Tips from a master interior photographer

One of my responsibilities (perks) of being the new home consultant for Merrimack Valley Magazine is that I am to be present on all of the photos shoots for the featured homes. Yesterday I had the honor and privileged of meeting and working with one of New England’s top interior photographers, Eric Roth. I have known of Eric for years and I even own Frank Roop’s design book The New Bespoke of which Eric did all the photography. So you can imagine my excitement to see him in action.

Eric Roth at work

Eric Roth at work

As a former photographer myself,  I imagined that he would show up with multiple rolling carts of lighting equipment and an entourage of assistants…nope, just Eric and his camera. In full disclosure he did have an enormous canvas bag that he left by the door (the size of which I would probably use if I was going to Europe for six months), but other than his camera he took nothing from the bag. Eric is down to earth, nice as can be, and was so gracious to share his top photography tips for taking the best interior shots.

Here they are directly from the master:

1. Use a camera that has a wide angle to telephoto zoom lens. You will use the wide angle a lot for overall room shots, and you can zoom in for details. The camera should also have exposure settings to lighten or darken your picture.
2. For extra quality on interior photos, use a tripod and a lower ISO setting on your camera.
3. Simplify a busy room. What looks normal to the eye will probably look cluttered in a photo. Conversely, if the room is very stark, add some warmth with flowers or fruit.
4. Include a window or windows in the photo. They add depth and glow. The photo may come out dark with a normal exposure setting on the camera. That’s because the camera is getting so much window light, it is compensating and darkening the room. You can correct this by lightening the exposure setting on the camera.
5. Turn off the lights. I know it’s counter-intuitive to turn lights off for a picture, but they usually give you ugly yellow bright spots. Also, If there is a window behind the camera, you may want to close the curtains or blind. This will reduce the flat light and will let the other windows give your lighting more drama.
A few more observations that I made.
1. Eric walked the room first, deep in thought as he looked at different angles and features of the room before he took a single shot.
2. Eric photographed the same thing from several different angles and vantage points (both low and high).
3. Eric would preview the image and then adjust the photo by moving things around as needed…even if only an inch or so.
4. Eric uses a Canon (I know everyone wants to know what type of camera a master uses).
5. Eric has an assistant who is a wiz at Photoshop; important in order to make final adjustments if lighting or exposure is not perfect or things need to be corrected…which they ALWAYS  do.
Linda Holt Photography

Linda Holt Photography

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the home’s interior until the article comes out in April but here is a view of the wrap around deck off the master bedroom. It is truly an incredible home.
We all know that poor photography can ruin even the most beautifully designed room and given the choice, we would all hire a master like Eric at the end of every project. When time and budget don’t allow though at least it’s good to have a few tips to take better photos on our own.
Don’t you agree professional photography makes all the difference?


7 Responses to Tips from a master interior photographer
  1. Sherry Reply

    Love this, Linda! Thanks for posting!

  2. Susan siefer Reply

    WOW! How exciting for you. Cannot wait to see the article.

  3. Sheila Zeller Reply

    Great tips! Thanks so much for taking the time to share Linda!

  4. Kelly Rogers Reply

    Isn’t Eric a gem (both professionally, obviously, and as a person)? And always willing to share his expertise. I’m a big admirer. Thanks for this post! Hope you can share the spread once it is published; I don’t subscribe to this magazine.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Hi Kelly, I totally agree about Eric. yes, I will share the link once it is published. The house is quite modern and very unique.Also, the homeowners did it all on their own so that makes it even more impressive.

  5. Livia Reply

    Great tips, excellent observations Linda! I feel like taking pictures right NOW!

  6. Myriam Jacopille Reply

    What a fabulous post Linda, thank you so much for sharing your tips and experience with Eric! As a former photographer myself I’m always curious about how the best shots are achieved – and am especially interested in local folks doing their thing. Great article!

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