Interior Photography by Maggie Rife Ponce
I never intended on being an interior photographer. Like many things in life, it came about organically when a friend of a friend asked if I’d be willing to photograph his kitchen renovations. I was so nervous the first time I worked with him. At the time, the large majority of my work was boudoir, which, at first glance, was a very different type of photography. So what business did I have capturing his kitchen designs? What I realized, though, after I received a glowing review from him, was that the same principles of taking a beautiful boudoir picture apply with interior photography – it’s all about lighting, angles, and form.
What is interior photography?
If you’ve ever paged through Dwell magazine or even looked through a Crate and Barrel catalog, you’ve seen images of perfectly styled living rooms and thoughtfully-curated spaces. These are examples of interior photography – imagery that serves to capture the work of designers, architects, and stylists alike. But interior photography isn’t limited to only professionals. Many creatives just starting out have used pictures of their own homes or initial projects to begin their careers through sharing on social media or their blogs.
While your smartphone is capable of quite a lot, I’ve learned through experience that in order to make really striking photos showcasing a space, professional photography equipment makes a world of difference. Those glowy, perfectly composed images that pop up on your Instagram feed or on an ad when you’re searching for a new piece of furniture are created using a very specific technique combining long exposures, a tripod, and specific lenses.
The benefit of my interior photography service:
These days, professional photos are more important than ever. Social media is becoming one of the most popular and trusted places to vet services or individuals. People don’t just want to see quality portfolio images; they expect to see quality portfolio images. It’s a way for them to trust your credibility and also get a sense of your style. Furthermore, you’re able to use these photos to communicate your process and convey who you are even before you meet with a client in person.
Beautiful overall angles, as well as closeup details, will get more attention and set you apart in your industry, and that’s what I will provide for you. With my techniques and knowledge, your photos will show the perfect details of your space with exceptional angles and lighting. Additionally, people want to know the maker behind a space, so I always encourage creators to step in front of the camera for a few photos with the work.
What type of interior photography services do I offer?
I offer the interior photography services for the following types of businesses:
- Real Estate
- Interior Decorating
- Interior Design
- Subcontractors, including woodworkers, tile workers, painters, muralists, lighting experts, stonemasons, and more.
How much do my services cost?
I provide custom quotes based on the scope of your work. For those looking to only capture a single room or specific element of an interior, such as muralists, tile workers, decorators, etc., the starting hourly rate is $500. For larger-scale projects that include overalls, multiple angles, and rooms (which are more common with architects, contractors, or realtors), I often work on an overall project or ongoing retainer rate. Please message me here to inquire.
Featured Interior Photography
My work has been featured in North Shore Magazine, Forest & Bluff Magazine, Pop Sugar, and Michigan Avenue Magazine to name a few publications. You can also see more examples of my interior photos at these websites:
How to hire me, Maggie Rife Ponce, your professional interior photographer:
Interested in capturing your work with professional interior photography? Contact me via my online form or call me directly on 402.304.4057 to learn more and let me know about your project.
How to prepare before an interior photoshoot?
Below are three of my favorite tips for my clients; however, please know I’ll always help you stage and set up the best photographic scene to capture your interior in its best light.
- Clean and Tidy. I love it when I arrive at a home or business and it’s just been professionally cleaned and decluttered. Coco Chanel, the iconic fashion designer once said: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” The same concept applies to prepping your space. Less is more. Put away extra appliances, tchotchkes, paperwork, mail, cords, etc.
- Staging! Once you’ve removed the clutter, it’s time to stage. Use decorative items to create a “lived-in” feel. Don’t be shy about moving furniture around to create a better composition. I love it when my eye travels around a room pausing on small vignettes that create a sort of story without it being too busy. Layering can be done in stages, setting objects in the foreground or using lines in design to draw you into a room. If you really want to delight your interior photographer, do what you can to hide outlets when staging so they don’t need to be photoshopped out later.
- Lights Off. The best interior photos are most often created using natural light. I get asked often, “how can you shoot when it seems so dark?” The answer: a tripod, long exposure, and a device called a shutter release. With this method, I create gorgeous, welcoming images that bring you right into space.
What to expect after the photoshoot?
Once the photos are taken, I carefully select the best images from the photography session for processing. I always shoot in RAW, which provides the most “information” to work with in order to make a picture pop. I’ll make sure all the lines are straight, adjust the contrast and brightness, and fine-tune the white balance removing any unwanted color cast. Lastly, I’ll remove any of those pesky outlets that couldn’t be covered up. Then I’ll upload these to an online gallery where you can view the final results, share with others, and download them for your own purposes.
My top 5 tips for creating magazine-worthy interior photos:
- Use a tripod. Besides my camera, a tripod is the next most important piece of equipment for interior photographers. It allows me to achieve a high depth of field (meaning a lot of detail) through the use of a high aperture.
- Line it up. As a photographer, if you’re not careful when composing your picture, you can wind up with a picture that looks like you’re in a funhouse with walls tilted or floors appearing crooked. I use the built-in level in my tripod to ensure my lines are straight and avoid this effect.
- Schedule when it’s overcast. My favorite time to shoot interior photos is at noon, when the sun is overhead, making it more filtered through side windows. A cloudy or overcast day is even better because it’s like taking photos with a giant softbox (a softbox diffuses the light into a pleasing soft, even light). By shooting during an overcast, I always get more tonal range to work with and softer shadows in my images.
- Watch the distortion with your wide-angle. One amateur mistake is using an ultra-wide angle for interior photos. While you’re able to show an entire room in one shot, it often looks surreal and artificial. If you’re shooting a small space for real estate, you might be asked to do this in order to make the space look bigger. But when possible, avoid going wider than 24-mm, or else you’ll start getting that funhouse effect again. Instead, what I love to do is back up to fit more in the frame, even if it means shooting through a doorway or from down a hall.
- Zoom in. Details are a lovely way of showing the feel of a space. I always look to capture a close-up frame with a shallow depth of field to highlight a design element like backspace, hardware, or movement in a countertop. You can also create striking images of a curated vignette, like a breakfast nook or bar cart. All these photos provide a sense of a room without showing every square inch of it.
Thank you for checking out my interior photography work. I would love to work with you in creating your perfect interior photographs. Please contact me via my form or feel free to give me a call at 402.304.4057. I look forward to learning about your project!
I serve the following areas for interior photography: Chicago, Downtown Chicago, Lake Forest, Glencoe, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Evanston, Schaumburg, Hinsdale, and surrounding suburbs. Available to travel anywhere and everywhere.