My website has a bias toward editorial work, and it’s true that this represents the core: I’ve been offering features to the home-interest titles for a long time, sourcing homes myself and doing the full package (usually) of words and images. But I like to remind potential clients that it’s not all I do. I’ve shot rather a lot of construction work, for example, including products on building sites; I shoot people and location products for PR; and I cover interiors – industrial, commercial and domestic – for publicity and sales purposes too.
Recently I was commissioned to shoot a radically reworked apartment in London W2, initially for advertising its rental though eventually it might be sold. I took a rather different approach from an editorial shoot, since the requirements are different. UK home interest titles, for instance, invariably want interiors lit by daylight only, with no room lighting on.
This means that one shoots using natural daylight entering through the windows, plus of course carefully positioned flash calculated to fill shadows without being at all obvious. Electronic flash is the same colour as daylight. Interiors appear to a camera like a cave otherwise, with brilliant light at the windows but dark shadows in the far corners. Some photographers, especially in the US, say you can do this without flash now, using something called HDR – a method of blending different exposures in Photoshop. I don’t think this technique has matured, and most of the results look artificial, unpleasing, or downright weird…
However, with a property being either rented out or sold, the room lighting is an attribute to be highlighted, so it needs to be shown working. This creates some minor technical challenges since it has a different colour balance compared with daylight – and the various forms of room lighting (traditional tungsten, fluorescent, LEDs and so on) all have their own distinct appearance. A degree of ambient lighting “mood” needs to be introduced, whereas magazine requirements are for light, bright, sunny daylight. A magazine feature on a super interior will rarely – if at all – use close-up details, but again, for that interior to be sold to potential renters & buyers, some furnishing details need to be shown – and styling details can be shown close, in the foreground perhaps.
The process of shooting an interior for commercial purposes is just as subtle in its interpretation as doing an editorial interior shoot. But it’s different. I’ve done similar shoots on other urban apartments, country cottages, and exotic foreign homes. Think about the added value you get when you commission specialist photography to help sell that property.