How to Get Photos When You're Just Starting Out

How to Get Photos When You're Just Starting Out

How do you get project photos without clients?  How can you get clients without project photos?

Setting up a website is a bit of a chicken & the egg situation when you are just starting your business.  You know a website is super important, but you may put it off because you don't have any portfolio images to display, but it is also harder to get clients without a proper website.

So should you put your website up without photos or should you try to get clients so you have projects to show on your website?

My advice is to…

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How to Get Published In Shelter Magazine

How to Get Published In Shelter Magazine

I met Lisa Mowry several years ago when I lived in Atlanta and she helped me get published.  She is a great person to ask about getting published because she works with multiple magazines.  In the 27 years she has worked for home & garden magazines, Lisa has produced more than 1,000 features for national and local magazines.

She is the Atlanta editor for such well-known publications as Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home and Decor, as well as a dozen more of BH&G’s special interest magazines...titles such as Cottage Style, Elegant Homes and Beautiful Kitchens & Baths. Lisa also serves as the homes editor for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME and has been a contributing writer for Atlanta Magazine for 20 years.

Her many other writing credits include Southern Living, Woman’s Day, Styleblueprint, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Metropolitan Home.  So you can understand why I asked her to help answer your "how to get published" questions.  

When should a designer submit projects?

In theory, nobody is ever really done with a house, but editors do need 

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Photographing Interior Design: Interview with Kat Alves

Photographing Interior Design: Interview with Kat Alves

This week I am speaking with Kat Alves, a talented freelance interiors and architectural photographer for both commercial and residential spaces.  I was first introduced to Kat when I did Amy Aswell's Real Designer feature since she photographs all of Amy's work.  

Kat is a California native with a degree in Photography and Design Studies from San Francisco State University.  She followed that up with a Certificate in Interior Design from UC Berkeley.  So she knows a bit about photographing interiors.  Her photography showcases modern, fresh design with natural light.  Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Dwell Magazine and Luxury Home Magazine.  

Below, Kat shares with us the inside scoop on working with a professional photographer: 

What is the benefit of hiring a professional photographer to photograph interiors?  

To make your project shine and be able to present your work to the world in its best light.  Since most homes are private, it is very difficult for prospective clients and others to view all the hard work of interior design. Photos are the key to getting

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6 Tips for Better Interiors Photos

6 Tips for Better Interiors Photos

When I first started my business phones had just begun to come with cameras.  There wasn't a way to document your life and share it like there is now.  It was a much slower time.  There wasn't the pressure that there is today to create magazine-worthy images for your life and your business. 

C'est la vie.

So what are you supposed to do now that your photography skills haven't developed as quickly as technology?

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photographing interiors by capella kincheloe interior design phoenix There is a difference between photographing interiors and photographing people, nature, or even interiors for real estate.  The first professional shoot I was on, I had just started with Michael Smith, I had never been to the house, had never met the homeowner, it was days before Christmas with a decorated house and a family that was packing for a two-week safari.  They left me at the house to help the photographer and after breaking a decorative bulb taking down the decorations and having to move much of the homeowners packing around I didn't endear myself to the client.  Lucky it was just a scouting shoot, which eventually became this spread in House Beautiful.  

I've attended many more interior photo shoots since then, including this one for Architectural Digest.  But they all start long before the flowers arrive and camera arrive.

First, you must decide what you are going to photograph and when is the best time of day to photograph.  Do you want a lot of natural light?  Does the room get blown out early in the morning?  Is the bedroom only going to be light if you use lamps after 4pm?  Does the sunset at 5 or 9?  What rooms are going to be photographed?  What angles?  Do you need a ladder?  Should you make room in the closet for the photographer to squeeze into to get the best angle or the widest shot?  Will you need extra lighting equipment?

(In the title photograph the photographer is covering the skylight - which eventually they went on the roof to cover more thoroughly.)

flower prep for industrial loft photoshoot by capella kincheloe interior designflower prep

After these decisions are made, I typically like to start photographing around 10am.  I find I like bright interiors and this seems to provide the best natural light.  So a few hours before, I bring additional props and flowers.  Sometimes if the shoot is more extensive, furniture will be moved in or out of the home to get show the home at its best.  The flowers should be fresh, but not so fresh that they haven't opened yet.  Sourcing flowers, additional props, and furniture to complete the styled shoot is sometimes done by an additional stylist or the designer depending on how big the shoot is.

Paradise Valley Bachelor Pad Kitchen 01with just two windows in this kitchen/living room we had to play with the light and shades

Floors should be vacuumed, shelves dusted, light bulbs replaced, wax removed from candlesticks, surfaces cleaned of streaks, curtains steamed, pillows fluffed, bed linens smoothed, wires tied to table legs or unplugged entirely, lampshade seams face the wall, rugs stretched.  The camera will see everything.

Once the house looks good, the light is right, and the camera and equipment is set up, you can start taking photos.  But usually these are just test photos - to see how the bowl looks on the table or to see if that chair works in the shot, if the door should be open or closed.  The lens "sees" different from the eye, so what looks good in person may not look right in photos.

Chairs are moved abnormally close to the bed.  Flower heads are twisted, windows covered to prevent weird shadows or shades opened.  Books moved a millimeter, the bowl replaced with a paperweight, pillows manipulated, a cup of coffee casually placed on the table and then pushed left an inch, twist the handle just so.  All while taking several photos in between each adjustment to see progress.  You can imagine that each shot can take 30+ minutes and when you are taking a couple of angles of each room - time adds up.  Shooting a large house can easily eat up 2 days or more.  And then there is post-production.