A Creative Conversation with an Interior Design Photographer, Tara Carter

As part of my blog, I thought it would be inspiring to talk to people who are in the creative field to find out what they do and how they work. It’s going to be an ongoing series called “A Creative Conversation”. Here’s the first installment.

For an interior designer, having finished projects photographed is an extremely important part of the job. In today’s world, where social media is a mainstay, leveraging it as a marketing tool allows designers to get their work out to the public, as well as having it featured by other individuals or publications. Showing projects in their best light is exactly what an interior’s photographer does for the designer.

Since I started my business several years ago, I have developed a relationship with an interior design photographer. She has photographed all of the projects that are on my website. I also use her photography on all forms of  social media. We have developed a great rhythm with each other where she understands the style of photographs I’m seeking with minimal direction. It’s a relationship that has become a friendship. I really enjoy her company and think you will too.

Tara Carter Photography (11 of 20).jpg

Andi:  Hey, Tara! Thanks so much for agreeing to be the first of my Creative Conversations. Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?

Tara: Hey, Andi! I grew up in Southern Illinois with 2 sisters. I ended up getting my undergraduate degree from Colorado State and went on to complete my Masters in Education from University of Illinois. I got married and moved to Washington, DC where I started as a teacher for preschoolers in Art Education.

Andi: How did you get into photography?

Tara: After teaching for a couple of years, I had my first child and decided to stay home with him. I’ve always been a creative person that has had some kind of creative outlet whether it was cooking, arranging flowers, or art. Photography became that outlet without me even realizing it. I just basically started taking pics of my kids. We were living away from my family and I started a blog so everyone could follow along with us and see the kids as they were growing up.

Andi: How did you get into interior design photography?

Tara: I had a friend that was an interior designer that wasn’t happy with some photographs. She had seen my photographs I had taken of my kids and asked if I could take pictures of a project for her.  I literally strapped my 5 month old child to my back, and went to work. She ended up referring me to another designer and so on. My whole business has been referrals from one designer to another.

Andi: Did you get any kind of training?

Tara: I took some on line classes and played around with my camera. I spent time watching YouTube videos on the mechanics of the industry. Mostly, I’ve learned on photoshoots. I was nervous at first. I thought, I can take pics of my kids, but can I take pics of interiors? The more I practiced and the more jobs I got, the better I was at it.

Andi: What’s the hardest part of photography?

Tara: Learning to edit the pictures has been the biggest challenge. This doesn’t’ come as naturally as setting up the composition of the pictures.

Andi: Why interior design photography?

Tara: Personally, I love design! I love to come into a room and feel inspired by it and actually capture it all on camera. The editing process allows me to highlight parts of the space that lets the image tell a story. I’m bringing those images to life.

2019-05-12 09.36.16 1.jpg

Andi: What inspires you?

Tara: Beauty in food. I have a fig tree in my backyard. Recently, I opened up a fig and saw so much symmetry and beauty. It made me want to capture it in a photograph. I also get inspired when traveling. There are so many beautiful doorways, artwork, and architecture wherever I go with my family that I am constantly wanting to capture them on film.

Andi: Who or what has been your greatest creative influence?

Tara: I recently read a book by Dorothea Lange. She is a famous portrait photographer who took pictures  of migrant mothers. Seeing those portraits was very inspiring. In general, portrait photography inspires me. I admire how a photographer is able to capture the person’s story in one picture.

Andi: What is the best part of your job?

Tara: I love working with clients and developing relationships. Getting feedback and being able to collaborate fulfills me. Going to a place and seeing a project you really love and being able to do it justice is a great feeling.

Andi: What do you enjoy doing away from photography?

Tara: Cooking and traveling. I have a food podcast called “Dinner Sister’s” with a friend where we talk about cooking and eating great food. In fact, I am taking a 4 day cooking class in Vermont very soon.

Andi: What advice would you give someone who is trying to get into interior photography?

Tara:  Take lots and lots of pics. Practice a ton. Try to find a mentor. Don’t be fearful, just jump in. Attend events where you can meet designers to connect and engage for future projects.

2019-03-24 02.35.13 1.jpg

Andi: Give us 3 tips for taking good interior pics.

Tara: First, don’t use a flash. It creates an unnatural and unflattering light. Most of the interior pictures you see are not used with a flash. Although some images are taken with expensive strobe lighting, most are edited to create that ‘natural light’ look. Try to capture the image with no artificial light.  Two, abide by the rule of 3’s. Make sure your pics have 1/3 sky, 1/3 subject and 1/3 foreground. And lastly, practice, practice and practice more. Take pictures of everything to figure out lighting.

Andi: I think that just about covers it! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. If you’re interested in seeing more of Tara’s work, check out her beautiful website at https://taracarterphotography.com.

And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed learning about Tara as much as I loved talking with her. Stay tuned for the next Creative Conversation!

That’s all for now. See ya next time!