Translating the look and feel of a room into a photograph is more than capturing the room as it is. As Eddie Ross pointed out in his talk Tuesday at the DC Design Center, real life does great interior design photography. In addition to styling, it's essential to move furniture and change the placement of accessories in order to translate the look of the room into a photograph that does it justice. Instead of trying to capture the whole room, focus on the "moments' - the shot of the fireplace, the corner with the secretary, the seating area. Help the viewer see the room as if they were in it. As Eddie mentioned, when rooms are professionally photographed furniture is rearranged to make the most of it. Don't think literally - think of the experience.

Style to Tell a Cohesive Story
In addition to ideas for capturing the look and feel of a room, Eddie shared numerous great tips in his signature funny and so-real way. While showing a photo of a kitchen that had been styled in a manic moment with cut watermelon, lemons ready to be squeezed, bunches of lavender, grilled zucchini, etc, he noted, "Check out the berries sitting next to the raw shrimp in the sink, if that's not a recipe for a food borne illness..." (there was a lot of fun and laughter throughout the presentation) Better to style a kitchen simply with a cohesive concept, such as a breakfast, so the styling adds to the design, not detracts from it.
Styling with a Season in Mind

If you're a designer, keep in mind that clients will look through your portfolio throughout the year. Do your rooms read a range of seasons or just one? Styling can help place the season of the room for the viewer. In the first photo, Eddie's choice of blue throw, pillow and flowers feels like spring. A change to an orange accents brings a warm, fall feel. In the last photo, a cream throw and pillow creates a whole new look - escaping the heat in August.

More Styling & Photography Tips:

- Don't skimp on flowers and try to use unusual ones.
- Open doors and windows to bring in life.
- When styling an etagere or shelf, don't place objects as if they're for sale at a store.
- Pull chairs out from tables so they look like they're really being used.
- Notice what's reflected in the mirror. Move things if you need to to make the reflection add, not detract, from the shot.

- Put clear plastic packing tape on the back side of pillow sham flanges to keep them upright.
- Avoid photographing a king size bed straight on. Choose an angle to capture the look.
- Is the bedside table leggy, with a vacant space underneath? Consider a stack of books or pulling up a chair.
- To keep the perspective right in the photograph, pull the second bedside table mid-way. It will look correct in the photo even though they're "out of place" for real life.

Dining Rooms:
- Instead of setting a complete table, consider stacking the plates and grouping the flatware together as if you're getting ready to set the table.
- Be careful not to photograph directly at table height when it's set with plates. They'll end up looking like weird saucers.
- To show off a beautifully set table, take the shot angled over the table.
- Don't burn candles in a shot that's clearly day time; it will have an out of place feel to it.


- If you're shooting down a hallway with a console with 2 lamps, you'll need to pull the second lamp out so it's not blocked by the other.

Living Rooms:

- Don't face pillows perfectly, make them look real.
- Notice furniture placement. A coffee table too close to a sofa will show up and seem strange.
- Bring in accessories - change out the ones that don't pop on camera.
- Watch out for furniture or objects that block the great views, such as a fireplace. If an ottoman works in real life in front of the fireplace but not in the photo, move it out.

- Don't overdo the styling. Eddie had us laughing with a magazine photo of a powder room with scented candles, and an air diffuser. Plus its waste basket was actually full of trash!
- Style the tub in way that makes sense (towel, chair to rest it on, etc) Skip the three trays of perfume bottles you'd have to climb over to get into the tub.

Hope you've found Eddie's tips helpful. It was a terrific talk & a great fun seeing Eddie and Jaithan in DC. If you ever have a chance to attend one of their events, definitely go.