I've just completed a shoot I'm really excited about. A couple bought a dilapidated 1960s house in Woking, Surrey and completely transformed it into a modern oasis in the suburbs with cutting edge style and interior design.
Ed Peers and his wife Beth, are long time friends of mine. Ed is a highly celebrated destination wedding photographer with a passion for music, travel, interior design and architecture. Oh, and he has a degree in aerospace engineering!
Ed collaborated with architect Jonny Poland and contractor Ascentia Consulting Ltd to completely remodel an old 1960s detached house in Woking, Surrey. The ground floor was transformed into an open plan space (open right the way through to the rear of the house) with a huge two-piece window at the rear giving a panoramic view of the garden, hillside and houses beyond. The lower ground floor was extended out to create the living area and Ed's office. This space has floor to ceiling sliding glass doors leading out to the landscaped garden, which features a concrete seating area, gas fire, water feature and a corten-steel sculpture at the end of the garden which acts as an amazing focal point.
For the interior, Ed did all the design work himself. Inspired by his travels to Scandinavia and Japan, he wanted to keep a very minimal, natural aesthetic, trying to make the most of natural light, textures and indoor planting, to further enhance that indoor-outdoor connection. Some of the most interesting interior design features are the custom made coffee station in the kitchen (Ed considers himself a bit of a coffee connoisseur), the mix of different woods used on each of the different levels of the house and the decorative tungsten lighting. On a smaller scale, I love the perforated holes against the back window by the dining table that let heat escape from the hidden radiator, the view of the olive tree out of the front window and the high-end black light switches and plug sockets that just shows how much thought has been put into this house. The end result of all these little touches is pretty stunning.
The aim of the shoot was to capture the essence of the house and interior design, showing off the architectural features as well as the interior details and finishes.
I wanted to honour Ed's wish to show the house looking as natural as possible, showing off how it looks in natural daylight during the day, and how the carefully designed lighting scheme completely changes the mood of the house during the evening. I wanted to avoid the overuse/insensitive use of artificial light at all costs and just use flash to enhance what was already there.
Composition wise, the clean lines of the house favoured one point perspective (straight-on) viewpoints in a large number of cases, although there were times when a 2 point perspective (3/4 angle) did a better job at conveying the space.
In the bedrooms, bathrooms and main ground floor, I opted to use as much natural daylight as possible, only bringing in flash to even out the exposures and fill in shadows or to accentuate what the natural light was already doing so that it could be picked up by the camera.
I continued with this method in the lower-ground space, but as the light fell in the evening, I began to turn my attention to the lighting scheme. For these evening interior shots, I used flash extensively to add crispness to the images and replicate what the lighting scheme was doing already. I blended many exposures together to create the final images.
Finally, as night approached, I created two twilight/dusk photos, which I felt would show off the garden looking at it's best. The corten-steel sculpture and concrete seating areas were already lit, and the fire added a nice warm glow to the scene. I then used flash to fill in the dark areas and pick out elements of the design I wanted to highlight by adding shape and texture to the image. In particular, I added light to the planting, aiming to embellish the interior glow from the house and make the photos look closer to what the human eye really sees.
As a photographer, Ed is a very discerning client, however he was very pleased with the results, noting that the process of architectural and interior photography is a very different discipline to wedding photography in that it is far more precise and technical. I would agree with him, however I would also say that there are a few key similarities in that we are both telling a story over the course of a day, taking in the big hero shots, as well as showcasing those little details and unseen things to give you a true picture of what's going on.
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Client: Ed Peers (homeowner)
- Architect: Jonny Poland
- Contractor: Ascentia Consulting Ltd
- Concrete flooring: Concreate