UNDERSTAND THE “JOB” THAT YOU NEED THESE IMAGES TO DO.
I can’t emphasize how important it is to align your expectations with your photographer. Not just the obvious – like how many rooms you want to photograph – but also the job that these images need to do. Before reaching out to photographers it’s important to be intentional about why you’re photographing your project. If you don’t know why you’re shooting it, give it some real consideration. Maybe you need an image library for your website to show the completed project or you might be looking for content for your firm’s social platforms. Maybe you’re hoping this project will land in an editorial publication. All of these are valid reasons to photograph your work but these are asking the images to do 3 separate jobs.
If you’re hoping to pitch the images to a publication, there is a different perspective to the photoshoot with more of a storytelling narrative.
For social, there might be a need for more intimate vignettes. On the other hand, your client may want to see examples of full rooms, etc. Knowing the ‘work’ that these images need to do greatly improves the quality of what gets captured on the day of your shoot.
SET REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR SHOOT.
If I could tell designers just one thing it would be to have a reasonable understanding of what can be accomplished in a single shoot day. I’ve found that at every end of the spectrum, photoshoots are always a BIG investment for designers. What comes with that is the desire to get as much out of the investment as possible. Be careful not to fall into the trap of “more is more”. Stacking too many rooms on the shot list often results in less opportunity for creativity. Certainly if you’re rushed on the shoot day it will show up in the work. I’ve made this mistake the hard way. Saying “yes” to too much on the shot list and in the end, it just isn’t the best way to approach to making the most stunning work.
My rule of thumb is that each room will take on average one hour, this means 8 or less rooms per day. If the home is more than 8 “spaces” and you feel you MUST capture them all, then make it a 2 days shoot. Sometimes just 1 incredible image can tell the entire story of a space. Keeping your shot list and timeline reasonable will leave room for spontaneity and landing more hero images throughout.
“BEHIND THE SCENES”
SCOUT THE LOCATION WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER AHEAD OF TIME.
I always recommend doing an in-person location scout at the home with the designer prior to the shoot. This gives us a chance to iron out any details together and walk through the shot list. Your photographer will have a chance to see the light in the space at that particular time of year and it gives them an opportunity to make some styling suggestions and can help the designer put together their list of styling items.
Which reminds me… Always, always, always style your space before the day of the shoot. Attempting to style for a photoshoot on the same day will lead to chaos and bottlenecks. Having the styling 90% dialed will give your shoot day more room for creativity instead of wasting time steaming sheets.
REMEMBER THAT EACH SHOOT IS A COLLABORATION.
If you’ve hired a photographer who’s worth their salt, they will be hired to bring their own perspective to your project. I like to think of photographing interiors as a real time creative collaboration between designer & photographer. My job is not only to accurately document a 3D space onto a 2D surface but more so, to translate it so the viewer can actually feel the space.
That translation needs time to come to life. Give your photographer room to create & also be clear in communicating if something isn’t coming together the way you expected.
Each space will have physical constraints that may limit the possibility to achieve a particular shot. It’s best to communicate in real time to understand what can/can’t be achieved so no one is surprised later on. On my shoots, there is always a level of play & creative problem solving throughout the day.
Luckily beautiful results often come out of those constraints that make the images all the better.