Behind the scenes with an interior photographer

My job is to deliver beautiful photos of impeccable interiors, places that make you dream of the perfect holiday… Luckily for me I usually manage but let me tell you about the journey to get there, let me tell you about the “behind the scenes”.

Most of the properties I get to photograph are ongoing building projects, either new builds or renovations. My clients have to advertise them on their websites or brochures but don’t usually start their rental contract with the owners until the beginning of the rental season.

The completion of the building or renovation is always late, this is a fact! So I am forever juggling between a client and another all having the same problem, knowing fine well that they can’t give me a definite date.
But what makes my job harder it’s the next part of the story…
I don’t do the “dressing” of the chalet, that it’s for the client to present the property as he intends to rent it, off course I help with ideas and suggestions and move items around to please the composition for my camera but that’s it.
But because they only have the use of the chalet to take the photos (see rental agreements before), the property can’t be prepared and left for me to photograph.
So I am given 1 room at the time while the client frantically strips the bed and starts moving bed linen, lights, books, flowers, cushions. If you miss your shot you are doomed! And if you want to look for that artistic out of focus lovely photo you better be quick!

It’s usually absolutely mayhem, people moving furniture around, tradesmen walking in the middle of my photos, babies screaming (sometimes the creche is closed and the clients have to take their babies with them). Folks clearing snow outside the bay window I am trying to include in my photo! Nooo I needed the immaculate white stuff lying around! Architects walking around arguing with some tradesman or other, you name it, I have had it all. Ever asked yourself why the curtains are closed? What’s behind them? The answer is almost always: a building site and no amount of Photoshop can ever take it away. Best one was when a client asked me to photoshop the water in the swimming pool… But the swimming pool wasn’t even finished, looked like the crater of a bomb. And then there is the fire, it doesn’t matter if outside is scorching hot, the fire has to go on, because of it I once worked at 37 degrees, I am still sweating just thinking about it.

I wish somebody took photos of me while I am working, I am a contortionist, I have been known to be ruthless in the pursuit of that perfect composition. I am often found inside wardrobes, on top of toilets, in the bath, on the kitchen top, on a dressed table dodging glasses and plates, on the bonnet of a car, all of the above while balancing my tripod and living dangerously… I am now very wary of showers… Let me tell you it only takes one little movement of an elbow to open that “cascade” water on the poor photographer looking for that quirky photo taken form inside the shower…

So the next time you see one of my photos and you think how peaceful it is… Think about the behind the scenes and have a laugh but give me a thumbs up for the effort.