If a picture says a thousand words, a perfect photograph could tell an awful lot about your work as a designer.
We would usually recommend that you engage a professional designer to photograph your best projects – an investment in a suite of high-quality images for award entries, website and social media promotion will always pay off. But if doing so is proving impossible right now, we’ve got a few tips to help you DIY some (almost) perfect pics.
Top Five Tips for Perfect Pics
1. Get the Gear
A smartphone helps to make photography convenient, and the spontaneous nature of a phone-captured snap is often perfect for a social media platform. When you’re collating a website gallery, however, you’ll need to up the ante. If engaging a professional photographer is out of the question, investing in a decent camera will be money well spent. You’ll need a camera that will allow you to control exposure, and a good quality wide-angle lens to capture the overall interior. A tripod is a must-have, too (for an SLR or smartphone): no matter how steady a hand you think you have, you don’t, and you’ll end up with blurry images without this handy tool.
2. Consider the Outcome
What story are you hoping to tell with your photographs? What is it you are trying to capture, or what is the emotion you are trying to evoke? What do you want to tell viewers about your design style, and how can you best showcase it? Knowing the intention or outcome of your photos will help you when it comes to staging the room and choosing the best angles and perspective.
3. Set the Scene
When staging a room for photographing, remember that you want the interior to look lived in – not vacant (nothing says vacant like an empty fridge cavity!), but not cluttered (exposed wastebaskets, telephones excessive cords etc. are distracting). Tasteful accent pieces – a proportionately sized floral arrangement, a cheese platter and/or semi-filled wine glass – will add to the feeling of the room without grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons. In bedrooms, remove clutter from bedside tables (a lamp and book are sufficient) and ensure the bed is perfectly made. In the bathroom, be wary of what is reflected in the mirror, and avoid showing off the toilet! Ensure shower screens are perfectly clean, and towels are complementary in colour.
4. Lighten Up
The human eye is capable of adjusting to almost any light temperature, whether it’s the warm yellow of a halogen, the crisp white of a cool LED, or the dull green of a fluorescent. A camera, on the other hand, is not so clever. When it comes to interior photography, natural light is the best option, so as a general rule, turn all the lights off. If the light coming through the window is insufficient, slow down the shutter speed to allow for a long exposure (this is when a tripod will come in particularly handy) – your camera will be able to pick up whatever light exists in the room, and you will be able to avoid using artificial light or your camera’s flash, which often has ghastly results.
It should be noted that direct sunlight can be too harsh – ambient light is what you’re after. If necessary, use blinds or curtains to diffuse the light.
5.Angles & Perspective
Consider the room you are photographing from all angles. If you need to move items to get the best angle (furniture, pot plants, etc.) – do so! If you need to photograph the room from an adjoining space – through a door or opening – no one will know but you. Take photos of the overall area, and zoom in for vignette-style details.
If you’re already handy with a camera, you may have some other tips to share…? If you do, feel free to add your two cents’ worth below – your fellow designers will appreciate it!