nearly always shot at either f/45or f/64.
And with digital, shooting at 200 ISO is a luxury, there's never any need to go higher.

Softer yes, noisier no. f/16 is generally considered to be the smallest usable f/number for a full-frame camera, smaller of course for smaller formats.

The Queen's homes probably have big enough rooms for this type of shoot, but personally I'm not good enough to work well in really small spaces. My work has always been in roomsets created in large pro studios, which is much easier.
I never meant diffraction causes noise, I meant there's no reason for him to be shooting at F22 and either upping iso/lowering SS or increasing flash power unnecessarily to compensate. I should've really clarified.
 
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I've done countless bed shoots. For a long time, they were always shot large format, ISO 50, and it was always enough, even though with large format I nearly always shot at either f/45or f/64.
And with digital, shooting at 200 ISO is a luxury, there's never any need to go higher.

Softer yes, noisier no. f/16 is generally considered to be the smallest usable f/number for a full-frame camera, smaller of course for smaller formats.

The Queen's homes probably have big enough rooms for this type of shoot, but personally I'm not good enough to work well in really small spaces. My work has always been in roomsets created in large pro studios, which is much easier.
Luckily the company will be moving to a warehouse in a few months where a studio is being built. Hopefully won't have this issue anymore by then!
 
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Why are you using f22 seems unnecessary.

I would suggest depth of field... Beds are quite long and if space at a premium, them you're going to have to shoot stopped down.

Your othe option is to shoot wider open, and make a composite of say 3 frames. As long as your camera is on a tripod this shouldn't be that hard.
 
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I would suggest depth of field... Beds are quite long and if space at a premium, them you're going to have to shoot stopped down.

Your othe option is to shoot wider open, and make a composite of say 3 frames. As long as your camera is on a tripod this shouldn't be that hard.
I tried making a composite in lightroom with natural light and there was a lot of ghosting. Lots of different attempts to troubleshoot. This is my first professional photography job and really my first time shooting interiors so its been quite the struggle. haha
 
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I would suggest depth of field... Beds are quite long and if space at a premium, them you're going to have to shoot stopped down.

Your othe option is to shoot wider open, and make a composite of say 3 frames. As long as your camera is on a tripod this shouldn't be that hard.
It's called Focus Bracketing.
 
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It's called Focus Bracketing.
It's called focus stacking, https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/tutorials/focus-stacking-–-getting-everything-in-focus.150/

I tried making a composite in lightroom with natural light and there was a lot of ghosting. Lots of different attempts to troubleshoot. This is my first professional photography job and really my first time shooting interiors so its been quite the struggle. haha
Yes, I can see the problems, this type of photography is in fact pretty highly skilled and needs both space and equipment. my guess is that your main problem is based on lighting, so rather than try to find your way on your own, why not just explain exactly how you're going about it (I can guess but could be wrong) and post example images, so that we can steer you in the right direction?
 
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To minimise image noise always shoot at base ISO this will also give you the best dynamic range. Try and make sure you get the image as close to the final image as possible in camera. Any corrections in exposure and white balance will add noise even if you are using RAW, correcting under exposure and filling shadows is particularly bad.

Also check that your camera and software are not adding any sharpening as you process the image. Ideally your work flow should be unsharpened, then add sharpening as one of your last processes.
 
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It's called focus stacking, https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/tutorials/focus-stacking-–-getting-everything-in-focus.150/


Yes, I can see the problems, this type of photography is in fact pretty highly skilled and needs both space and equipment. my guess is that your main problem is based on lighting, so rather than try to find your way on your own, why not just explain exactly how you're going about it (I can guess but could be wrong) and post example images, so that we can steer you in the right direction?
Bracketing is the act of taking multiple images.
Stacking is the act of combining them in software.
 

LongLensPhotography

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I would suggest depth of field... Beds are quite long and if space at a premium, them you're going to have to shoot stopped down.

Your othe option is to shoot wider open, and make a composite of say 3 frames. As long as your camera is on a tripod this shouldn't be that hard.
Never had a problem getting the whole bed in focus at f/11-13.

