Have you ever flipped through an edition of a House Beautiful magazine or the latest Pottery Barn catalogue and been mesmerized by the picture of a particular space? Did it start you daydreaming about how you would design or decorate such a room in your own home? Well I can assure you that you are not alone in your daydreaming. Many people, including myself, gain inspiration from beautiful photos of well-appointed homes.
Having worked on multiple photo shoots during the past 30 years, I thought it would be interesting to give you a “behind the scenes” look at the collaboration that happens between an interior designer and photographer in order to achieve the picture perfect photos that you see.
As an interior designer I’m most interested in working with a photographer who can appreciate the vision that my client and I had for the space. By sharing our vision and inspiration with the photographer, he gains a better sense of where to focus his lens and how best to tell the story of the room.
After we reach an understanding of the functionality of the space, we begin brainstorming about what we’ll need to dress the room. This means preparing the room for “photo day.” For example, if we are shooting photos of a dining room (like we did for my most recent client shoot) then we need to decide how we will set the table, what flowers or natural elements we’ll use in the room and whether we need any other elements that will help bring the room, and the pictures to life. Once we decide how the room will be dressed we begin purchasing the elements we need and working on any other details that will ensure that the room will be picture-perfect ready for photo day.
Not surprisingly, photo day is usually the busiest, longest day for everyone involved—designer, photographer, and client. We often start early in the morning dressing the room, and we can work well into the evening depending on lightening. Waiting for the sun to be in just the right spot so we can fully capture the warmth of the room is something we’ve done many times. But photo day is also the most rewarding because it is the day I get to see my design come to life and I almost always gain a better understanding of how the room will look and feel to others as they enter the space. It also often turns out to be an entertaining and fun day for my clients who get to see their space look its very best.