Things To Consider Before A Residential Architecture or Interiors Shoot

In my experience as a photographer one of the important lessons I’ve learned over the years is to never assume. Some of the points I make here may seem almost patronising and yet if not addressed the only person I have to blame for any shortcomings on a shoot is myself. 

I would say most of this applies to both architects and interior designers, so if you have been referred to this page please do read all my pointers and tips and follow my advice to ensure the shoot runs smoothly. That way we can achieve as many fantastic interior and exterior shots as possible.

These are in no specific order of importance!

  1. Bring Props! Foliage, Flowers, Fruit, Veg, Herbs, Posh Candles, Posh Hand Wash or Soap, Posh Bathroom Products etc 

Sometimes it can be a big help to the overall aesthetic by bringing even just a few of these items, especially if you’re looking to be published. Not all homeowners want to spend money on expensive products, but if you want to draw in aspirational clients or be printed in great magazines then the details are important and don’t go unnoticed. Most still life setups in magazine shoots are considered and prepped in advance. It is up to you to help deliver the look and feel that suits your brand or target market.  If you’re not sure, look at a few interior magazines for inspo. If you would like advice I’m happy to help by sending a few ideas and examples. 

  1. Ask For Parking Permits. 

London parking can be tough and at times I have to move the car every two or four hours, depending on where we are. Ask your client in advance if they have parking permits to share. It can save up to a good half an hour of our time not having to move the car and trying to find new parking spaces. It also means you won’t have to pay for parking!

  1. Don’t Assume Your Client Will Leave You A Clean And Tidy House. 

This sounds like a no brainer doesn’t it?! And yet I cannot stress this enough. The camera sees everything. Dust and greasy smudged hand prints on kitchen cabinets or glass seem to turn out worse in the lens than in real life. Being faced with a grubby bathroom just makes my heart sink, and it’s mostly because people just haven’t been told the importance of cleanliness for a photo shoot. Please ask the homeowner  to do their best to ensure the home is clean and tidy for the shoot, otherwise I might become a very expensive cleaner with a limited amount of time to be a photographer. Once it is highlighted I find the homeowners can be really helpful in making our lives easier by sprucing up the place before we arrive. Sometimes the home belongs to busy, young parents who find it hard to stay on top of things, so a good way around this is to ask the client what day their cleaner comes and try to the book shoot the day after they have been!

  1. How Clean Is The Glassy Extension? 

This is similar to point 3, but also easily forgotten. If you’ve created a beautiful glassy kitchen extension it’s worth checking it’s at the very least, fairly clean. Sometimes shooting shortly after the project is completed the glass and framework still has residue of construction and builders all over it. Or after a long winter the glass and skylights are stained with multiple water droplets, green algae, and leafy mush. It is not possible to clean this up well in post. It is a huge waste of time cleaning with household products and a little cloth, and it still doesn’t come out great anway. Ask your client how the glass and skylights look. If not great, then ask them to invest in a window cleaner. If they need encouragement, offer to split the price with the client or even offer to pay for it yourself. These images are for you and for your website so it is up to you to present your project at its very best.

  1. Is It Raining? Will It Affect The Shoot? Shall We Reshedule?

Sometimes I do wonder why I became an architectural photographer in the UK when the weather can be so grim so much of the time! If the shoot is deemed weather dependant, then the weather can be the decider between a bad shoot and a great shoot. When photographing glassy extensions and exteriors, I suggest we weather check nearer the time. Sometimes we will just have to plough ahead as there are many involved on the day. The client, myself and often you, need to fix on a date convenient for all. Where possible, when booking further in advance, I do offer flexibility on postponing or rearranging the shoot and I suggest you ask how your clients how they feel about this too. Personally I prefer not to fill my dairy just to gain as much work as possible, I am here to get the best shots for my clients, so the other option I offer is pencilling in two dates near each other and again weather checking nearer the time. Generally at least one of the days turns out to be suitable or even perfect!

  1. Let Your Client Know How Long The Shoot Is. 

Not everyone understands what is entailed in a shoot. You will be surprised by the amount of homeowners who think I’m popping over to snap for a couple of hours. They then organise appointments such as play dates or family coming over, thinking I’ll be gone. The world becomes chaos and the homeowner can feel a little put out that things didn’t go as they expected, whilst I am struggling to get shots in a noisy bouncy household!

  1. The View Through The Lens Can Look Different To The View In Real Life. 

It can be helpful to inform the homeowner that spaces and objects look different in the lens and sometimes we might move possessions or furniture to suit the shot. We will always do our best to put everything back exactly as we found it. I have never come across anyone who has a problem with this, but I think it’s nice to let them know in advance, especially if they are of the more tidy, organised and precise nature!

Thank you for taking the time to read my pearls of wisdom!


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