Softer yes, noisier no. f/16 is generally considered to be the smallest usable f/number for a full-frame camera, smaller of course for smaller formats.
If you are using flashes and don't compensate with ridiculous iso or very powerful studio strobes, it will indirectly lead to more noise.

I tried making a composite in lightroom with natural light and there was a lot of ghosting. Lots of different attempts to troubleshoot. This is my first professional photography job and really my first time shooting interiors so its been quite the struggle. haha
I would happily offer my services to the company. I've done gazillions of blends and they look rather seamless. The trick may be getting good matches to begin with and not doing anything at 100%.

In many cases you don't even need strobes, that is if you just have a couple of nice windows behind and out of the frame. In fact it may give a nicer look, unless of course you want to emphasise the bed or its features specifically with the lights.
 
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Never had a problem getting the whole bed in focus at f/11-13.
Agreed.

If you are using flashes and don't compensate with ridiculous iso or very powerful studio strobes, it will indirectly lead to more noise.
My guess (no information) is that the OP is using flashguns, and if so then yes, that is likely to be a contributory factor.

In many cases you don't even need strobes, that is if you just have a couple of nice windows behind and out of the frame. In fact it may give a nicer look, unless of course you want to emphasise the bed or its features specifically with the lights.
And this is where I stop agreeing with you:)
It's all about the light, and as has been established in innumerable other threads, daylight is only theoretically capable of producing good results. Beds are boring products, they all basically look the same and it's the job of the photographer to make "his / her" beds look better, and this can only be done by creating light that brings them to life.

These two very old shots, taken many years ago, may illustrate this. They are tiny jpegs that have suffered in translation but they may still help. As it happens, both remind the viewer that beds are used for more than just sleeping.
08.jpg
This one uses very strong light to emphasise the depth of the quilting, and the model in the background is out of focus
virginal.jpg
And this one uses the same strong lighting for the same reason, and of course the light from the "window" isn't from a real window.
These shots were on film, and SOOC.

I probably have a few thousand others on a hard drive somewhere, but these are what I have at hand.
 
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Never had a problem getting the whole bed in focus at f/11-13.
I didn't say you couldn't. what I was assuming was the OP had stopped down to get the widest DoF he could. It's something inexperienced people do thinking that they "need" to do it. However, to get the whole of a king size bed in focus would need a great deal of space. It's about 2m long, to get that sort of DoF you can't shoot it from just over a metre away.

But I keep forgetting, you know everything, have done everything, and are always right.
 
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The classic reason for noise is usually underexposure.
This ^; or pixel peeping at 100%+; the 80D (and the 5DIV more so) is quite good up to ISO800. The Canons are not as tolerant of underexposure/recovery as some other cameras are...
But that is part of the point to using lighting; so you can use base/native ISO where all performance characteristics are their best (noise/DR/color/etc).
 
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I think we need to see some of the OP's shots to have even a clue where the problem lays.
However Noise is almost inevitably the result of too little illumination.
And occasionally because of very poor processing.
In the situation under discussion I would not expect to see any at all.

It is not something I ever seem to come across these days. but I know it would be a problem if I under exposed and compensated in processing.

It can easily come about because you are shooting in very contrasty lighting conditions, and setting the exposure to save the maximum highlight details so that the mid tones and shadows are in reality badly under exposed.

The answer is to either soften the lighting to a more manageable ratio, or to exposure bracket and fuse more than one exposure. ( I use tuFuse pro. in those situations.)

This was taken on an otherwise noisy Canon 40D and bracketed and fused with TuFuse Pro. The space was lit entirely by the available light.. and manage to hold all the highlights in a natural way, and with out noise in the other tones.


ws620-02-07-09.tif.JPG
 
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I think we need to see some of the OP's shots to have even a clue where the problem lays.
And this is the problem, without far more input from the OP we're just guessing, which is a completely pointless exercise. Let's wait for the promised update . . .
 

LongLensPhotography

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I didn't say you couldn't. what I was assuming was the OP had stopped down to get the widest DoF he could. It's something inexperienced people do thinking that they "need" to do it. However, to get the whole of a king size bed in focus would need a great deal of space. It's about 2m long, to get that sort of DoF you can't shoot it from just over a metre away.

