Making Your Project Photoshoots Worthwhile with Joyelle West
Joyelle West is an interior and lifestyle photographer, thriving off of the creative energy in Boston. Her bright and clean aesthetic captures the spaces of talented interior designers beautifully. Here, Joyelle emphasizes the importance of a quality portfolio, trusting your photographer, and tips for making the most out of a photoshoot.
Joyelle – how did you get where you are today?
I’m originally from Philly. Out of college, I started a career in public health research, but that’s when I just started getting into photography. I knew I was meant to be a creative professional. After a few years, I moved to Boston and went to photo school, and I’ve never looked back.
What’s it like to be a photographer in beautiful Boston these days?
This city is undergoing a change since I’ve moved here. You can definitely feel the creative energy that people are generating, and it’s an exciting place to be.
In 140 characters or less, how would you describe your interior photography aesthetic?
I strive for a clean, bright aesthetic. Modern yet comfortable.
How do you market your photography services to interior designers?
I get a lot of work through Instagram, designers finding my website, and word-of-mouth.
You’ve worked with very talented interior designers including Ivy Design Firms iD8 Design Studio, BARBARA VAIL, and OH I DESIGN BLOG + STUDIO to name a few. What are the key characteristics you look for in an ideal interior design client?
I love working with positive, energetic designers who are excited about the work they are doing. I get so creatively inspired by the talented designers that I get to work with!
What makes it easy to shoot an interior space? What makes it difficult?
Lighting always plays a huge role. Sometimes the light is perfect, and you don’t need to do much in the way of lighting the room. That’s not often the case, though. Usually, there’s light and light modifiers involved. And, New England can be so dark for several months out of the year, so I’m always lighting spaces to make them look bright and airy. Also, in New England, we are always dealing with tight spaces and tiny rooms. I’m often jammed up into a corner on all of the shoots that I do.
In your opinion, how important is a good-looking portfolio to the success of an interior design firm’s growth and reputation?
In all honesty, I think professional images go a long way. There’s so much imagery out there right now, that having your images on a higher level is what makes them stand out. It helps attract more clients, and it helps with getting published (which leads to more clients).
If you could make a PSA to all interior designers regarding photographing their portfolio, what would you say?
I love when my clients have a clear sense of what they want out of the photoshoot, but in terms of the exact angles of the shot, trust the photographer’s eye. Sometimes, what a designer has in their head doesn’t quite “read” in the photo, and the photographer will have the best sense of that. It could also be the difference of a shot getting published versus getting glossed over.
What are your go-to props for an interior photoshoot?
Always plants! They add so much life. Also, pillows, throws, books, flowers, fruit and vegetables.
How do you typically prep an interior designer for a photoshoot?
I have a checklist that I send to designers on how to clean the space (a clean room saves so much time on a shoot, which means more time for photos), and how to prep the space for styling. The prep can be tough, especially on newer designers. It’s a lot of work! But it does get easier with time, when you know what to expect.
What are some tips of best practices you can offer interior designers for making the most out of a photoshoot?
Photoshoots are time and money, so to get the most out of your investment. Being prepared is so key. Being prepared means more time for more photos, and photos we don’t have to rush through.
1) Clean, clean, clean. I definitely don’t mind helping to clean the set, but there’s a lot more time for photos when me and my assistant don’t have to spend time wiping, windexing, sweeping, etc.
2) Start the staging ahead of time. Remove things that won’t be in the photo, and have furniture set the way you want it. If you are changing things up for a photoshoot (e.g., trying a different coffee table), have that figured out ahead of time so we save time moving big pieces in and out of the room.
3) Try to have props figured out ahead of time. I love helping to style a set, but having it at least halfway there saves so much time. Which leads to #4…
4) Bring extra props, more than you think you’ll need. I love to help you style the room, and sometimes we need “just that one extra thing” to make the photo complete.
5) Bring help! Even if you’re just starting out and you run your business solo, see if you can enlist a colleague or a friend to just pitch in for the day. My assistant and I do everything that we can to help designers on a shoot, but when we’re tweaking lights or figuring out light modifiers, you’ll appreciate that fourth set of hands.
Here at Ivy, we’re more than just an interior design software. Our mission is to provide interior designers with the community, resources and tools needed to manage your business beautifully. Are you searching for a business management tool to help streamline your workflow as an interior designer?