Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interior Design Photography

When you have a blog, particularly one that showcases fabulous photos of interior design, it's important that you have a dependable camera that can bring your work to the public in the best possible light.

I take lots and lots of pictures, and although my camera is fine, it's not working as nicely as it once was. I have been in the market for another camera, and I thought I can't be the only one. When I bought my current camera, it was a knee-jerk purchase, that I regretted soon after, and often said, if I had only done my research; so I asked some of my good bloggy friends who photograph their own homes what they use ...

Interior Design and Photo Credit: Steve: An Urban Cottage blog

A myth of interior design photography is that you need an expensive DSLR camera with multiple lenses and separate flash for brighter aperture and other fancy photography talk. Steve from An Urban Cottage blog shocked me when he said this photo, along with most others featured on his beautiful blog were captured using a Canon G6 point and shoot camera.

Shop Amazon for used cameras like this one here.

Granted, the camera is a good one, with a hefty retail price brand new, but it debunks the idea that you need a fancy DSLR to take great photos, and proves that it's just as important that the person behind the camera be educated about how to use the camera, and understands light and shadow. Steve has given several informative blog lessons about aperture and light with photography of interiors on his blog here

Case in point, the photographer for the magazine our home was featured in took this photo of the front of my house with an extremely expensive camera which had equally expensive lenses and auxiliary flashes:

He arrived that morning when the light was terrible. With my much less expensive DSLR I took this photo of the front of the house when the light was better:

 Much better right? Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not putting down the skills of one photographer or pumping the skills of another; certainly not myself - because I really haven't put the necessary time into understanding how to take great shots. These photos just illustrate a point that I think is valuable when thinking about switching or investing in cameras of great expense. 

Design and Photo Credit: Me

I had been using a Sony a200 DSLR camera for all of the photos on the blog since about October of 2010. I got the camera for a great deal at Target, and until recently it had been working great. Then I broke the motor for the auto focus during a flight when I shoved the bag under the seat without regard to the camera, and long story short - I need a new one. 

Shop Amazon for used cameras like this one here

Steve also used a different point and shoot camera for the last few months, capturing equally beautiful, professional quality photographs like this one: 

Photo Credit: Steve: An Urban Cottage Blog

This time, Steve used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. Another point and shoot, that with the right angle, stability, natural light, and an eye for the content and composition gives book quality photographs.

Shop for Camera's like this one here

Natural light is also the preference of Valorie Hart, of The Visual Vamp Blog who uses a point and shoot camera and has the flash permanently black listed. In this shot of her living room, she catches lots of different objects with great clarity:

 Interior Design and photo credit: Valorie Hart of The Visual Vamp

And surprisingly, she captures this great photo with a point and shoot Sony Cybershot 14.1, in red, of course!

Shop Amazon for used cameras like this one here

Typically with point and shoot cameras you are limited to the width of the photo you can take because there are no attachments and the makers of cameras like this focus solely on the ability to zoom in, and not pan out. But Valorie got this great shot of her living room with the same camera:

Interior Design and Photo Credit: Valorie Hart of The Visual Vamp

This photo gets a lot more of the room than I'd expect from a point and shoot, especially taken in the portrait  position, as this one was. 

By the way, because I know there are a few of you who will want to know, Valorie's orange velvet chairs are indeed from The Marie Chair, available in lots of different fabrics, including this solid orange velvet are a great looking chair at an even greater price. 

I had looked at getting chairs like these for my living room a few months ago, but skipped them thinking that the price was "too good to be true"; but when I asked Valorie what sort of review she could give of the chairs, she said this: "I have had the chairs for nearly a year, and they are comfy, and they don't look cheap. But they don't look like a fine antique either :-) The velvet fabric is as pretty as any velvet at any price. My Alberto is a big guy, and the chairs are stable and comfy for him, as they are for more petite people :-) The legs screw on, and sometimes get loose after a few months, but just one twist sets them right and sturdy again."

A very popular blogger, and friend, Brooke Giannetti of Velvet & Linen and her husband, Architect and designer Steve Giannetti take fabulous photos of their homes, projects, and gardens. 

I've always loved the way the camera picks up Brooke's love for texture and subtle color, so when I asked what she uses for her stunning photography I wasn't surprised to here that it's a professional quality DSR Nikon D90 with a broad spectrum 18-105 lens. 

Shop for cameras like this one here

Shop for the lens attachment like this one here

When you have a business like Brooke and Steve's, investing in a camera of this quality is important - but what I was really excited to hear from Brooke, was that some of the photos from her beautiful blog were taken with none other than her iPhone!