But I keep forgetting, you know everything, have done everything, and are always right.
Rather uncalled for and totally pointless comment. I've done more bed and interior shots for my clients than I wish to remember; how many have you? See, this comes back right at you. Perhaps contain your self to sensible limits next time and keep it clean :)
 

LongLensPhotography

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I think we need to see some of the OP's shots to have even a clue where the problem lays.
However Noise is almost inevitably the result of too little illumination.
And occasionally because of very poor processing.
In the situation under discussion I would not expect to see any at all.

It is not something I ever seem to come across these days. but I know it would be a problem if I under exposed and compensated in processing.

It can easily come about because you are shooting in very contrasty lighting conditions, and setting the exposure to save the maximum highlight details so that the mid tones and shadows are in reality badly under exposed.

The answer is to either soften the lighting to a more manageable ratio, or to exposure bracket and fuse more than one exposure. ( I use tuFuse pro. in those situations.)

This was taken on an otherwise noisy Canon 40D and bracketed and fused with TuFuse Pro. The space was lit entirely by the available light.. and manage to hold all the highlights in a natural way, and with out noise in the other tones.


View attachment 292668
Sorry, I have to say there is almost nothing natural about this rendering. If you have to use heavy global shadow and highlight recovery or specialist Hdr tonemapping programs it's definitely going to look this way. It's all about light and local adjustments + blending where needed.
 
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Sorry, I have to say there is almost nothing natural about this rendering. If you have to use heavy global shadow and highlight recovery or specialist Hdr tonemapping programs it's definitely going to look this way. It's all about light and local adjustments + blending where needed.
You clearly nothing about fusion programs. No tone mapping is involved at all, there is no shadow or highlight recovery involved. It is more about blending, hence no halos around edges and the clean edges around the lights. I can assure you that the image is very close to the actual subject and lighting indeed. This is why I use a lesser known fusion program rather than the more common
HDR ones.
 

LongLensPhotography

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You clearly nothing about fusion programs. No tone mapping is involved at all, there is no shadow or highlight recovery involved. It is more about blending, hence no halos around edges and the clean edges around the lights. I can assure you that the image is very close to the actual subject and lighting indeed. This is why I use a lesser known fusion program rather than the more common
HDR ones.
No, its messed up and would be rejected by any self-respecting agency outright. Sorry. Issue no1. It is overall underexposed across the bulk of the area a minimum of 2 stops, prob. closer to 3. Let me guess the ceiling are white and walls quite light (blue or is it WB??). Issue no 2. The black thing on the wall appears to be radiating light. same is happening everywhere to lesser extent. Issue no3. The shadow around closer light looks very suspicious. Or that's maybe issue 2. Isssue 4. It lacks contrast and punch while colour saturation appears to be boosted too far.
The highlights were recovered well enough, but at the expense of the rest of the exposure. I would go and blend it with an unadulterated correct exposure for the interior. In all fairness all you have to do is just select the window, mirrors and the light... No fancy lesser known software required.
 
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No, its messed up and would be rejected by any self-respecting agency outright. Sorry. Issue no1. It is overall underexposed across the bulk of the area a minimum of 2 stops, prob. closer to 3. Let me guess the ceiling are white and walls quite light (blue or is it WB??). Issue no 2. The black thing on the wall appears to be radiating light. same is happening everywhere to lesser extent. Issue no3. The shadow around closer light looks very suspicious. Or that's maybe issue 2. Isssue 4. It lacks contrast and punch while colour saturation appears to be boosted too far.
The highlights were recovered well enough, but at the expense of the rest of the exposure. I would go and blend it with an unadulterated correct exposure for the interior. In all fairness all you have to do is just select the window, mirrors and the light... No fancy lesser known software required.
I was photographing interiors professionally since the mid fifties onwards.. Including many of the great London stores including Fenwicks, Lliberties and Harrods. I specialised in stores by available light for many years. The above shot is one of many during the build of shielded flats for the retired. All the shared areas are softly decorated and lit with lowish levels of illumination. The only white was the wood work.
The lowish tonality in the image is a true representation of the ambience that was intended by the interior designer and was very well received. and most certainly not rejected. The ambience is on of calm and quiet softness. hence the choice of colours and carpeting.
To have used flash in this shot, or have otherwise brightened it, would have given an entirely different impression, quite different to the reality.

