Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Tips to Take Better Interior Photos Using Your iPhone

Guest post written by Linda Holt. 

As a former professional photographer I know how challenging shooting interiors can be. Everyone wants good photos but not all designers own a good quality DSLR camera or even the skill to use it. What most designers do have though is an iPhone. I no longer use my DSLR at all. Instead, I have learned how to get the most out of my iPhone camera. Here are five tips so that you too can get the best interior shots possible using the iPhone camera.

1. Hold the phone level. 

This sounds very basic but I can't tell you how many times I watch people take out their iPhone, hold it up at eye level and then tilt it either down or up to take the shot. When the iPhone isn't level the resulting image can appear distorted. Do your best to hold the phone on the same level plane as what you are shooting. This may mean getting down on your knees to shoot a detail on the newly installed custom chair or holding your phone over your head to get a photo of the drapery rod finial.

2. Turn off the in-camera flash. 

The in-camera flash is not your friend and should never be used when photographing interiors. If the room is too dark to get a photo without using the flash then an iPhone tripod is required. A tripod will allow for a longer exposure while keeping the image in focus. Professional architectural photographers will bring additional lighting but use it only when necessary and never…ever… do they use on-camera flash.

3. Properly expose the photo. 

More often than not, interior photos come out too dark when you rely solely on the iPhone to determine the exposure. The problem is, the in-camera light sensor will always expose for the brightest part of the image which is usually a window. This causes the rest of the room to go dark.

When this happens you must manually set the expose. To do this, place your finger on any part of the image that is too dark. Hold your finger there for a second or two and a square yellow box will pop up with a small sun icon off to the right.

Now slide your finger up the phone screen to brighten the image. By using this iPhone feature you can make the image as light or dark as you want simply by sliding your finger up or down the screen.

The window will still be blown out but at least the room will be brighter.

4. Make sure your subject is in focus. 

Just as with exposure, the iPhone will focus on what IT determines is the subject. This might work out fine but it could also result in the painting against the back wall being sharp as a tack but the sofa with the thousand dollars worth of custom pillows in the foreground being blurry. Unless that was the intention all along, you want to control the focus yourself. Similar to exposure, the iPhone has a feature that allows you to decide what part of the image will be in focus.

To set the focus use the same step as above to set the exposure. Touch your finger on the area of the screen that you want in focus. Just like with exposure, a yellow box will appear with a sun icon. Now hold your finger there even longer and the box will begin to flash. After a few seconds the flashing will stop and the focus is now locked directly on your chosen subject.

5. Use an editing app to make your image even better.

All pros use some kind of editing program before the photo is declared finished. One advantage to using the iPhone is that there are so many easy to navigate apps for editing. My app of choice is Snapseed which is both free and user friendly. This app makes it a cinch to tweak exposure, increase contrast or saturation and even straighten out converging or diverging lines. So before you post that image take a minute to import it into Snapseed and take it from a good image to a superior image!

I want to stress that I firmly believe you should hire a professional architectural photographer for portfolio shots or for submission for publication. However, if budget doesn't allow for that or the room is not worthy of the expense of a professional then these five tips will give you the best results possible. You can read more iPhone photography tips on my blog by typing in “iPhone photography” in the search box. Good luck and let me know if these tips improve your photos.

About Linda Holt:

Linda Holt is an interior designer and iPhone photographer living north of Boston. She spent 25 years working as a professional head shot photographer before going back to school for interior design in 2008. Today she uses her skilled photographic eye to create her signature style of fresh, colorful and edited rooms. She is passionate that her designs reflect her client's personality and life style while incorporating her love and expertise with color and art. She started her blog, Linda Holt Interiors, in 2011 as a way to merge her two loves of photography and design.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Look Behind Light Filtering Shades
November 22, 2016 By Tayler Vranicar

