Private Residence by Holly Bender

This was my firstshoot with Holly Bender Interiors – and hopefully not the last. We shot through a long afternoon and into the evening but got a lot of good stuff.

Holly does “traditional” interiors – and damn well. Take a careful look at how she goes with the flow of the architecture in these shots to create an interior that’s both functional and incredibly comfortable. When I first saw the bedroom at the top of this post, I immediately “read” the room from left to right – with a strong grid pattern on the bedside cabinet mirrored by the grid of the windows. And see how the colors work together? These two elements are connected via the “funky” grid of the duvet. Then there’s the overhead light fixture, which somehow reminds me of the Celtic pattern on the pillows. This room is in tune.

I knew I needed to reflect this with the photo, so I made sure to bring in plenty of color in the window, and gave the bed a warm, rich light from the window side, and made the pillows the focal point of the shot.

In the living room, Holly used a large, white, hide rug to mirror the large, white, peaked ceiling. I like the way the irregular perimeter of the rug reminds me of the rafters and trusses as they join the walls.

Again — in the grey boys’ room above, Holly has subtly worked with the architecture. It’s a classic mid-century modern bedroom, and the arrangement of the twin beds follows the corner windows. The connection between the black-and-white patterned spreads and the zebra rug is obvious. The primary color in the room is really the wood floor, so I used light to warm up the cozy little nook in front of the bookcase to accentuate that and pull the eye in.

I’m leaving the master bedroom for your interpretation. A couple of things should jump right out…but like any work of art, you bring your own vision to it, so let your right brain out for a little walk….you may discover something!

9 responses to “Private Residence by Holly Bender

  1. I love your work. It’s so clean and looks so effortless.

  2. The mirror catches my eye. I like how you left the other closet door that is out of view open so that the reflection of the hanging clothes would be visible. Well done. I just started a real estate photography business in the Chicago area and I’m really learning a lot from your blog, your photos, and your writings…thank you!

  3. Great series, Scott.
    Have you moved on to usually using hot lights now?

    • I’d say there’s some continuous lighting happening on most of my shoots at some point….not necessarily every photo, but I pull them out about as often as strobes.

  4. Scott, I was curious about the choice made to have the table lamp and ceiling light on in bedroom shot at the top of this post. From a viewers perspective, it gives the impression that the room a bright day is still too dark, and needs these lights on.

    As a photographer, you’ve made a conscious choice to have these lights on (they don’t really provide any more lighting than what your own lighting is doing. What are the benefits of having these lights on, in the photo? Are there times when you wouldn’t turn on these lights for an interior shot?

    • @ anim8tr — lighting design is part of what a lot of interior designers do, so they usually like to see the luminance. The ceiling fixture in particular wouldn’t have been very attractive if it were off and you wouldn’t have been able to resolve the bulb inside. At the end of the day it’s also an aesthetic decision. This room was not very bright, naturally….but even so, I just like “lights on” more often than not.

      • Okay, well maybe it’s more of a northern climate type topic/concern. Bright natural light, and especially a southern exposure is much preferred where I live because of the long, dark winters. If you have natural light it’s a big selling point in the listing! I was just curious if accentuating natural light might apply to interior photos as well.

        It would be interesting to hear what other photographers from northern climates might say about this topic.

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