I have to tell you that if you hold still enough, or find a way to brace your iPhone, you can get some REALLY great photos (like this one). I actually blogged a few weeks ago about flowers in my garden taken with my iPhone. I've been really happy with the quality! 

The clarity of the photo, even the zoom on the iPhone can surprise you! And the video quality is just as good, given a sturdy hand!

Get an iPhone through your provider, or shop here.
(I love my white one!!)

My friend Deserae, who writes Peeking Thru The Sunflowers, like Brooke uses a Nikon. 

Des has a beautiful home that I blogged about here, and she takes a lot of pictures of different vignettes and all of rooms to share on her blog. Her photos are always so beautiful and clear. 

And the width of the lens really captures the totality of her rooms - which is just as important as those glamour shots of the vignettes in the room. I asked a lot of people to share their photos and cameras, but I understand it's summer and not everyone is able to take a break to share with me. So that's where I leave you - maybe more confused that when we started? 

I am torn between the Canon Rebel T3i, here; and the Nikon D500, here. I am so lucky to be able to count on Scott to get me the camera of choice as a belated birthday/anniversary present, which I have delayed until I make a decision on which is best. 

So, thoughts? Anyone own a Canon? Care to share the photos with me?


  1. such an interesting and helpful camera has a big fat chip I have to always crop out a big fat blur

  2. Great post! I, too, constantly consider photo quality, and my iPhone sometimes gets the shot I need! I have the Nikon D90, but my sister-in-law's Canon shoots just beautifully! Either choice will be a good one, and the quality of your photos should be VERY similar! :-)


  3. What a fabulous post! I've been all of these thoughts about getting a new camera and this has been incredibly helpful! I also take pictures with my iPhone ( white, of course!) and have been pleasantly surprised and pleased! I will let you know if I end up with a new camera though! Thanks for posting this!

  4. I wish there was a magic solution to great photos. I think part of it is composition. It comes naturally to some people but you can also learn it. There's good lighting, and I'll admit that I sometimes wait for days to get good light, but even some cheaper point and shoot camera allow you to slow down your shutter speed or dial a button to make a photo lighter. There's also camera positioning and, as I see you do, it's usually a matter of getting down to about table height.

    I really recommend the ShootFlyShoot photgraphy course. They use the Canon Rebel to do all their demonstrations and it's extremely helpful in understanding what makes a great photograph.

    I'm trying to be a good boy so Santa will bring me a Rebel. It's all I want for Christmas.

  5. I've been a Canon girl all my life. Other than the manual cameras, I've had a G series that I literally wore out! Loved that camera and those photos. The size was good as it would fit in a jacket pocket while traveling. Then I made a mistake and got a S5IS and was not as pleased since it can't shoot raw images and had a hard time capturing good photos in low light. So I got a REbel and love it.. I mean love it. However, we were heading back to Santa Fe last year and I wanted a camera to drop in my pocket. Back to the store for a Canon powershot.. so guess what I've been using lately? Yep, the powershot. Manual setting, or even the program setting.. sweet photos.
    But the best advice I can give you, get one with which you feel comfortable. It must rest in your hands like a glove that fits (no pun intended). and one with which you feel comfortable with the settings. Your photos are always inspiring.. can't wait to hear which you choose.. xo marlis

  6. Sorry I can't help. I have an old camera and no clue what to get to repace it. I haven't even learned all about what this camera does. I have been kinda busy with a move..... XO, Pinky

  7. Yeah...Canon girl myself. It is just what you get used too. Although I do not buy the canon lenses.

  8. Gee Artie I wish I could help you but I know absolutely nothing about photography. (I do know though that the few times that I have tried to take a good photo of my lighted Christmas Tree, I probably could have grown one.)

    Do you know Susan (Between Naps On The Porch)? If you search her blog I believe she has had some excellent posts and advice about cameras.

    Good luck in your search!
    Hugs -Brenda-

  9. In event you didn't see it, left you a comment on your previous post 'Slipcover Started'.

  10. What a beautiful interior and exterior shots of the place. The decor in this home is so cute and festive!

    real estate ph

  11. I have an Olympus and I HATE it!!!!! I have used a Canon, Kodak, and others and my favorite was a Kodak I had years ago when we still used film. It was a wonderful camera, beautiful pictures and so easy to use, but I dropped in the ocean one summer, so bye bye camera! Since then I have been on the search for something as good. Good luck. There is anything much worse than missing the perfect shot.