Five Tips for Taking Better Photographs!

Royal Design Studio shares tips for taking better photos

Imagine having a fantastic decorative finish or a stencil project and the photographs don't do them justice. Does that sound familiar? Beautiful design deserves gorgeous photographs that not only enhance your portfolio but also showcase your talents. At Royal Design Studio, we understand that there are many aspects to photography, from learning the basics of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed for your camera to using a tripod to applying Photoshop to enhance the images.  Styling an image is also very important as it will create a more engaging photo.  Some of the facets of great design photograph are balanced composition, pleasing eye path, beautiful color, good lighting and an interesting subject.  Here are our five tips for crafting a great photograph that draws the viewer in and creates great engagement.

Using Perspective and Depth to create an engaging three-dimensional photograph

Tip 1: Think 3D - An image is flat and it is up to us to create perspective by adding depth. The trick is to create a visual journey by drawing the eye around and through a room.  Some great ways to add depth is to open doors into other spaces and display colorful placements of flowers, fruit and design elements in various areas to add perspective. Think about what you would do if you needed to create a three-dimensional movie within the room and then adjust the room in order to create that snap image. Note that while this image incorporates an interesting angle and perspective, all of the vertical architectural elements, i.e, columns, walls are plumb. Even a slight tilt in the vertical elements of the room would cause the viewer to feel uncomfortable-as if they are slightly off-balance.

Using Odd Number Groupins for a Great Photograph | Mykonos Trellis Stencil by Royal Design Studio

Tip 2: Odd Numbers - Grouping design elements in odds within a room creates harmony and visual interest. They can also be more appealing and effective in a photograph than even-numbered pairings. Within a grouping, there should also be a hierarchy of varying heights and shapes, such as the elements showcasing the Mykonos Trellis Stencil. Grouping like design details with the same materials and color is also very pleasing to the eye.

Using the Rule of Thirds to Take the Perfect Photograph

Tip 3: Rule of Thirds - Imagine breaking an image down into nine equal segments with two vertical and two horizontal lines. With this grid, the Rule of Thirds now identifies four important parts of the image, the interesecting lines. Studies have shown that when viewing images, people's eyes naturally go to one of the intersecting areas naturally rather than to the center.  Placing your points of interest along these lines or intersections as you frame your image will allow you to use the Rule of Thirds for a more organic, balanced result. Not following this rule will not make your photograph dull and unbalanced, but note that there is a certain "energy" to using this imaginary grid.  Our suggestion is to play with it while photographing and cropping to determine if it's a good rule for you.

Balance, Contrast, Color and Symmetry in Photographs

Tip 4: Balance with Contrast, Color & Symmetry - Opposites attract! Tell a story with the placement of color and textures by balancing mixtures of Smooth and Rough, Shiny and Matte, Dark and Light or Neutrals with Color or Patterns.  Energy is created with contrasting elements and symmetry. Always keep in mind that as you shift elements to balance and style a photograph, it may look terrible in real life but amazing in the context of a photograph. Take several shots and experiment to get the balance in contrast, symmetry and color that work best.

Using Life and Movement to add interest and energy to a photograph

Tip 5: Life & Movement - A photograph should also have a "heartbeat". For instance, people and pets in photographs add life to the image and you can use the design elements to your advantage as well. A stack of magazines can be slightly "messy" to indicate someone has been there or books can be set in different directions.  Plants and flowers are great additions as well.  Newspapers that look read, or pretty shoes or even towels that are draped and not rolled are just some of the elements that add a human essence to your photograph.



A portfolio of photographs should showcase your work at its best -- not just the before and during work, but also after the project is completed and all the design elements are in place.  If you are a working artist, it is imperative to take the time to return to your client's home to take those complete design images. These photographs not only enhance the versatility of your portfolio, but also adds a professional tone to your client presentations and increases the chances of your promotion, marketing and press work yielding increasingly successful results.  Don't forget watermark your photographs, too!  We hope this has helped you! Be sure to send your gorgeous photographs with our wall and furniture stencils to projects(at) or share them on the Royal Design Studio Facebook page.

Photographs by Steven Meisel, Caccoma Interiors, Trey Ratcliff & Fabio Montalto via Photography Mad.

Images to inspire your next stencil project!


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