So, I have developed a bit of a "thing" with design books. As I've gotten more involved in photographing interior design I have also developed a fondness for learning about design myself. Books, as well as "shelter magazines" like Dwell, World of Interiors, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor satisfy my insatiable need for good photos and ideas. I love to pick apart what makes the images work and at the same time understand the underlying design, what makes it tick.
On the photography side I try and reverse engineer how the photographer might have created the image. Was it natural light? Was it lit? How much styling was done by the photographer? With some careful inspection of the shadows in a picture, you can learn a lot. Unfortunately for me the quality in these magazines is so good that it can be difficult to tell.
One thing I learned quickly about doing commercial photography is that a photographer is almost like a movie producer. The buck stops with the photographer, and everything in the frame is their responsibility. So if an architectural interiors photographer steps into a space and the furniture looks wrong and things aren't balanced, then you go through the space and start editing. Maybe moving a couch a bit here, straightening the chairs a bit, even decluttering a bookshelf. The idea is not to change the design, but to make it read well on camera. A design can look amazing in person and be really difficult to translate into two dimensions.
As far as the design goes, I have noticed that masterful composition and control over lighting don't make very much difference without a compelling subject. Making good interior design photography is a synergy between the two artists coming together, the designer and the photographer. The photographer needs to try and understand the overall gesture of the design and what features need highlighting and interpret that for the printed page, portfolio or advertisement. If I'm lucky enough to work directly with the designer then we both work together to decide how to best show the designers intent. And if I am shooting solo, a decent understanding of interior design principles is invaluable.
I don't expect my love for books to wane at all, after all this is just some of the design books I have collected in the past few years. I would guess I have about ten times as many art and photography books. In the interest of sharing I might do a few reviews over the next few months of some of the books I have really enjoyed. Maybe in return you can tell me of any books that must absolutely be checked out. I hope to hear from you. As always, if you are an interior designer in, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic and would like to discuss your project I would love to hear about it and provide a free quote. Or, if you are similarly fond of design books and want to share some titles, let's hear it. Visit www.danieljacksonphoto.com or contact me here.