Wow house: how to style (and shoot) your home like a pro
We scrolled through the fabulous portfolio of photographer Ellie Walpole to glean her top tips and tricks for making your interiors stand out.
Take a photo inside your house and chances are it’s going to be less ‘wow’ and more ‘whoa, does it look that bad IRL’? If you’re trying to sell your house, or just raise your Insta interiors game, there’s a few things you need to know before you take that shot. And who better to make your home look straight off the pages of Homes & Gardens than photographer Ellie Walpole, who has worked with the likes of designer brand Neptune, Oxon’s edgy interior designer Harriet Holgate, Holland Green Architects and countless more. Here’s how to shoot like a pro:
1. THROW THE DOORS OPEN
Photos at this time of year are great with the doors thrown wide open – even a few leaves on the floor can look natural and homely. Drape some sheepskins or blankets over the chairs – if you’ve got them to hand, the hygge look is always welcoming.
2. LIGHT THE FIRE
Fire is sometimes hard to capture, especially when you want full daylight in the photo too. If you have gas then the remote control is all you need. With a real log fire, crinkle up some paper, tuck it in and light it for instant flame effect. In this house I wanted to capture glimpses of the hallway, staircase, and the sitting areas on both sides of the window fireplace.
3. LOOKING IN
Pictures from the outside looking in always offer intimacy and on a bright sunny day it can showcase how much light can pour in to your home. Here the delicate palette of colour in the sitting room is complimented by the abundant garden (and looks fantastic with the contrasting copper roof) which is clearly why the client wanted a sitting room in the garden!
3. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FLOWERS
If you can’t find any flowers in the garden then bring in some branches and weave them along the table or sideboard to break up the clean lines. Lights on or lights off? If you shoot with the lights on then do review the balance – it can easily look way too warm.
4. BRING A PET
Pets make great posers. I am frequently followed around by a cat or dog when photographing a house: people want to see a glimpse of the life inside the house, so bring in the pooch.
5. DETAIL, DETAIL, DETAIL
Interior designer Harriet Holgate is such fun to work with. She brings antiques and contemporary furniture together with signature style. Catching just the edges of items and furniture sometimes invites the viewer to look further in.
If you see a table, put something on it! Whether you are styling your home for fun or for sale do look around and bring some colour or texture to a table top. Here I’ve added a glass dish and vase of roses. On a dining table, I often add fruit, a loaf of bread, books and drinks – it all adds colour and life. The key to taking this shot is making sure the edge of the headboard is bang in the middle of the frame.
7. OLD AND NEW
Not many people move house and don’t bring with them something they love, and this is (mostly) for the better. Homes look more evolved with old characterful furniture. The modernising and revival of all things floral by Cath Kidston brought back the love of vintage and chintz and it looks amazing with a classic Mid Century Danish chair or a contemporary IKEA sofa. You may never have wanted your parents sideboard but dress it with some Japanese bowls, sit your laptop on it or hang a fabulous mirror over it and it will look part of your home and will look amazing in the photos!
THE FINAL LOOK…
Put it all together and you’ve got your shot – here interior designer Stella Mannering has sourced furniture items and fabric which are practical for the kitchen dining space but complement her clients’ pre-owned decorative items. The mid-century wishbone chairs are in a mid blue, the rocking horse in the background holds the eye and the table is garlanded with willow from the garden, plus we grabbed a Japanese teapot straight off the nearby dresser. And voilà!