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David Livingston: The best times to shoot an interior and an exterior are eastside in the morning, and westside in the afternoon. The north and south sides can simply be shot whenever the light is bright. For your lighting, try to limit the extreme areas that are too dark or too bright. You might need to add light to the dark areas, and pull the drapes in for some bright areas, or just wait around until the light is more even in that room.
Michal Venera: Shoot at dusk, or at dawn. You want the light to be soft — it makes the shots more flattering, and it softens the exterior. You want to try to match the exterior and interior light as much as possible. Early evening or late afternoon is the ideal time to shoot an interior or exterior. After sunset can also be fun for an exterior if you're shooting an area with porch lights or other outdoor lighting.
David Churchill: For staging, I try to keep things fairly natural looking and not too staged, as I find it easy for things to look corny when overdone. Probably the best advice I have been given with staging is: "If in doubt leave it out." I do like to have people in shots too, again, where it feels natural and not too staged. I think this adds another dimension to the image and gives scale and depth. As much as possible, I will try to catch people unawares. This particular photo was an area of Santa Monica with many tracks into the hills, which is ideal for horse riding. So I waited until someone came by, and captured them just at the right moment.
Michal Venera: You really want to have a wide selection of shots, so take more than you normally would. Experiment with all sorts of angles and frames so there are a lot to choose from. When you're shooting an interior, deciding whether or not to include people or animals is usually the decision of the client. If you do opt to include people in your shots, it always looks better and is easier if you're not shooting them straight on. If you get a side or profile view, it's a bit better, and doesn't draw attention to the person. You want the focus to be on the interiors. If you don't want to include people, or if the client doesn't want you to, it's always nice to create the illusion that the space is lived in — even if it isn't. A half glass of water or something similar can help you do that without adding people.