If you are searching for window treatments for the first time, or you feel a little fuzzy about all of the various window treatment terminology, you are not alone. From Rollers to Romans to liners to control types, it can be hard to keep it all straight. Let’s take a closer look at choosing the material of your shades, and examine the light filtering options available at The Shade Store.
What does light filtering mean? Light filtering describes materials that allow natural light to “filter in” to the room, maintaining the brightness that comes from having windows while adding a degree of glare reduction and privacy. The light filtering category includes sheers, some types of linen, and other translucent materials. These shades are well suited for kitchens, family rooms, and main living spaces where a great deal of natural light is desired.
This is in contrast to blackout shades, which block natural light either through a more opaque material or an added lining. Blackout shades are often used in bedrooms, media rooms, or other areas where absolute privacy is a priority.
Light filtering shades are very versatile and are available in multiple styles. You can choose which shade is right for you based on the primary needs of your space.
If glare reduction and UV ray protection is important, in an office setting or to prevent furniture and fabrics from fading, Solar Shades are an excellent choice. Solar Shades offer varying degrees of transparency from 1% up to 10%. The 1% material blocks 99% of UV rays and adds more privacy, while the 10% styles block 90% of UV rays, showing a slightly more open weave.
For ease of use and sleek modern style, try Roller Shades in our Light Filtering collection. Choose from 7 materials in more than 60 colors, ranging from muted neutrals to punchy brights like Aqua and Fire. Several styles of prints, including the new designs in The Novogratz collection, also have light filtering properties.
If Roman Shades are more your style, with the elegance and substance of drapery built into a shade, browse the Sheers collection that includes linens, several Sunbrella® Ventana Collection™ materials, and more.
Sign up for a trade account today and enjoy exclusive discounts, access to our C.O.M. program and many other benefits! Sign up here!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Nursery Window Treatments: Baby Styles for Baby Smiles

   Flat Roman Shades. Apartment Therapy/Residents Understood. Photo by Bonnie Sen

Nursery design is an essential part of a new parent’s home. The baby’s room must be calming and soothing to encourage sleep, be comfortable for parents while feeding and playing with their little one, all while being safe and fun for the child as he or she grows.

Here are a few of our favorite nursery designs featuring window treatments from The Shade Store.

Colors to Match Any Décor 
Whether your nursery plan is all neutrals or awash with bright colors, The Shade Store has hundreds of material options to fit your palette. In the photo above featured in Apartment Therapy, the parents opted for a clean, gender-neutral nursery that would grow with their child as their tastes evolved. Kiera Kushlan and Jessica Centella of Washington, D.C.-based interior design firm Residents Understood opted for a mostly white color scheme with decorative accents like an oriental rug. White walls and Flat Roman Shades in dark gray are a timeless combination that could easily work in any style of bedroom.

    Relaxed Roman Shades. Pamela Chelle. Instagram: @pamelachelle

In the photo above from Pamela Chelle Interior Design, the Relaxed Roman Shades pick up on the pink from the sweet floral wallpaper adorning the accent wall. The gathered fabric shades soften the straight lines of the wood blinds.

We also offer a multitude of patterned materials in hues of pink and blue, yellow and green, and every color in between. If you’re still deciding on your nursery décor, order a few (or a lot!) of our free swatches to coordinate your window treatments with the rest of the room.

Blackout Shades to Help With Sleep
Most new parents would agree that they need all the help they can get in the sleeping department. Blackout shades help block evening and morning sun and can even assist in dampening outside sounds, hopefully allowing baby to sleep a little longer. Blackout linings can be added to Roman Shades, and blackout material options are available for Roller Shades, Pleated Shades, and Cellular Shades. In the photo below, interior designer Regan Baker opted for lined Flat Roman Shades with a custom matching Valance.

If your nursery windows tend to be drafty, blackout shades and linings reduce drafts and assist in keeping out the cold during winter months.

    Flat Roman Shades. Regan Baker Design. Photo by Sharon Risedorph.

Safe Shades for Children
When choosing window treatments that will be around children, safety is the number one priority. Dangling cords can be dangerous for little fingers. We recommend cordless shades for nurseries and children’s bedrooms, and our cordless options have been certified Best For Kids by a third party lab recognized by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA).

If you are ready to shop for new window treatments for your bundle of joy, our expert Design Consultants would love to help. Stop in a showroom near you, call us at 800.754.1455, or send us an email at

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sleek Window Treatments with Modern Style

Modern design embraces the minimal, from clean straight lines to geometric shapes and monochromatic rooms to bold pops of color. Whether your entire design embodies a modern aesthetic or you simply want to add a smart window treatment to a single room, shades and custom drapes from The Shade Store can give you just the right touch of sleek, modern style.

Sleek, Straight Shades
In simple solids or bright prints, Flat Roman Shades add the softness of fabric with a flat, clean finish when closed and a neat stack when raised. Even when Flat Romans are down, their permanent bottom fold stays in place, adding an interesting structural element to otherwise simple shades.

