Australian lifestyle photographer Jodie Johnson started her career at an advertising firm, but after fifteen years of working with clients, the Melbourne native pivoted her career in a more creative direction. Now Jodie is an assignment and stock photographer who specializes in lifestyle and interiors. Here, she passes on her best tips for getting the shot.
1. Take advantage of natural lighting
I love the authentic feel that natural light creates for interiors photos. House lights can create yellow or blue colored light and produce all sorts of ugly shadows and unbalanced color. So unless it’s a feature or you really need extra light, turn the lights off! A tripod is a must for longer exposures inside, and sometimes a bit of post processing to brighten any particularly dark spots.
2. Look out for straight lines
Always have either a vertical or horizontal line perfectly straight. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful interior that has been shot with the camera slanting, or facing slightly up or down.
3. Style your shoot
Often if I’m shooting someone’s home, I don’t have the luxury of styling all the furniture and decor. However, I do move and prop small items, such as books and ornaments, and always carry a selection of fake flowers and vases to pop into empty spaces.
4. Be mindful of negative space
Try to consider how buyers might use the image you’re about to take, and allow for some flexibility. Leaving purposeful negative space in some shots gives the buyers options to include a headline, or overlay some text or a logo. The most obvious one is a blank white wall, but there’ll be plenty of ways to do this when you look around the space you’re in.
5. Don’t forget the details
Images of a whole room are an obvious choice, but there are so many things within a room to focus in on. From a light switch to a door handle, beautiful bed linen or vase of flowers, get in closer and capture the details as well. I aim to get as many variations as possible from one shoot or location.
6. Get a property release
If you are shooting a recognizable interior or building, you will need to get a signed property release in order to sell those images on a stock marketplace. The same goes for recognizable interior elements, like a painting or photographs. I usually just clone out the subject completely, or create a simple overlay in photoshop that fits with the colors in the shot. At a recent shoot, I noticed an original artwork of a local Melbourne artist, Alan Annells (the one below with the cones). Alan is a good friend and I told him about the stock shoot and how I cloned over his painting to avoid infringing his copyright. But I was surprised when he said he would have signed a property release no problem – so if the opportunity arises, always ask!