Interior Design Shoot

Client: Wendy Kleiner – All Things Interior & Design/Ambiant Home
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

The process of creating a photograph is a series of refinements, and having more than one pair of eyes available during this process really helps. For this blog post I will be going over a shoot I did with Interior Designer, Wendy Kleiner.

A beautifully designed, spacious living room is the first thing you see when entering the home from the front door.

A beautifully designed, spacious living room is the first thing you see when entering the home from the front door.

The funny thing about photography is that there is no formula when it comes to photographing a particular subject. For example you may assume that photographing one room is just like photographing any other room. However, because each room is different, many adjustments will need to be made in order to make that particularly room look its best.

When it comes to the process of photography I like to explain to my clients that photography is like a jigsaw puzzle. First you need to have a completed reference image so you know the goal you’re working towards. This could be an image in your head, a sketch, or some sort of inspirational reference like a painting or old photograph.

Next you need to ensure you have all the necessary pieces. These pieces are the photography equipment such as the lights and the proper lens as well as any necessary props that may appear in the image.

Then as you assemble the pieces you need to make sure they’re in the correct location and have the correct orientation. For example the use of a wide-angle lens instead of a normal lens. Or the finding the best position for the flashes.

Like most projects, or jigsaw puzzles for that matter, having a second set of eyes really helps the process. And when that second set of eyes belongs to another creative person, the whole process becomes much easier and as a bonus, more enjoyable.

I’ve been very fortunate to have great clients, and Wendy is no different. She and I worked together to ensure that her goals were met and that we were both happy with the results of each photograph. As we went from room to room we took our time to carefully craft each photograph with care. Reviewing every item in the scene. Tweaking the composition. Adjusting the lighting. And moving items in and out of the scene.

As you might expect, this process takes a good amount of time, but the end results are worth it. Below are some images from the shoot with a brief explanation of my though process.

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Initially I thought that photographing a large room with big windows would be fairly easy, however I was wrong. I assumed that the large windows would let in plenty of soft, even light. As it turned out, they didn’t. I needed to use my strobes to bring up the ambient light and fill in deep shadows.

Because the room was so large it proved difficult to achieve even illumination with my strobes. I carefully positioned them in a way that I could bounce light off the ceiling. Even this needed to be done very carefully so that I didn’t create bight spots on the ceiling or any unusual shadows in the room.

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In this scene there was a large shiny grill just outside that wasn’t able to be moved due to a permanent gas line. As a result, I chose to let the outside light be somewhat overexposed so that I didn’t draw attention to the grill.

In order to give the viewer a sense of location, Wendy and I decided to included the edge of the kitchen island. We added the wine and cheese to the scene to create more of a relaxing mood.

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The two images of the dining room are intended to be presented together. An overall view of the space and a closeup of the centerpiece. Wendy carefully positioned the chair closest to the camera in order to show the fabric and pillow. We carefully positioned the center piece in such a way that it was framed by the window behind it for the overall view.

When we did the close up view, we carefully positioned the camera to show a little bit of the chandelier and repositioned the centerpiece to suite this particular composition.

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The office is much bigger than what’s shown in the image, however there wasn’t a composition that looked good when trying to show the entire space. So instead, we decided to focus on this area.

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Like the dining room, these two images of the upstairs landing are meant to be paired together. An overall view and a more intimate view.

For the overall view I decided to let the windows overexpose because I felt the view outside detracted from the photograph. I also really like the mood created by the bright light spilling into the room.

For the closeup view I wanted to get close enough for the viewer to be able to see details in the fabric on the chairs and pillows. The window light provided the majority of the light for the scene, however I need need to use flashes in order to brighten the shadows just a bit.