For the ultimate simplicity in design, try Roller Shades or Solar Shades on your windows. These shades create strong, straight lines when closed, and virtually disappear into an inconspicuous roll when raised, preserving the architecture of your window and leaving your view unobstructed. Available in light filtering, UV blocking (great for protecting art and furniture), and blackout materials, Roller and Solar Shades function well throughout the home.

Metal Accents with Hardware
Metal details can lend a distinctly modern, industrial feel to any space. If you are using Roller or Solar Shades in your design, there are two spaces to add a unique touch of metal: in the brackets, and in the optional exposed bottom bar. We offer a variety of finishes to match the shade materials and your décor. Brackets are available in White, Chrome, Satin Nickel, Bronze, or Black, and exposed bottom bars come in White, Silver (shown in the photo below), or Espresso.

    Solar Shades, 7% Metallic, Silver

Drapery hardware can also be used to incorporate a subtle touch of metal to your windows. Our Steel and Acero collections both offer steel tubing with modern finial options. Grommet Drapes, shown below, are an excellent choice for an updated drapery look, and the color of the metal grommets can coordinate to match the color of the rod and hardware.

   Grommet Drapes, Diane von Furstenberg China Club, Dune

Bold Modern Prints
Add interest and color to your window treatments with one of our geometric prints. For Roman Shades and Drapery, many of our designer collections feature striking patterns, such as The Novogratz, Echo Designs, and Dwellstudio.

For a chevron pattern, try Roller Shades in Zig Zag or Chevron fabrics. Even Solar Shades are available in prints, such as the hexagonal pattern in Hive and the circles in Orbit. Order as many free swatches of these materials as you like to test them out in your space.

Finding Modern style is easy at The Shade Store. See our products in person at one of our nationwide showrooms or browse our entire selection online.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cash Flow Crash?

Have you ever had a couple of nice big jobs that kept you buried in your work with getting all the details right and creating great designs?

Of course – we all have!

Now, do you also remember that feeling of the installations starting (and looking really good), the clients are happy and can’t wait to move in…but then it HITS YOU … you don’t have any new clients in the pipeline to replace these jobs once they’re completed!

Then you start to worry, and worry turns to fear, and you think you need to do something…but what?

What if there are no more clients? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I turn into a bag lady?

A Hermes bag of course ;-)

Seriously, has that panic thought ever crossed your mind?

It has for me…

The truth is, all this anxiety and angst is caused by not keeping up with your marketing when you’re busy with jobs and clients. You can’t wait until your jobs are all done before you start marketing again, because it’s too late – the cash flow crash is coming quickly.

The solution to this reoccurring drama is to have a marketing plan tailored specifically to your business.

It needs to be simple and easy to manage, so you can keep it going even when you’re up to your ears in design details.

Not sure where to start?

This is your chance to be guided through the steps in creating your ONE PAGE customized marketing plan that’s easily implemented, even when you’re busy, and keeps you off the cash flow roller coaster.

Meanwhile, would you like a “Band-Aid” for your current lack of clients’ problem?

Here are two things you can do right now to get new clients in your business:

  1. Clean out your former client notebooks, file it all away, return all the old memos and create space in your office for new clients. Think “Feng Shui.”
  2. Call one former client a day (until you’ve talked to them all) and say “hello” – You don’t have to ask for business or referrals if you are not comfortable with the idea (of course you certainly can if you want to). Just check in and see what is going on. Invite your favorites for coffee or lunch. Stir the pot, your past clients are always your “lowest hanging fruit.”

I predict that in about six weeks you will be very busy again! Send me an email and tell me what happened, I love hearing these stories!

Sign up for the Finding Affluent Clients 90 Day Coaching Program, the complete guide to marketing your Interior Design business NOW. This is your chance to have me on YOUR TEAM to get your marketing in order and get off the cash flow roller coaster FOREVER!

About Terri Taylor:

Terri breaks down the walls of secrecy by sharing her 30 years of professional interior design and remodeling experience to help interior designers work smarter, not harder, and get paid what they’re really worth.

She provides private and group coaching to interior designers who want both a financially sustainable business and a life outside of work. 

Terri teaches wealth consciousness and business systems that simplify and streamline your business processes.

Terri received her NCIDQ certification in 1993, and is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Interior Design Society (IDS). She also received the 2000 ASID Interior Design Awards of Excellence and holds an Arizona Contractor’s License. 

Discover how to double your income, work with great clients, and have the freedom to live the life you deserve at