As a photographer with a passion for architecture, interior photography & design, I was very excited to be asked to photograph a beautiful house located in my hometown of Leek, in Staffordshire. Specialising in interior photography, I am used to providing photography for Architects, Estate Agents and Property developers. However, this commission was different. The house was not for sale. I wasn’t being asked to photograph the property for the Architect or the Developer. This time I was being asked to photograph the property by the owners, who were largely responsible for the design and execution, and they wanted a photographic record of their achievement.
The owners initially emailed me some of their own images of the house, to give me a feel for the design. Originally, the plot was an overgrown area of garden belonging to a neighbouring property. This new house wasn’t a run-of-the-mill semi or a boring bungalow. This was quite a departure from the typical built environment you find in this area of North Staffordshire. Modern, crisp lines, heavily influenced by Scandinavian and Brutalist Architecture. Hidden from the road by trees, you’d hardly know it was there.
Formulating a Plan
Every now and then, a job comes up that you just can’t wait to get your teeth into. So, having decided this was one of those, I arranged to visit the property and discuss the brief, have a look around, and formulate a plan.
The brief was to provide interior photography, exterior photography, and also dusk exteriors to showcase the external lighting. The images needed to capture the character of the building, show clearly the layout and design themes, and also capture some of the quirks and nuances of this stunning dwelling. Some great inspiration for a shot list came from Pexels, so click here to see more.
The project was completed in 3 visits.
A job you can’t refuse
Firstly, the interior photography was completed. I feel it is vitally important with a commission such as this, not to be in a rush. I took time to look around, open doors, peer through windows, look up, look down… explore. Being in too much of a hurry can lead to vital aspects of the design – and great photographs – to be missed. I rely on ambient and natural light, with just a little bounced flash to fill where necessary.
A second visit was arranged in order to complete the daytime external photography. My key criteria for the externals were good light, and a decent sky: It also required I attend at the correct time of day in order to provide lighting from the South East, which gave the best light for the South facing front of the house. On the day, the sky was perfect: A mid summer clear blue sky with a scattering of Cirrus clouds: I’m not a fan of adding digitally enhanced skies to my photography – these are the real thing. For me, photography has to be authentic.
Interior Photography, Out!
The final visit was to capture some dusk images to showcase the exterior lighting. There is only a narrow window of opportunity to get the timing perfect for the correct light: Too soon, and the sky looks unnaturally blue, even the usual British cloudy version. Too late and the sky is too dark. You get between 10 and 20 minutes, and have to be organised, and able to work quickly. The dusk images were the only ones taken using a tripod for this commission. The low light levels and requirement for some ‘ghostly’ images of the lady of the house ‘wafting’ through the kitchen required shutter speeds longer than a quarter of a second. I think the results speak for themselves. I hope you like them.