For interiors photographer, Rebecca Frick, an appreciation for the comfort of home has always been an innate part of her being. She realized her dream career on a journey through the arts, landing on the art of capturing interiors—and oh, she does it so beautifully. We tapped the woman behind the lens to glean everything from how she starts her days to what inspires her creative soul. She’s also sharing her top three tips for interior photo shoots below and they’re gold! Dive on in…
Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming an interiors photographer and the inception of Rebecca Frick Photography. How and when did you realize this was your dream job?
My journey to interiors has been a very long one. I studied Fine Arts in University, exploring everything from drawing and painting to conceptual installation art. But as a student of ‘art’ there was a bit of stigma about pursuing the more commercial arts (photography and graphic design specifically). So although I really valued the growth I experienced as a creative person during that time, I had very little real-world employment prospects once I graduated. Despite the fact that I had been guided away from the commercial arts, I always loved photography.
So, very shortly after I finished my degree I decided to go back to school—this time to pursue a Technical Photography Diploma. And right after that, a Visual Communications Diploma. Work came from there. I continued on the commercial photography path for nearly a decade and a half, but about 2 years ago change happened and presented an opportunity to head in an entirely new direction photographically. And that direction turned out to be Interiors.
I really love design and interior aesthetics. I’ve often said that if I wasn’t a photographer I’d be an interior designer, so this niche has turned out to be a great fit for me. I also love the pace of shooting interiors. Although it’s challenging work it’s a pace that allows for a lot of thoughtful consideration especially compared to the hectic and stressful pace of working in the world of mass image production. And, what photographer wouldn’t want to spend their days capturing beautifully designed spaces!
When it comes to your shooting style and process, what inspires your work?
I’ve always been really sensitive to how light fills a space. I used to come home from grade school and go around to every single window in the house adjusting the blinds and curtains to make the light just right in every room. Weird, right? But as a photographer, you learn that the most important thing to consider when shooting is the light. Even though composition is important, you can shoot the exact same image of a space in the morning, or in the afternoon, or on a sunny day, or on a cloudy day, and depending on the light, everything about the image can change. Oftentimes the light really dictates the angles you choose to shoot. So, basically I just look for the best light, or in some cases, I create or enhance it… either while shooting or in Photoshop afterward.
What do you love most about capturing interiors specifically? Do you find that you gravitate toward a certain design style or type of designer?
I think what I like most about Interiors is bringing out the mood of a space. Every room has a certain feel, and that feel isn’t always good. Well designed spaces feel right though. Any designer (or design enthusiast) that can create a captivating feel and mood in a space is someone I’d be happy to work with.
There has been a lack of Black representation in the art and design world. As a Black photographer, can you share your personal experience in the industry?
There is so much to say on this issue and although this isn’t a story about my personal experience, I think it’s worth sharing. Until this month, Vanity Fair Magazine had never had a Black artist photograph one of their covers before. And certainly not for lack of qualified talent. Including talent that was known to them. Their inaugural Black cover photographer Dario Calmese is a visual director and curator with a master’s degree from School of Visual Arts and although he has shot for Vanity Fair before, neither he or any other Black artist had ever been awarded the cover until now. In fact his stunning portrait of Viola Davis for Vanity Fair was his first major magazine cover – ever. To me, this is truly unbelievable. How can qualified talent like this be overlooked?
I read a quote from Bryan Mason of AphroChic recently: “You don’t have to be conscious of a systemic problem to perpetuate it, but you do have to be conscious in order to stop it.” What would you say to others who are looking to effect change within themselves and the industry?
That’s a great quote, and it’s completely true. Identifying and acknowledging the problem of racism is step number one. In fact, when I saw that you were starting to publicly address the lack of diversity on HAVEN, I felt it would be a great time to connect with you. I’ve been aware of The List for quite some time, and I’ve actually hesitated to reach out because, for the most part, it seemed to represent a certain demographic exclusively. A demographic I didn’t really feel I fit into. I truly believe that although a lack of diversity wasn’t your intent, I think you’d agree that the part of the quote above that says “you don’t have to be conscious of the problem to perpetuate it” applies to HAVEN. I believe you know that, and I personally feel like it’s important to support and create a dialog with businesses like yours that are becoming conscious and committed to continuing this really important conversation. I hope that will become a priority for you and others in a meaningful way going forward.
Do you have any favorite podcasts/books/resources that you’ve discovered during these past few months of change in our world that you recommend?
I’m all about the racial justice educators, anti-racist educators, and authors like @rachelricketts, @rachel.cargille, and @ibramxk, but I also gravitate toward the content coming from Black mental health professionals who often speak directly to the self-care needs of Black people like @minaa_b, @blackandembodied and @thenapministry. I seek out this kind of content each and every day, multiple times a day and I encourage everyone out to find the resources that speak to them and do the same. I continue to learn so much about the mountain of work there is for everyone to do no matter what side of the conversation they are on. But I’m also learning about the unique needs I have as a Black woman trying to cope through this really challenging time. What I read and listen to might look different from what someone else chooses or needs to read or listen to.
What does your morning routine look like? What are a few things you do to get your day started off on the right foot?
I try to walk every morning with my dog. I throw on my headphones and either listen to music, a podcast or an audiobook. I usually aim for at least 5000 steps , and I have a few routes that I like to take through my neighborhood that I know will get me there. Usually by the time I get home my husband has made coffee – because let’s be honest THAT is what really starts my day off on the right foot.
We often see the beautiful results of a photoshoot. Can you give us a behind the scenes synopsis of what a shoot day looks like?
A shoot day is like any workday. There are moments where things flow beautifully and there are moments of struggle. Photoshoots can be messy. You’d be surprised at the mess of props and equipment that can accumulate out of frame. It can be overwhelming for the average person to witness… and speaking of, it’s always best to ask the homeowner to head out for the day. It can be difficult for people to see their stuff being moved and their space being taken over. Plus homeowners can be distracting to designers who may feel like they have to chat and engage with their client.
What are your top three tips for a successful interior shoot?
Never rush: I think that’s really the most important thing. Allow ample time for every shoot you do. Interior photography requires keen observation, thought, and patience. My process involves being sure I have captured everything I need on camera (any multiple exposures, images to source shadows/light from, details in window views, etc) so that I can piece any of the parts I need into one final image. It is very rare that any final image I present to my client is exactly as it was in one camera exposure. Not all photographers work this way, but all photographers need time.
Be prepared: Share images of the space you plan to capture with your photographer before they photograph it. Or better yet, allow them to scout it in person. If a scout isn’t possible, communicate with your photographer which direction the rooms in the house face especially if they shoot with predominantly natural light. Don’t just assume that if there is more light in a room that the photographer will have an easier time. In many cases the sunnier the scene, the more difficult it is to shoot. Once your photographer has seen the space and has a sense of the light they might encounter throughout the day they can help you decide what time of day the shoot should be scheduled based on their lighting requirements.
Be there and be flexible: My favorite shoots are the ones where collaboration happens on the shoot day with the designer. Two sets of eyes are always better than one. That said, sometimes what looks best in your design has to be altered for the camera. Trust that if a photographer has a suggestion, they are making it so they can capture the best very images for you – even if it involves moving furniture.
Love what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Photography: Rebecca Frick Photography