How to take great photos of your home: 14 tips

Photographer Kristin Perers actually started her career as a fashion designer, then worked as an interiors
stylist, before settling on a career behind the lens. She recently photographed our Rita Says launch images (some of which you can see above) and we love the fact that she brought her her stylist’s eye for detail and flair for composition to the shoot. So many of us like to share images of our homes and the next best thing to having Kristin herself come round and make everything look wonderful is to ask her to share her photography tips and advice. 
Kristin, thank you and over to you:  
  1. Don’t think you need to have an expensive camera to take good photos. You can do a lot with your phone. The new iPhones in particular are amazing, especially the portrait lens. This year I shot the images for chef Anissa Helou’s new book…Anissa travels the world find inspiration for her recipes and takes incredible photographs with her iPhone 8. Her phone pictures are so great they’re included in the book.
  2. I think of my iPhone as form of visual note taking – snaps of things I want to remember. If you really want to get into photography though, I’d recommend getting a small 35 mm camera that you can put in your bag and carry with you. 
  3. The most important thing to do with your camera is to learn to shoot on manual – so you’re adjusting your F Stop (the light through the lens) and shutter speed. Once you master these two things, the world of photography will open up for you. 
  4. I edit my Instagram photos on Instagram itself – I don’t use other apps or filters. One top tip is to look at what happens when you up the contrast; it really helps to give your images more punch.
  5. I think of photography as a form of story telling; this is really what’s helped me leap from taking snaps of my kids to being a photographer. This means thinking of the narrative of each image and the feelings that the individual objects in the shot convey.  
  6. When it comes to interior photography, I like to make sure I get one large image showing the breadth of the room, one medium image focusing on a particular area and one detailed, close-up shot.
  7. Interior photography is so fascinating because you get these little clues about the people who live there. When we did the shoot at Rita’s, there was a picture that her daughter, Margo, had done taped to the wall in the background. Rather than taking it down, we left it in the shot…those little details help to give life to the images. 
  8. It often works best with interiors if you can see through into another room or hallway as it helps you place yourself within the picture.
  9. When it comes to props, don’t fake it, but equally don’t be afraid to bring things that are already in the room into the shot and to do a bit of rearranging. 
  10. Find the backdrops and surfaces in your home that work well for photos. You might have a beautiful walnut chest of drawers that’s great in the room but doesn’t work in pictures. There are certain surfaces and backdrops in my home that I use again and again. I recently painted the top of our kitchen table – I couldn’t be doing with all that yellow pine. Much to my husbands horror I slapped whitewash all over it….I just wanted to be able to pull something out of the oven and photograph it straight away.
  11. I love working with natural light. Find that spot by a window where light meets dark and that’s your ‘beauty spot’ – the place where the light will give you curves and shadows as well as highlights.
  12. Bright sunlight can be tricky to photograph in; my advice is to put the object you’re photographing between you and the sun to it’s back lit. You’ll need to over expose or brighten the image as it will be quite dark but you’ll get that lovely, dazzling sun light effect around the edges. Either that or work in black and white. It’s fabulous then.
  13. When it comes to Instagram, there is a pressure to post all the time but recently I’ve slowed down a bit. I like to post images that reflect what I’m thinking about at the time – perhaps a book I’m reading – and show linking ideas or threads across a few posts. I’m always really touched when people respond to something that I’ve decided to share; Instagram is more than just the pretty pictures. 
  14. Photograph what you’re drawn to. I love seeing people’s Instagram photos of beautiful old buildings around London for example, but its not what I love to do. That’s what’s so interesting about photography – when you start doing it you learn so much about yourself…what do you value enough to photograph?