Vic Wahby Photography
Interiors, architectural, commercial photos

Getting The Most From Your Shoot - Pt. I

Interior designers can prepare for their photo session in more ways than meet the eye.  In this first part of a three part series, photographer Vic Wahby describes techniques to determine ideal shot sequence, how windows should render, and more.

Getting The Most from Your Shoot - Part I

AH King George Rd 2005 web res.jpg

Getting The Most From Your Shoot

By Vic Wahby

This article is the first of a series where, as a photographer, I provide info intended to help interior designers get the most from their paid professional photo sessions and resulting images. 

In an Ideal World=

The best preparation is to have your photographer preview all project rooms to shoot with you in advance for reasons mentioned below.  Due to various factors, however, I’ll assume for the rest of this article that it just isn’t happening.  Still, you can work more effectively and synergistically with your photographer then you may have imagined -- and the results will show.

Direct or indirect, it’s difficult to overestimate the impact sunlight will have on your photos.  And, you may already have a feel for what time of day the room looks best. There’s a simple way to decide, and the results are well worth the effort.

Just take a snap on your phone of each room every few hours and note the time of day. Try to use the perspective you think the finished photo will be taken from.  You may be surprised how much the personality of the room changes as the sun moves. If your shoot is a half-day session, you can at least determine if morning or afternoon timing is preferred, and maybe the optimal time to shoot.

The usual practice of a photographer scouting the home and sequencing the shots upon first visit, and without previous consideration of the sun’s path, is no match for what you can determine with your phone snaps in advance. It’s far better, and simple enough, to know the ideal time to photograph each room in advance.

Look Out=
Virtually every room has windows, and how they appear strongly impacts the final photo. I’m often asked if I want blinds up or down. First, consider how much of the exterior view you really want to see and make it known. If it’s a room with a view, then we don’t want to obscure it. If not, treatments can be positioned to admit light, catch it, or block it. Bright windows, implying abundant natural light, are often ideal for interior design photos. (“Blown out” pitch white windows are a common photographic mistake and are not very attractive). To expedite the making of each picture on a long shot list, set the window treatments in advance, and according to how much exterior view you want. 

Lamps, Ceiling Lights, and other Illuminating Thoughts=
Consider supplemental room and task lighting next on your prep list. It’s hard to find a photo in Architectural Digest with room lights on.  Why is that?  It’s often our habit to turn them on when entering a room, as we’re most comfortable at a certain light level. Cameras, however, view things differently.  You could leave the decision to your photographer, but consider this: If rooms are photographed with abundant natural light, (as can be accomplished using the above technique), why do lights need to be turned on at all?

Turning on lights draws attention to them, and what they illuminate, often detracting attention from the overall design. Lights also change the mood. Natural light, no matter how dim, will illuminate your design attractively.  Remember, the camera can render the room as bright as necessary with a longer exposure, so don’t worry if the room looks dark – We can fix that. Knowing if you prefer lights on or off, in advance, helps ensure the mood and tone is set to complement your design and improve the final image.  

In Part 2, The Photographer Will See You Now, we’ll cover strategies to get the most out of working with your photographer while shooting.