One of the many reasons I love what I do is that there’s frequently an element of surprise involved. I just completed photographing the San Francisco offices and broadcast studios of Cumulus Corporation for SHP Leading Design out of Cincinnati, and this was the case.

Collaborative Conference Room, Cumulus SF Offices for SHP Leading Design

On the day of the shoot, we were surprised to learn no wall art could be hung on the walls in the studios, offices, or public spaces without approval and supervision from corporate marketing. This posed quite a challenge because ornamentation plays a big part in creating a personable and inviting space.

Fortunately, in the first few years of my career as an architectural photographer a speculative homebuilder had me photograph all of his homes while they were still empty. This unique experience has served me well throughout my career because it taught me to truly appreciate the iconic advice of Mies van der Rohe, “Less is more.”

By adopting this mindset, I create strong compositions by focusing on the critical design elements and geometry of the spaces I photograph, while using dramatic lighting to create visual impact. As I tell people in my seminars on photographing interiors, we need to photograph design not “stuff.” The “stuff,” artwork and knick-knacks,  simply adds to the appeal of an image by creating personality.

Not all the spaces on this project were as stark as this, but this one posed the greatest compositional challenge. I’ll post the other images to the recent work section of my website next week.