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Are You Still Using an Instant Camera to Photograph Your Work?

By 07/22/2015November 17th, 20165 Comments

Photos by Maria Killam

Some of you know that I’ve been taking photography and Photoshop lessons for the past year. Now that I can take photos of interiors and Photoshop my own images, I cringe when I look at my previous posts. I used to think I could get away with using my little instant camera. I would still hire a professional to shoot a big project but there are lots of photos that I can take myself now that I couldn’t before I learned how to do it right.

My instructor, Ted, from Omnilargess Photography in Abbotsford, recently moved to a new studio in the Seven Oaks mall.

He asked me to choose colours for him because he had been to my house to give us a lesson, and he said he wanted his office to have a similar look and feel.

And it doesn’t matter how many times I say it on this blog, most people still fundamentally think that once they get their wall colours nailed, everything else will fall into place. It’s just not true.

Getting your walls painted the right colour will still not give you a look and feel. If you have a space that is bothering you, it’s probably missing artwork, accessories, the right area rug, or LAMPS. I have never been hired to decorate a house that already had enough floor or table lamps. (This has nothing to do with recessed lighting, which doesn’t give you atmosphere, anyway.)

So the first question I asked Ted was about artwork. He said he had lots of great nature images that he wanted to display in his new office.

What’s a great backdrop for lots of bright artwork? A pale shade of grey is certainly one good option:


We chose 6071 Popular Gray from Sherwin Williams, which has a slight purple undertone. I also chose a blue for the ceiling, but in the end, it should have been darker because you can barely tell it’s anything but a blue white in this photo (above).


Ted has all his participants take photos of the small photographer figurine that you can see in the middle of the boardroom table (above).

He laughed and said everyone lines up to take their photo during the class.


I arrived with a few more props to help facilitate his lessons. I intentionally chose blue and yellow accessories to tie in with the blues and yellows in the nature artwork.


Now, if he has a student who wants to learn how to take this kind of a photo, he can do it with a cool, vintage motorcycle, for example (above).


Ted loved the blue lamp I bought for his desk. I brought over a few more items when I took photos that day.

A big lesson for any photographer is to learn how to crop an image properly. This photo would have been too hard for me to Photoshop the cords out of (although I’m sure Ted could have done it). Here’s how I handled it:


Much easier to crop it in this case, which makes it a better photo overall.

You’ll notice there is no overall ‘after’ photo of the entire space. That’s because it just wasn’t beautiful in the end. It’s hard to take a really great photo of a space that doesn’t have natural lighting, and I wasn’t in love with the boardroom chairs, although I know they’re comfortable. ; ) ; )

You may or may not have noticed that the boardroom table in every movie or TV show is the same one I have in my studio office. Not the most comfortable, but it sure is sexy.

This summer has been so busy, I am running to keep up! xoxo Maria

P.S. If you are a designer who lives in the lower mainland, DO NOT go one more day without learning how to take better photos. Register here for Ted’s courses.

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

How NOT to Choose Paint Colours (But Everybody Does It)

The Enchanting World of Atmosphere

Does a Sexy, Reasonable but Comfortable Office Chair Exist?

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  • BillP says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the picture of the lake behind the office chair. And I think I would have avoided those chair arms in the desk photo- they look like flying remote controls! But certainly a pleasant office space.

  • Cathy says:

    I am so proud of you for learning how to use your camera and learn about photography! Your photos definitely reflect that. Awesome after photo!

    I need to learn the same thing you have learned. I take photos for painting a picture later. One of my paintings turned out wrong as far as the colors, because my photo was bad.

    Thank you for your post.

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Maria, You inspire me to take a camera course. Your pictures look very professional!

    Did you hang artwork on the window behind the desk? I presume those are windows. I like the accent pieces that you used on the wall. You of course did a nice job.

    Stay cool this summer! We in So. Cal. have had an unusual summer so far with rain that we desperately needed. We are not complaining.

    Look forward to your next post.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Maria, I admire your quest to keep learning. You are an inspiration.

  • Maria, can you share exactly which camera and lenses you purchased and what type of lighting and other accessories you have purchased to get the gorgeous photography results?

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