The shadow area around the soft ceiling lights were of course lit by neither the lights themselves, nor by the window back light, but only by such light as was reflected back into those areas.

What you call the black thing was in fact a very shiny grey thing, that picked up and reflected light from the window around the corner to the right. which also created many of the shadows and highlights around the table and chair.

As to software, I use the appropriate software for the Job.[/QUOTE]
 
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Three other shots from the same project.
The entire project amounted to 663 finished images from ground remediation to hand over.

The first required stitching, hence the choice of Recti-perspective projection with straight diagonals and the curved horizontal ceiling tile supports.
ws622-02-07-09.tif.JPG

this also required some trickery to make it possible at all. The reflection in the mirror is from a slightly different viewpoint.

ws631-07-07-09.tif.JPG ws633-14-07-09.tif.JPG
 
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As above; the only way you’re experiencing’noise’ at ISO 200 is by under exposing.
 
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This looks like an overcooked HDR with completely different PP compared to the other images you’ve posted and I concur that under exposure would cause the noise issue with the OP. I think focus stacking would be the solution to your problem and sticking to F8-11 and native iso. (y)

I think we need to see some of the OP's shots to have even a clue where the problem lays.
However Noise is almost inevitably the result of too little illumination.
And occasionally because of very poor processing.
In the situation under discussion I would not expect to see any at all.

It is not something I ever seem to come across these days. but I know it would be a problem if I under exposed and compensated in processing.

It can easily come about because you are shooting in very contrasty lighting conditions, and setting the exposure to save the maximum highlight details so that the mid tones and shadows are in reality badly under exposed.

The answer is to either soften the lighting to a more manageable ratio, or to exposure bracket and fuse more than one exposure. ( I use tuFuse pro. in those situations.)

This was taken on an otherwise noisy Canon 40D and bracketed and fused with TuFuse Pro. The space was lit entirely by the available light.. and manage to hold all the highlights in a natural way, and with out noise in the other tones.


View attachment 292668
 
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Richard King
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Let's go back to basics.

Noise appears when you try to push an under exposed image. Thus get rid of the reasons for under exposure.

Use a tripod, use a low iso, use the f stop you that is artistically right for you, remembering that diffraction kicks in as you stop the lens down (tip.. Check each lens you have and know exactly when)

And. .. Create great light.

At this stage you may hit a few brick walls

1. Dynamic range
2. Depth of focus

Fortunatally, as your on a tripod, and using manual everything, you can take multiple shots at different exposures, and different focus points.

In post processing, be wary of any sort of hdr merge, it always looks awful, instead, learn about luminosity masking
 

LongLensPhotography

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Three other shots from the same project.
The entire project amounted to 663 finished images from ground remediation to hand over.

The first required stitching, hence the choice of Recti-perspective projection with straight diagonals and the curved horizontal ceiling tile supports.
View attachment 292737

this also required some trickery to make it possible at all. The reflection in the mirror is from a slightly different viewpoint.

View attachment 292738 View attachment 292739
I am not sure if its the right thing to diverge a fair bit from the original topic of this thread, but as underexposure is the key subject I shall give this a go one last time.

Maybe your client genuinely asked you to display the space as dark and grim; if so fair enough. I got like 2 or 3 of them over the years.... all the rest hate dark images like plague. These are clearly then not portfolio or example shots. Submit, delete and forget. Instead let's see shining examples if you wish to share. I feel like this was all just baiting to see if we give these a pass.

