The Open House in Rye, New York

Michele Green, a talented interior designer, and her business partner Barbara Sperling, recently opened The Open House in Rye, New York. The store sells stylish furniture and home decor to discerning clients. I had photographed interiors that Michele designed for her website portfolios on, and she asked me to make photos of her store to use in promotions as well as portraits for publicity purposes.

We began the day-long photo shoot with two portraits with a wardrobe change. We then moved on to do an overall shot of the store and two vignettes. It turned out to be much more difficult to arrange than photographing rooms in the homes Michele had designed. We generally photograph the rooms as they are with just a little bit of styling to make them perfect for the photo. All the unused equipment can be placed in another room. In the case of the store, we had to rearrange everything for each shot, with no place to put all the extra merchandise but behind us, and there wasn’t much room for that. In addition, the store is purposely cluttered with far more stuff than a residential room.

Despite the challenges, I think the photos came out pretty well. I lit the portraits with two Canon Speedlites in softboxes. The interiors used mostly available light which streamed in through large windows on two sides of the store. You’ll notice that the window on the far left of the photo above is covered with a scrim on the outside. The parking lot you could see through the window just wouldn’t do. This was another case where gaffer’s tape (to hang the scrim) saved the day!


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