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Better Interior Design Photography for Interior Designers


Liz Carpenter Interiors

Project Date

January 18, 2024


Interior Design


Wilmington, NC

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We're Going Back to the Basics!

Better Interior Design Photography for Interior Designers

Our team had the privilege to photograph this kitchen remodel for the team over at Liz Carpenter Interiors.

This shoot was a blast!

For starters, we went back to the basics. 

In the residential photography world, the norm is MORE, MORE, MORE. 

But more does not always equal best.

So… Rather than trying to fit the most amount of photos possible in a shoot, we spent more time focused on creativity and precision.

This was done through two of our foundational principles: composition and lighting. 


While designers are trained to know the ideal placement for elements within a space, that is all thrown out when you bring a camera into the mix.

Why is this?

The reason is this: the camera sees space and elements differently than our eye.

Our eyes see and adjust automatically to make sense of what we see; our cameras do not. 

The camera tries to take a 3D experience and communicate it in a 2D format. 

So… What does this all mean?

It meant that we spent a good amount of time shifting things, sometimes millimeters, to get it to look proportionate and not obviously distorted in the picture.


The other thing that made this shoot fun was the challenges we faced with exterior lighting coming in.

Take the image below, for example.

A completely different image from the image above, right?

Yes, this is an exaggerated image.

But what this image reveals are all of the colors that made it into my photo, which the eye (again) compensates for.

And as a designer, I bet one of your biggest complaints with photographers is that they didn’t get the color of the tile, paint, wallpaper, etc., right. 

This is due in large part to the limitation of HDR photography- a common mode of real estate photography, and a conversation for another post.

HDR Photography is when the photographer takes a series of natural light images (ambient) and blends them together. 

HDR is great for trying to light a scene evenly but not for avoiding the color spill you see in the image above (which can be even more of a problem when you start adding lights like overhead lights, lamps, etc.) 

This was the case for us when we got to the double ovens. We realized we needed more control.

So… How did we fix this?

We used our own light source (i.e., a flash) to overpower the light in a room. 

When the client saw the result, we went back and reshot a couple of images the same way.

Take these two pictures above, for example.

In the natural light picture of Liz, you will notice that the chairs and the neighborhood are yellowish.  And if you look close enough, you may even see hints of green.

However, when you look at the image to the right, you will notice a few things: 

  • More accurate colors
  • More richness of color
  • More texture brought out
  • More contrast introduced, creating depth 
  • More overall sharpness


And the benefits can go on a few more lines. 

Here is another example where the blue light and its shape coming in from outside was not working with us.

So to fix this, we used a flash to get rid of the colorcast and create a more even shape.

What Does All of This Mean?

After reviewing the set, we agreed that we should bring flash photography back into our production workflow for Architect and Interior Design photography. 

I started this way but abandoned it for the fast-food style of photography.

But our designers deserve more. They deserve better!

HDR has its place.

But when control and precision are essential, there is no other way than to return to these lighting and composition basics.


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