By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

How to Take Portfolio-Level Photos Using Your Smartphone – with Expert Linda Holt

Featured on the Show:

  • Find out more about Linda Holt by visiting her website here

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • The pros and cons of the iPhone 14

  • Understanding lighting for portfolio-level photos

  • What to know about hiring a professional photographer

I am so excited to once again have my friend Linda Holt with me today!  If you haven’t heard her first episode, you definitely want to go check that out here.

Today I wanted to take a deep dive into professional portfolio-level photos. That is something all designers really struggle with, myself included! 

Linda shares so many actionable tips on photography. When I saw her IG story about how she is adding more content to her course about taking portfolio photos for yourself and breaking down all the scary components that can hold you back, I knew I had to have her on!

Linda Holt is a former professional photographer. She is no stranger to merging her creative eye with her esthetic appeal. She has worked with more than five thousand celebrities, actors, and models as one of Boston’s top commercial headshot photographers. That was her former life! Today, she uses her skilled photographic eye to help homeowners create a stylish, fresh, and relaxed home that is reflected of their unique personality and lifestyle. She has put away her heavy DLSR cameras and now shoots exclusively with her iPhone and Samsung phones. She has become an expert in both iPhone photography and smartphone photo editing. After successfully teaching smartphone photography workshops in and around Boston, she created an online photography class solely for interior designers, stagers, and creatives called Smart Phone Photography for Interior Designers. 

Linda not only knows her stuff behind the camera but also in the design field!

In today’s episode, we start by discussing the new iPhone 14 for taking your portfolio-level photos. If you’ve recently invested in it, as I have, you’ll want to hear Linda’s excellent tips and knowledge on the pros and cons of this phone.  

(This is definitely something you’ll want to hear if you’ve been thinking of upgrading your iPhone.) 

Linda shares how she has evolved what she teaches based on interior designs reaching out and asking what to do when there isn’t interior lighting in a bathroom or a basement with no windows. “As smart as a smartphone is, it can’t make your room look lit if it’s not,” she says. 

If a professional were coming in to shoot something like that, they would bring lights. So she decided to add that to her course. Linda shares what she uses for photo shoots that need lighting. “It’s easy, affordable, and lighting does not have to be complicated!” says Linda. 

I asked Linda what her opinion was on lamp lights. I see both and wonder, why do you see both? Should the lights be on or lights off? Linda says, “Always, lights off. Because whatever temperature bulb is in the table lamps, floor lamps, or overhead ceiling lights, you’re going to get that color cast, and you’re not going to have a white balanced photo.” 

There are very specific scenarios where Linda explains a light can be turned on. Such as in a dining room with a chandelier – with a dimmer. Turn the dimmer all the way down. It will add a little bit of ambiance. If the room is too dark and you can’t shoot it, that’s when you bring in supplemental lighting. 

“Having on your table lamps, floor lamps, or ceiling lights is going to make your photos look so unprofessional and is going to turn off any client looking through your portfolio to hire you. Bad lighting and crooked lines are dead giveaways that you’re not worth the money you’re charging.” 

You really want your photos to match your level that you want to charge your clients. So you’re photos need to look as professional as you are!

If you do hire a professional photographer, there is some tricky language in their contracts as far as ownership and licensing agreements. So if designers are lucky enough to be published or put photos towards a competition, there are a lot of restrictions that have to be dealt with in order to use photos that you paid for. 

The bottom line is – if you don’t take the photo – you don’t own the photo.

Taking your own photos takes getting over your own fear of “I don’t have training. I don’t know what I’m doing.” The phones are so smart, all you have to do is aim it and make sure the lighting is right!

This is such an important conversation to have and one that you’re going to want to take notes on so that you can be more confident in taking your own photos that are portfolio worthy. 

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