Chasing Light & Styling Spaces with Katie Charlotte Photography

Interiors Photographer Spotlight: Katie Charlotte Fiedler of Katie Charlotte Photography

How did you get where you are today?

Since I was a kid, polaroids and disposable cameras were a staple in my back pack.  I’m from Charleston, SC, but moved to Santa Barbara, CA in search of something different. I decided that I wanted freedom from the 9-5 and had always loved photography. I took a few photography classes for fun just to see what I could learn and started seriously immersing myself into all things photography, however, I wasn’t sure which direction to go in.  After about 5 years of living out on the West Cost, I left everything behind and traveled across the country with my dog Bam-Bam to come back home to Charleston. I faced new challenges and began to feel as though photography wasn’t going to get me where I wanted, so I started dabbling in other career choices. Six months later, I woke up and realized that the only way I was going to be happy was if I followed my passion. I quit the job I was in and worked as an intern for Charleston Magazine where I met so many talented people and made a ton of connections. After the internship, I finally started to build my foundation in Charleston as a photographer and can happily say that my business keeps me super busy and I am incredibly grateful!

What’s it like to be a photographer in beautiful Charleston, SC these days?
Charleston is a booming town. With that comes a ton of competition as a photographer, however, it keeps me grounded and gives me motivation to work my hardest. Outside of my business, I feel blessed to live in such a gorgeous town where I can photograph historic downtown, beaches, and old dirt roads all in the same day.  The culture and personality out here is something words cannot describe.
In 140 characters or less, how would you describe your interior photography aesthetic? 

Bright, airy and soft. A client of mine has described my work as “happy” which is fitting I think. I try to embrace the muted Low Country hues of my surroundings to bring a softness to my work and I always focus on where the light plays with the contrast in color palettes.  I’m a sucker for directional light!

How do you market your photography services to interior designers?

There’s a lot that goes on in the business end of photography. Marketing is very important but I think the most successful marketing strategy for me is keeping a strong presence on Instagram. It’s a great platform to showcase my work and make connections with other creatives and leaders in the industry.

Who are some interior designers you admire and enjoy working with?
One of my favorite designers has to be Cortney Bishop, her work is so inspiring; edgy, colorful and diverse.  Cortney really knows how to make a space speak for itself. Her design team is always there to help on shoots and her work ethic is second to none. Melissa Lenox is also a favorite of mine, I love the contrast in her work.  She is always very hands on with each shoot and we keep the laughter and positivity going strong during long days!
What makes it easy to shoot an interior space? What makes it difficult?
I will never say shooting an interior space is easy, but I will say that having a creative hands-on client that allows me to also have creative freedom is helpful. I also love walking into a home with a ton of windows and natural light, it helps add dimension to a space and brings an airy mood into play. What I find challenging in shooting an interior space is styling and making sure each element works well with each other. Whether it be a vase that needs to be moved an inch to the left or a huge sofa that has to go completely, making sure everything in my frame is spatially pleasing is super important to me and I will go to serious lengths to make it all come together in the way I envision it. I tell my clients I double as a furniture mover as well so they know ahead of time that I’m not messing around!
In your opinion, how important is a good-looking portfolio to the success of an interior design firm’s growth and reputation?
I would say it’s just as important for an interior design firm to have a beautifully curated portfolio as much as it is for me to have a good-looking portfolio. What you invest in your business is what you get will back. Your work will speak for itself if you take the time to present it the way you dreamt it. Besides word of mouth, it is the best way for designers to communicate their style; it is their voice to the world.
If you could make a PSA to all interior designers regarding photographing their portfolio, what would you say?

I always say I treat every shoot as if it will be my last, meaning, I work as hard as possible to translate each individual client’s vision through my lens. Also, consistency is key! Keeping a consistent photographic style in your portfolio allows the aesthetic to flow without any distraction, especially when you’re viewing a designer’s website; it holds a somewhat engaging tune to the portfolio.

Why is lighting so important when it comes to photographing an interior? What are the ideal times to photograph?
Lighting is everything. The way the light comes in through a room can completely change the mood of the overall photograph. I love the soft light you get in the morning time; the earlier the better!
How do you typically prep an interior designer for a photoshoot?
I try my hardest to get a time and day for a “walk-through” so that I can see how the light is falling and create a preliminary shot list for the shoot day to go as smoothly as possible. I also ask my clients to put together a “bag of tricks” to pull from. Having props to bring into the shot like flowers, textiles, art, and literature can add interest to the space and is always encouraged. I tend to say less is more, but having options is necessary and I have found that I really love styling.
What are some tips of best practices you can offer interior designers for making the most out of a photoshoot?
HAVE FUN! Long shoot days can be challenging, mentally and physically, so it’s best to keep a positive outlook and remember that it is a team effort that will make it all come together in the long run. Also, having patience is instrumental. Whether it be on location or waiting for the final edited images, it’s important to know that good quality work takes time so rushing the shoot or pushing a tight deadline can hurt the nature of the work.

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