WATCH: Interior Photography Rules Stylists and Photographers Want You to Know

Producing interior photography is one the largest line items in a design firm’s budget—and for good reason, said industry-leading photographer Douglas Friedman in a recent AD PRO Session uncovering the ins and outs of project photography shoots. “You spend so much time on a project, the last place you want to cut a corner is in the photography because that’s your calling card,” shared Friedman. “That’s going to sell you for the next project and everything after that.”

Capturing your work at its best starts with picking the best team of creatives to make it happen. In addition to Friedman, AD’s global visuals director, Michael Shome, was joined by top interior stylist Dorcia Kelley on the virtual panel to discuss what the photography specialists want interior designers and architects to know before going into a project photoshoot.

AD global visuals director Michael Shome

Photo: Gabrielle Langdon

Interior stylist Dorcia Kelley

Photography courtesy Dorcia Kelley

From the onset, that means keeping a few considerations in mind when selecting the best team of creatives with whom to collaborate. “Every photographer sees the world in a different way, and you have to find the vibe that works for you.” said Friedman, noting that all photographers have different preferences for light, scale, and intended effects. “Then you have to trust the team that you hire to do their job…as a designer, it’s almost your job to step back at the point of photography and let [them] see your vision through.”

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Kelley chimed in to note the importance of the communication before the shoot day. “When people are hiring stylists, give them photos. Tell me what colors you want to evoke into the film,” she says, adding that scouting shots and inspiration imagery are preferred. Shome agrees: “The more visual references you can share, the more successful your shoot will be.” In preproduction conversations, the panelists also recommend discussing what the designer wants out of the shoot, where they’d like the images to be published, and how long the actual shoot will take.

To that last point, both Friedman and Kelley noted that their shoots generally last two days at most. And though shoot days should have an organized run of show, leaving room for spontaneity is needed too. “I never pre-scout,” says Friedman, adding that those first impressions can be “where some magic happens.”

The trio talked about interior photography trends—what they’re into and what they’ve been opting out of recently—and how to keep styled interiors feeling artistic versus contrived. They also delve in photography contracts, managing clients’ expectations, and who actually needs to be on-site during a shoot. To learn from some of the industry’s best, watch the entire one-hour AD PRO Session below.