Thursday, October 4, 2012

House Guest Series : The Vintique Object

Today I'm pleased to welcome the very talented Camille from one of my favorite blogs The Vintique Object as our house guest.  I love her style and her eye for photography and she recently redid a twin girls' bedroom that is HEAVEN on wheels!  

"I'm Camille from the Vintique Object and am delighted to be here today to talk about taking pictures of your home or design work. 

When I first started my blog, I was consistently disappointed with the pictures I took of my house.  Do you know that feeling?  It looks great in person and then you take a picture and...blah.

So I started to study professional photos of interiors and that has resulted in my series Composing Photos of Interiors.  I am by no means a professional photographer, but I do want to share with you some common mistakes I see people make when they take photos of their homes or design work.   These are mistakes I made when I first started, and while I'm sure I'm still making a ton and don't even know it, I do feel that my photos have improved!

So here goes:  The Seven Mistakes as illustrated by my own photos.

Mistake #1:  Taking a photo with the flash on.  

Turn off your flash.  I know that you guys already know this, but I'm going to say it because it often leads to the next mistake.  (And if you didn't know to turn off the flash, you'll want to do it to avoid bright spots and weird shadows in your photo.)

Mistake # 2:  Turning the lights on.  

A lot of people will turn on the light in order to compensate for the flash being off.  Or just because it looks prettier that way in person.  But prettier in person does not always translate to prettier in photography, unfortunately.  Take a visit to Pinterest or flip through your latest decor mag.  I challenge you to find any picture with a light on.  They are there, but they are few and far between.  If you do find one, often the professional photographer has found a way to compensate for how the light changes colors in the room and how it adds unnecessary shadows.  Turn off those lights and take the photo during the light of day.

But what if you don't have enough natural light?  The simplest thing to do is use a free photo editing program like PicMonkey to edit your dark photo for exposure.  But if you want other ideas, email me.  I'd be happy to share them!

Mistake # 3, 4, and 5:  Taking the photo too far away, at an angle to the subject, and too high.

When you are taking a photo of vignette or detail, which I wrote a post about here, it often works better to stand at a 90 degree angle to the subject.  And it works even better to get up close and personal so that the subject fills your entire view finder.  I have a lot of negative wall space going on in this photo.  Plus it's hard to see what's going on with the vignette.

Also notice where I am when taking the photo.  I actually held my camera above my head to take this photo, which is not an attractive view point (I used to think it was and did it all the time! :)  It works better to hold the camera level with the horizontal surface, like a table top, mantel, or counter.

Mistake #6Camera is not level.

Not holding the camera level can make viewers feel a little dizzy, like they're in the crazy house at the carnival.  Keep that camera level.

Mistake #7:  Keeping the photo small.

This one is for bloggers or folks developing a portfolio.  The bigger the photo, the happier your viewers will be I can't tell you how many times I've been perusing the portfolio of a well-known designer only to find that I have to lean my face into the computer and squint to see his/her work.  I once even nosily emailed a designer to suggest that his work would be better represented if his photos were larger!  He sent me a copy of his most recent book in the mail as a thank you!

Finally, here is my final photo with all the mistakes corrected.

I'm sure a professional photographer would find a lot wrong with this photo, but it is an improvement over the others, right?

  • The flash is off.
  • The photo is taken with the lamp and overhead lights off and it is edited for exposure.
  • I am standing at a 90 degree angle to the vignette.
  • I am standing close to the vignette so that it fills up the entire frame.
  • The camera is level with the surface of the chest.  (You can tell by how much of the top shows in the photo.)
  • The camera is (mostly) level.
  • The photo is blown up to extra large.

I have come to believe that the photos you take of your work (whether you earn money for your designs or not) are absolutely critical the success of your blog or portfolio.   If your photos fall flat, you'll be hard pressed to show people your talent.

If you are visiting Powell Brower Home, chances are you just like to look at a pretty picture.   And if the success of Pinterest is any example, that's all anyone really wants to see.

Thanks to Bethany and Nancy for inviting me to do this post.  You guys really and truly are some of the sweetest, most supportive bloggers I know!

If you want to read more about interior photography in depth, you can visit my series here.  "

AHhh- I just love her. See what I mean? So talented!  Thanks so much for popping by to visit Camille.  Check her out over at The Vintique Object!

If you are looking for help with your home, we'd love to work with you! Contact us for a listing of our services and prices.
Nancy and Bethany


  1. I have read these tips before but never with examples. The "bad" photos followed by the "great" photo are a wonderful illustration of how to get it done. Thanks!

  2. Love the photo tips ... I learned about the lighting thing the hard way ... after mannnnnnyyy shots with lights on that looked weird!! xo

  3. Thanks for the tips! I need all the help I can get!!!

  4. I just adore Camille and her photography tips. I know I've been guilty of all of these mistakes, but I definitely learn something new with every post she has put out on the subject of photography!

  5. So glad you did this post. I have been struggling about light on, light off! This has been very helpful! I'm married to a professional photographer and need to get a lesson from him!

  6. I love Camille and often hit her up for advice. :) She's the best!!

  7. Great tips especially the 90 degree angle! I always thought you have to take photos at an angle to the subject.

  8. Excellent, as always! With Camille's tips, I can honestly say that I am perfectly content with my point and shoot!

  9. This is some great advice! Thank you for sharing!! Beautiful image, too.
    Happy Thursday,

  10. It all boils down to the fact that people want to look at pretty photos. These are really good tips.

  11. Thanks so much for asking Camille to Post. This will be a tremendous help to MC and me!!!
    Now, I hope my photos improve!

  12. This is one of the best (and most useful) posts! Your examples really illustrate your points. Thanks so much, Camille. Wonderful meeting you here!

  13. I love Camille! Thankfully I live near here so I had her over to help me compose pics in person, it was amazing!


  14. Great tips, as usual Camille! Also, you're welcome to use my photos as 'don'ts' anytime to help us improve! :)

  15. great tips! I always struggle with this. I love the last shot...pinterest worthy indeed!

  16. So nice to meet you, Camille. Fantastic tips.

  17. I love your tips, Camille! Thanks for sharing and pointing me in the direction of this new blog!

  18. Super helpful. I struggle with the photography and need to step up my skills! Thanks for the tips!

  19. Such great tips, as always! Love Camille's photo tips

  20. Great tips! I am always looking to improve my photography so many thanks for sharing!
    Have a great weekend,

  21. Great post! Very helpful. I'm always looking for ways to improve my photos - they are never as good as I'd want.

  22. I love Powell Brower and The Vintique Object, so this is a match made in heaven! And I love this topic, too, because I need all the help I can get!

  23. She is just beginning to tap into her incredible talent!! Love her design aesthetic and her photography skills!!!

  24. Great post! Camille has the knack for great styling AND great photos.


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