We all want our design portfolios to be worthy of Architectural Digest. And, of course, the largest contributing factor to a stunning interior shot is a stellar interior design job. But the icing on the cake is in the styling and photo editing. Today on the blog, we’re revealing seven little secrets designers, stylists, and photo editors use to capture that magazine-ready look. So whether you’re a designer prepping your portfolio or you’re just working to create an enviable Instagram feed, read on for a behind-the-scenes scoop on making interior design photos look fabulous.
1. Double Stuffed Bedding
Doing a bedroom photoshoot? Ever wonder how some beds manage to look impossibly cozy? One easy trick is to sneak an additional down comforter underneath the bedding you already have in place for an extra layer of “plump and fluff.” It’s a small move, but it’ll create a dreamy and ultra-comfy look that’ll catch the eye. We also wrap pillow inserts in extra batting to make them look super full and rotund. Fluff your pillows out and add a nice chop down the middle, and you’re all set.
2. Clean Walls
Grab your nearest shelter magazine, and take a look at the cover. We’ll make a bet that you won’t find any light switches, outlets, air vents, or other distracting eyesores. Have a photo editor (or DIY) strip out all of the ordinary and “unattractive” things on your walls. With a simple Photoshop cleanup, you can achieve that clean, uncluttered look in any room you photograph. Just take a look at the before and after above!
3. Corrected Colors
If you work in interiors, you know that the trickiest aspect of getting a great photos is the lighting. Depending on reflections, shadows, natural sunlight and other lighting factors, the colors and brightness of a space can often look distorted. Once we get our first round of photos, we typically spend some time correcting the colors of paint and furniture to more accurately depict their real colors. There are also some times when we don’t like the color or pattern of something, and we’ll completely alter the color altogether. And almost always, we’ll brighten the image just a few decibels to give it that light, bright, and sun-filled look.
4. Nothing Plugged In
We love our lighting selection at Kathy Kuo Home, and if you’ve read our lighting guide, you’ll know that we advocate for multiple sources of light in a room, from task lighting to accent lights to a large chandelier. But when styling a room, sometimes the placement for a lamp looks best in an area far from any actual outlets. In fact, turning lights on often negatively effects the lighting of a space for photography. So most prop lamps aren’t plugged in, and any cords are hidden from sight (and sometimes Photoshopped out from the final image if need be).
5. That View!
A little secret about all of the gorgeous homes you read about in the shelter magazines: the crazy beautiful views are almost always digitally altered. In reality, the view may be the wrong season or have the wrong weather (have you ever seen an editorial photo of a house with a thunderstorm going on outside through the windows?). And sometimes the view just isn’t as inspiring as the home itself, so we’ll place in a location that seems fitting. Photographing rooms with mirrors can also be tricky because there’s often a photographer or an undesirable background in the reflection. So we also use photo editing to place in a clean and appealing view.
6. No Wrinkles
If your home doesn’t look as picture perfect as the homes in magazines, don’t fret. Stylists spend hours steaming drapery, throw pillows, chair skirts, sheets, etc. all for that one moment the camera flashes. A real, lived-in home does not look like a magazine. That’s just the facts.
Cheating gets you nowhere in life…unless it’s getting you that perfect photo. When you’re taking a picture, it’s important to remember that although you might be seeing everything, your audience is only going to see what’s in the frame. Cheat chairs slightly inward to face the camera. Move furniture to appear centered or aligned in the shot, even though it might not be the actual center of the room. And if we have a piece of decor like a big bowl or tray, we often stuff the bottom of the vessel with spare newspaper or styrofoam to prop up the flowers or whatever decor is inside. In short, whatever the camera can’t see… doesn’t hurt.
What tricks do you use when photographing your home or design work? Start a conversation in the comments below!