How to Photograph Your Home
Want to take pictures like a pro? We asked four of the state's premier photographers for tips on shooting your home, family, garden, and vacation. Interviews by Andrew Vietze
Reprinted by permission from the January 2006 issue of Down East magazine. Copyright 2006 by Down East Enterprise, Inc., Camden, Maine. All rights reserved.
1. The most important thing is light. I look up at the sky and see where the
sun is and how it's going to track, so I can map out shots in my mind. Light is
crucial. It is really what defines architecture. It's the most important tool
you've got. To pull off a shoot you have to be very aware of where the sun is
at all times and use it with maximum skill so that you don't miss an
opportunity. You must be prepared and have the shot lined up, have everything
accessorized so you're ready when the light is right. Without a sense of light
you don't have that sense of emotion. When seeing my work, I try to get people
to respond, "I want to be there." Then I know Iíve found my mark.
2. So much of this work is about prepping and getting the right materials in
the picture ó and stuff you don't want out. It's very important for there to be
a sense of order in a photograph. I won't shoot a picture if I see something
and say to myself, "That shouldn't be there." It's gotta be right, or
it's out of the picture.
3. To me it's all about taking each house and assessing what in the world it's
doing there and showing it in the best possible way. Sometimes a shot is more
about the landscape and less about the house. Maybe you're looking out across
the porch and showing the view more than the house itself. You don't want to isolate
a house from its surroundings.
4. The key thing is not the equipment ó whether you shoot digitally or what
film you use ó but being in the right place at the right time and knowing what
you want to say.
5. A common mistake to avoid: People tend to shoot wider than they need to. Try
to shoot with the longest focal length. It makes for a more pleasing, more
compressed view. The idea of a shot is to reduce it, reduce it, reduce it ó
eliminate everything you donít need. Keep it simple. Keep it very simple. Make
sure everything you put in the picture is exactly what you want.
6. When I shoot a house it requires total and complete concentration. It's the
only thing I do when I'm on the job. I live and breathe that house. I try to
understand that house. Sometimes that requires very hard work, but it always
requires concentration. Looking at it, looking at it, looking at it again, so
that you can figure out what the problems are so you can present the building
in the best possible light. That's my job.