“It’s the person behind the camera not the kit”
– Anthony Harrison
We had a guest speaker come in called Anthony Harrison who is an editorial interior designer, he spoke to us about his work as an interior designer, how he does what he does, what to think about when you’re on a shoot and the equipment that he uses.
Anthony uses additional lighting when on his shoots to fill in any space that may be too dark, using these additional lights will even out the light as well as creating shadows, which could be useful for the shoots. He has a stylist set up his shots and they accompany him on most of his shoots. The stylist mainly arranges the room that is being shot by placing objects onto the table, for example cutlery, plates and bowls. They also may include flowers or candles which would fill in the blank space that may be in the shot. As well as filling in the blank space, candles would also give extra light to the shot and with the various objects on the tables and surfaces the shot would look more homely which is important to give the photographs an atmosphere and feel to them, as well as making them visually more interesting, which is useful for the magazines.
Because the photographs are focusing on the interior and the certain room that is being photographed the windows tend to be overexposed and burnt out as then you can’t see the outside through the windows and it keeps the focus mainly on the room. The use of natural light could also compliment the shots so having the windows burnt out it gives the look of bright sunny weather, which is helpful when setting the atmosphere and feel of the room and moment.
Anthony also spoke to us about property release forms which are extremely important when photographing houses and interiors as you need the owner of the properties permission to photograph their house before doing the shoot.
Here is an example of what a property release form would look like:
Anthony Harrison has done interior shoots in many different styled houses, in may different rooms and many different countries, he shown us examples of these photographs when presenting in the lecture.
He shot these photographs in Savoie in the French Alps, the first photograph is a shot he did of the balcony of the house from outside of the house, showing the structure of the balcony and what it looked like from the outside. The second shot is from inside the house, photographing the balcony and the view you can see from the balcony. The third photograph is another shot of the view from the balcony but focusing on the view itself rather than the balcony and the interior of the house.
I think the balcony shot work very well as the use of the bottle of wine and the glasses helps set a mood to the photograph but then also the background helps set the mood and is very interesting with the view of mountains and snow and the sets the scene of where the house is. Also the composition works well, only showing part of the balcony and having the deckchair there on the balcony, again setting the mood with the look of the owner relaxing on the deckhair sharing a bottle of wine with their partner or family member while enjoying the view.
Another shoot he has done was in Ibiza where he photographed this modern looking house with a pool. I think straight away the photograph looks interesting just from the style of the house, it looks very luxury.
The first photograph he couldn’t actually photograph himself as the weather wasn’t good enough when he was there so he had paid a client to photograph them for him and had them sent to him.
The second shot, the interior photo he shot himself. I thought this shot looked very simple but also really effective. With the room being white I think it helps the rest of the interior really stand out, for example the door frame, curtains/blinds and the paintings and photographs on the walls.
Also with the other wall being a beige colour it contrasts against the white walls and draws your attention to what it going on in that part of the shot. I think this works really well as in that particular part of the shot you can see the bath tub which is composed really was and also the mirrors and door frame which adds more to the shot as without them I think the photo would look rather blank.
He also photographed a riad in Marrakech which was owned by Jimmy Boyle, a convicted murderer who has now became a sculptor and novelist. I think with the photographs being for magazine features this shot already makes for an interesting story as straight away it has it’s own story with it being owed by Jimmy Boyle.
I think the photograph works really well as there’s a lot of pattern and shape in the shot and it’s framed and composed very well, the use of a birds-eye view from one of the higher floors of the riad helps capture all of the interior of the room.
As well as photographing abroad he has also done shots closer to home. This shot is of a cottage in Devon. I think this shot is really well done as the table being laid and the candles and log fire being on sets the scene of a family meal and again gives that homely feel to the photo which is very effective. Also the log fire being on helps provide extra light for the shot. As well as this I think the chandelier helps make the shot effective as it’s the bright gold colour of the chandelier makes it eye-catching and along with the candles and log fire they set a warm look to the shot which again makes the shot look very homely.
Another shot of his which I think works well is this shot of a kitchen. I think it works well because the kitchen itself and the shot looks very neat and clean, it’s again another rather simple yet very effective shot. The lamp shades look very different as well which I think works for the shot as it’s something you wouldn’t particularly usually see in a kitchen and the orange colour of them stand out against the white of the ceiling and walls. Also it is always quite risky taking shots with reflections as the reflection could possibly interrupt the photo and maybe even ruin it but here I think the reflections are rather clean and don’t interrupt the shot much.
Anthony is commissioned by various magazines, for example IdealHomes and 25 Beautiful Homes to shoot the photos wanted for the magazine articles and features, he gets credit in the magazines for his shots and that’s mostly how he usually works.
Saying that, he also works on speculation which means he goes to various places that he thinks would sell and make a feature and takes those shots, this is all out of his own money so in order to keep working on spec he tries to keep the expenses down and uses the money he gets from having his work featured in magazines on paying towards other on spec shoots. Sometimes he will shoot properties 2/3 months in advance due to accessibility and how the weather may be like in the places that he has to go to in order to get the shots for the feature as bad weather could make it hard to shoot the interiors he needs to shoot.