What Really Goes into an Interior Design Photoshoot

June 5, 2024

If you’re an interior design enthusiast, I’m sure you have a social media feed flooded with beautifully designed spaces- so beautiful that they look effortless and aspirational. For designers, that’s the goal! After months and months (sometimes years) of work, there is no better feeling than finally capturing a finished project and sharing it with the world. Not to mention, quality imagery is essential to a successful interior design business. Our portfolio photos establish our reputation in the industry and build trust in our creative vision and expertise with future clients. It’s true- a photo is worth a thousand words! Today we are giving you a peek behind the curtain of what goes into an interior design photoshoot.

Planning an Interior Design Photoshoot

Client Approval

Of course, our projects aren’t just projects, they’re people’s homes. We talk to our clients about shooting their homes early in the process. While they can opt-out, we’ve found that homeowners treasure the professional photos of their new (or newly renovated) home and are excited to capture the transformation. Who doesn’t love a before & after?! When possible, we plan the shoot around the homeowner’s travel schedule and they return to their home exactly as they left it. With sign-off from the client, we nail down some dates and drop in to take scouting shots.

Initial scouting shots from a newly completed project 

Hiring a Photographer & Stylist

As with most things, having the right people in the room makes all the difference. Interior photographers have many different aesthetics and specialties so finding one that shares your vision is a huge part of having a successful interior design photoshoot. The same goes for stylists. Even if a home is perfectly designed, a stylist brings a fresh set of eyes and perspective on how to tell the story. They are responsible for setting up each shot specific to the camera placement and understanding how different colors and materials will read. Shoot days can be long, but are so fun when you vibe with the photographer and stylist.

Behind the scenes shooting our Raleigh project!

Creative Direction

No matter how much we trust our photographer and stylist, we never assume they know what we want. Every project has a different story to tell and we often have an idea of how it will build our portfolio. Ahead of the shoot, we determine by room which angles will be shot and what props we need to make the home look finished and layered. In addition to the homeowner’s items, we love to source vintage and unique items- always incorporating the family’s style with meaningful pieces. We consider photoshoot styling a bonus for clients because they often purchase the items we source. Being prepared is key, but we try to leave room for spontaneity! Some of the best shots come from last minute decisions on set.

Day Before

We always plan for the day before the shoot to be an on-site prep day.

  • Reduce clutter, clear surfaces
  • Often we hire a handyman to help with last-minute decorating, such as hanging mirrors, art, etc.
  • Style home with a base layer of accessories
  • Purchase and arrange flowers (these are often pre-planned with the stylist down to the variety of each flower for each room)
  • Observe lighting in the home and map out a timeline to get the lighting we want in each shot

Shoot Day

The shoot day is always grounding and brings us back to our “why”. Even though they are busy days, we find moments to celebrate the finished project, styled to tell a story we have worked hard to write. We like to start the day by walking through each room as a group and recapping the plan quickly, then we get to work!

  1. Stylist preps shot
  2. Photographer shoots, Claire approves the final shot
  3. Our team cleans up shot

And…repeat! Sounds quick and easy, but shots can take over an hour to get just right. We pour so much time into these projects that now isn’t the time to rush. By this point, the photographer and stylist understand what we want and we trust that they know what is best for each shot. Let the magic happen!

We have a couple of exciting photoshoots coming up this summer. Follow us on Instagram to see behind the scenes in our stories and keep an eye out for new portfolio photos soon!

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Meet Claire

Claire’s creative energy comes from her unique perspective on the world as both a trained interior designer and a passionate yoga teacher. Her affinity for kitchen design, timeless style and eclectic decorating are shared here, along with lots of interior design education and tips. Thanks for being here, please enjoy!

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