Telling the Story of a Design

I recently accepted the challenge of photographing a naked kitchen. Here’s how I did it.

Way back when I began my career I had a spec builder as a client. He always sent me into empty homes. That experience has served me, and my clients well over the years because it helped me learn to see and photograph design.

San Jose Kitchen with No Styling

I accepted this challenge because I knew my story telling would see me through. A challenge like this requires an open mind, a clear understanding that your subject is not furniture, lamps, rugs, etc. but design, and a sincere appreciation for the creative talent and artistic vision of the designer.

San Jose Kitchen with No Styling

Mastery of composition, and light developed through decades of practical experience photographing interiors helps, too.

San Jose Kitchen with No Styling

In my lectures I always tell designers to remember that stuff is not your design because far too many people try too hard, going to superhuman efforts to make it "look good".  With good design we really don't need a lot of styling. The trick is to know when to stop trying. The goal of styling – like jewelry – is to enhance the design.

San Jose Kitchen with No Styling

The trick is to let the flow of the design, the blending of colors textures be the subject of the image.

San Jose Kitchen with No Styling

With good design to begin with, the right eye, and sensitivity to the artistry of design great photographs can always be had. It's matter of knowing what you're photographing. I succeeded with this challenging project because I can photograph design, not stuff.