In general, It is in fact quite acceptable and much preferable to blow some highlights in the lights and even an odd window, particularly if the view outside is truly rubbish, to save the rest of exposure if for whatever reason it can't be perfectly controlled. It won't look super great in more extreme cases but it will be a pass. The point is the general public likely won't notice much difference, and certainly don't expect bright halogen to be 250,250,240 light golden instead of simple pure 255,255,255 white (problem starts when it becomes 230,230,230 grey which is impossible - i see this all the time). In US, the views, and particularly proper views need to be nice and clear; the UK is a fair bit behind the curve.

In the 2nd post there are some obviously badly done shadows in the 2 follow up corridor shots. It's admittedly nowhere near as extreme as the exhibit A, but still similarly underexposed. Besides I bet you there is something really dodgy going on with white balance in the last exhibit due to mixed lights (cool window on the right? and the warm tungsten our fluorescent). Technically, the camera may be seeing it this way, but this is not how anyone walking and talking under the sun would perceive such a scene. You simply can't win if you let them mix as is, but with appropriate exposure it would at least look 10 times softer and then you can do some trickery in photoshop to make it better, but really this should be dealt with before taking the shot. There are many different ways I could think of.

I don't know why it was necessary to show so much ceiling, particularly with that massive lens artefact at the top. Crop it out, step back and zoom in, change height, etc. Nobody cares about so much ceiling - that is the point. Making it look round is confusing at best for the general public.

Bathroom shot is not too exciting and nothing too major or very difficult is going on. The mirror is rather odd, but certainly the toilet seat is missing something extremely important (an odd cost saving measure? or just broken off?). Certainly not one to keep as an example, particularly for US clients.
 
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I am not sure if its the right thing to diverge a fair bit from the original topic of this thread, but as underexposure is the key subject I shall give this a go one last time.

Maybe your client genuinely asked you to display the space as dark and grim; if so fair enough. I got like 2 or 3 of them over the years.... all the rest hate dark images like plague. These are clearly then not portfolio or example shots. Submit, delete and forget. Instead let's see shining examples if you wish to share. I feel like this was all just baiting to see if we give these a pass.

In general, It is in fact quite acceptable and much preferable to blow some highlights in the lights and even an odd window, particularly if the view outside is truly rubbish, to save the rest of exposure if for whatever reason it can't be perfectly controlled. It won't look super great in more extreme cases but it will be a pass. The point is the general public likely won't notice much difference, and certainly don't expect bright halogen to be 250,250,240 light golden instead of simple pure 255,255,255 white (problem starts when it becomes 230,230,230 grey which is impossible - i see this all the time). In US, the views, and particularly proper views need to be nice and clear; the UK is a fair bit behind the curve.

In the 2nd post there are some obviously badly done shadows in the 2 follow up corridor shots. It's admittedly nowhere near as extreme as the exhibit A, but still similarly underexposed. Besides I bet you there is something really dodgy going on with white balance in the last exhibit due to mixed lights (cool window on the right? and the warm tungsten our fluorescent). Technically, the camera may be seeing it this way, but this is not how anyone walking and talking under the sun would perceive such a scene. You simply can't win if you let them mix as is, but with appropriate exposure it would at least look 10 times softer and then you can do some trickery in photoshop to make it better, but really this should be dealt with before taking the shot. There are many different ways I could think of.

I don't know why it was necessary to show so much ceiling, particularly with that massive lens artefact at the top. Crop it out, step back and zoom in, change height, etc. Nobody cares about so much ceiling - that is the point. Making it look round is confusing at best for the general public.

Bathroom shot is not too exciting and nothing too major or very difficult is going on. The mirror is rather odd, but certainly the toilet seat is missing something extremely important (an odd cost saving measure? or just broken off?). Certainly not one to keep as an example, particularly for US clients.
I am sure that American and British tastes differ in these matters. Mixed lighting is almost never seen as a problem here. Nor are whites alwas brightened. Lower key is often seen as more fashionable.
That is the way our public toilets usually are. They do not have covers for hygiene concerns. And the seats are often open fronted.
 
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This is an example of what my boss wants. These are outsourced images for our site. We want extremely bright, super sharp photos, low grain but I feel that the size of the room is a big factor as well considering we cant move the lights around much (again working in a townhouse.) These were shot in a studio. How would I achieve this?
 

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