Three Ways to Photograph or Create a Website For Your Interior Design Work
For all of the interior designers out there, I have some good news and some bad news:
The good news is that you have many options available to you to both photograph your work and beautifully present it on a website to a wider audience than ever before.
The bad news is that you probably have too many choices, and not nearly enough time in the day to do what you do best...which is interior design!
Every business and entrepreneur is different. Whether you want to outsource your interior design photography and/or website design needs or more vertically integrate these efforts, this article explores some considerations in either situation, and offers some (hopefully) helpful suggestions.
Buy Your Own Photography Equipment
Interior designers often outsource their photography needs to professional real estate photographers, such as Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design. But there may be instances where it makes sense for the interior designer to vertically integrate his/her advertising effort and take photographs themselves. Below is a checklist of some things you will need to buy and how much they may cost before you can do this to create photographs worthy of your interior design work:
You will probably need to spend at least ~$3,000 up-front to buy a newer and higher-quality DSLR camera, two decent camera lenses (minimum), a tripod, external flash and lighting accessories, and flash storage. If you really want to make an investment in more professional-grade equipment, this can easily run 2-4 times as much in terms of your required capital.
You will want a high megapixel camera (i.e., an iPhone won't cut it) in order to maximize the quality and pixel content of the image, even when the photo is cropped.
The camera you buy should also have a wide ISO range for low-light and shadowy room situations and be capable of remotely controlling external flash and lighting set ups, if needed.
You will also want both a super-wide angle camera lens (e.g., capable of 20mm or less), as well as a wide-angle zoom lens (say 20-70mm). For interior design photography, I personally prefer high quality zoom lens to prime (fixed) focal lengths, since you never know how much space you will have to play with in a given room, and a zoom lens can capture more or less of the room when you need it.
In addition to money, you will also need to spend the time to learn how to use the equipment. Even if you could read the camera book from beginning to end in one day, you will not yet know how to use your camera to its fullest capabilities, as different situations will require different settings. Simply put, you cannot expedite and compensate for that which requires experience. That said, after some trial and error with your new equipment, you will gain an increasing appreciation for how camera and lighting settings can change the outcome of your interior design photography. It is impossible to assess a price tag on your time and patience quota for figuring out what work best in every interior design photography job -- only you can do that!
You will need a good computer with an above-average monitor and graphics processing power. It is not advisable to upload your photos as-is for use on your website and advertising materials, as you will undoubtedly pick up "noise" or pixelation in the photos around darker parts of the room that really degrade the appearance of your interior design work. No matter how good you get at photographing your interior design work, you will need some sort of regular post-processing capability and skill. To do it right, you will want a full-fledged computer with a large viewing screen (I use and recommend a 27" Mac from Apple) so you can more easily see and fix problems with your photos that you could never see on a smaller screen. Which leads me to the last point...
You will also need to invest in professional-grade photo post-processing and organizational software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which will cost minimally another $120/year (Adobe now requires an ongoing subscription to gain full access to their software capabilities, though it is their Photography plan is affordable and worth the price, in my opinion). Again, you will also need to invest many days of the year to get up the learning and efficiency curves with these software applications as well, especially if you have never used them in the past.
Set Up (or Improve) Your Interior Design Website
If you are already running or considering starting up a serious interior design business, I probably do not need to tell you that it is important to have an online presence with samples of your work and ways for potential customers to reach you.
Today, you can launch a minimal website presence though sites like Houzz.com, and it won't cost too much in terms of time or (incredibly) any money to do it! This is a great way to get started and to increase your exposure.
However, when using a free third-party site, there are obviously many limitations imposed on the look and feel of your site, not to mention its content and functionality. Your potential added value to clients also can be heavily diluted by the myriad of other interior designers offering their services on the same platform, and one click away from your site.
As your business grows (and probably before it does), you are going to want to have your own dedicated website that you can customize yourself and make it your own. Today, there are an overwhelming number of choices for building a website yourself -- all of them require varying degrees of time, money and skill to make them worthy of your interior design business. You may also already have a website that you set up a few years ago that needs to be refreshed or redone to keep up with your constantly changing competition.
The possible choices here are many, potentially expensive, and well beyond the scope of this article. But for those wondering, I built my own business website on the Wix platform, which provided me nearly complete flexibility on the look, feel, content, and capability of my site, and I could launch it initially for FREE (yes, that includes no monthly hosting fees). The only initial cost was my time. Wix also continues to innovate and improve. They are a well-financed publicly-traded company and are completely vertically integrated, so everything you need is provided to you all in one place (i.e., no scouring the web for the right plug-ins, add-ons, and wondering who will support you in a time of need!). In fact, I loved Wix so much that I became a Certified Wix Webmaster so I can create websites on behalf of others professionally.
Let Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design Do The Work For You!
I equally admire entrepreneurs who prefer to in-source some of their business needs themselves, and those who realize the limitations of their time and/or skill and prefer to outsource some facets of their business needs. To use an analogy, it comes down to whether you prefer self-parking or valet service, and how much your time is worth to you.
If you have read part 1 and part 2 of this blog installment series, perhaps you have gained a better appreciation of the time and money required to vertically integrate your photography and website design efforts for your interior design business.
If you do find yourself in need of assistance with your interior design photography or website design, consider Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design as the valet service for all of your needs. Let Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design remove the burden of dealing with your interior design photographs or website from your shoulders.
Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design specializes real estate photography, including interior design. All of the expensive professional-grade photography equipment and software has been purchased already on your behalf. And best of all, there is no time invested on your part trying to get up the learning curve on how to use it all. So you can effectively rent out both the equipment and the knowledge of how to use it, as you need it!
As a "full-service" photography provider, Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design can not only takes professional, print-grade photographs of your work, but can also help design a comprehensive business website for your business. Or, if you not sure what you need, Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design can act as an unbiased website consultant to you about what might work best for your business needs when it comes to your online website presence options and potential expenditures. Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design gets paid only by the client for what is in the best interest of the client.
Matthew D'Alto Photography & Design offers a variety of options to help interior designers set up or improve their photographs, online advertising, and website design efforts. Write or call anytime to review your situation, potential options, and pricing.
is a Norwalk, Connecticut-based photographer that provides full-service photography serving the corporate and real estate needs of customers in the greater Connecticut and New York markets.
Click here to receive more information about the photography services provided, contact information, or to receive a free estimate for the photography work you are considering.