May 6, 2015

10 Styling Tips for Photographing Your Home

by Liz Lynch

For interior designers looking to build their portfolio or casual decorators who just wants to share their home décor, taking beautiful interior photos is of the utmost importance. But capturing these images isn’t as easy as setting up a camera and shooting; there are several factors to consider when styling a space and composing a photo. If you’re looking to document your work, read through the below tips and pointers to ensure your home looks its absolute best, and click on each photo to see each MyDomaine-styled space in full!

A perfectly polished space that is too pristine often feels forced and unnatural. When taking photos, it's perfectly fine to have some pillows unfluffed, a throw randomly tossed over the corner of a sofa, or a slightly crooked tablecloth. This way, the image will feel more real than contrived.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, turning all the lights on when photographing a space doesn’t brighten it up; it just washes it out. Overhead and accent lighting tends to cast a warm glow that, while lovely in life, doesn’t translate well in images. The light drenches a space in a yellow hue and creates glares you don’t want in the final photos. If the space feels dark, you can always brighten up the images after the shoot using computer programs like Photoshop.

Apparatus Studio Cloud Fixture ($4150 and up)

No need to tidy up every last space when photographing your home. Leave a few random items scattered around to make it, you know, look like someone actually lives there. A stack of haphazard magazines with a mug on a table or a pair of shoes at the foot of the bed lends your photos a realistic and relatable touch.

Though you may be tempted to go all-out with the flower arrangements you place around the house, sometimes less can be more. A small bud vase on a dresser or simple bouquet on a nightstand may be all you need to add life and vitality to your photo. Additionally, when out shopping for flowers for your shoot, consider the colors of the blooms you choose carefully. Opt for hues that will stand out (think pink roses in a gray and black room) or plant life that will enhance a room’s existing colors, like some simple greenery in a dining room with emerald drapery.

Hollywood at Home Zig Zag Indian Bedcover ($1810)

When shooting rooms with windows, reflective surfaces, or framed artwork behind glass, pay attention to what you see coming through in the reflections. You want to showcase your art, not capture an image of yourself reflected in glass. Have a friend hold up a sheet to block whatever light is coming in and causing the reflection so that you can focus on the subject and not the unintended visuals.

Sur la Table White Marble Mortar & Pestle ($17)

When looking through your camera, double-check the photo’s vertical lines—like bookshelves, window frames, and doors—are in fact straight rather than skewed and distorted. The same goes for horizontal lines like crown molding or curtain rods.

Even though a space looks full and dynamic in real life, it may come across as empty or even crowded when viewed through a camera lens. Alternatively, you may be composing a gorgeous shot, but a pesky coffee table corner keeps getting in the way. Don’t hesitate to move items around and reposition pieces to create a compelling photo. In this room, a small side table placed in front of the nightstand adds another layer to the design while offering the perfect place to position a container of scene-stealing blossoming branches.

West Elm Hex Side Table ($179)

A photograph taken straight on minimizes the possibility of distortion and results in a more harmonious composition. Though this can be tricky in small spaces or oddly shaped rooms, straight photos tend to be more visually compelling, so feel free to move furniture around to make room for the shot.

Look at the image as a whole when shooting, and don’t just concentrate on the main subjects and objects. Often little empty spots may not be obvious in real life but can be glaring holes in a photograph. In this space, a small waste bin is placed just to the right of the nightstand to add a little color and fill a void. When photographing kitchens, be on the lookout for empty spots on back counters, and when capturing bookshelves, keep an eye out for any obvious holes that need filling with an accessory or plant.

1stdibs Pair of Sky Blue Glass Lamps by Holmegaard ($4800)

When taking interior photos, you should concentrate on the frame of the shot and the resulting image, not what the space looks like to your eye in real life. Sometimes what’s happening outside the frame may look off, but once you see the resulting image, it all comes together. Here, a tree was moved in so that it was placed right behind the lounge chair. Though the placement was odd and unrealistic in life, the move allowed for a welcome peek of life and vibrant green in the resulting photo.

Couture Peanut Ribbed Glossy White Accent Lamp ($214)

Do you have any photo styling tips for interiors? Share with us below!