Photographer Jen Leone talks creativity and captivating design

By LISA KLEIN

Capturing the feeling of being in a stylish and carefully curated space is no easy task, but designers still need images of their work to share with magazines and potential clients.

Not surprisingly, they turn to interiors photographers, such as Atlanta-based House of Eighty Eight founder Jen Leone, who are skilled at evoking a full room within a 2D picture.  

“It’s more of that editorial feel,” Ms. Leone said. “Even though every shoot I’m doing is not necessarily going into a publication, they still want that feel.”

Picture this

The photographer has always been a creative entrepreneur, starting a fashion brand and opening a flagship store before starting a family.

“I was actually having my second child and was in this pivotal place in my life and decided to allow myself to molt and find a new creative outlet,” Ms. Leone said.

A friend who worked in real estate in Atlanta knew she was always taking photos, asked her to shoot some property renovations that the company had done. Her work with interiors spiraled from there.

Design by JG Gordon. Photography by Jen Leone, House of Eighty Eight

House of Eighty Eight’s client base is mostly emerging designers who are not necessarily married to a certain look that they want in their images.

 “There’s definitely an excitement and a freshness when someone’s up-and-coming,” Ms. Leone said. “They’re more willing to take risks design-wise and they’re not as fixed in their styles.”

Interesting spaces make capturing them creatively all the easier.

“Every property is different,” Ms. Leone said. “Never walking into the same environment, for me, keeps my senses open, which is super important when you’re capturing a space.”

Design by Sidra Gross. Photography by Jen Leone, House of Eighty Eight

Many designers give Ms. Leone creative license to capture their spaces in her own way.

“They’re connecting with me for my style,” she said. “It’s kind of like, here’s the space, these elements are super important to the design, you know what to do – go!”

Upon entering a room, Ms. Leone looks for lighting, lines, flow and the way the design elements all come together.

“I’m looking for balance in a room in terms of the shot,” she said, adding that cropped-focus vignettes and dramatic, straight-on angles are great for both showcasing design and for magazine editorials.

Design by Emily Porche. Photography by Jen Leone, House of Eighty Eight.

Spaces featuring varied materials, fabrics and even patterns make for captivating design and photographs, according to Ms. Leone.

“There’s definitely an art to a designer who really knows how to layer textures but also mix textures in a room,” she said. “It really does bring the fullness of a room to another level.”

One of her favorite design elements that is best when multi-textured is “a killer gallery wall,” which she has yet to encounter in her photography journey.  

Another favorite is the use of colors, although Ms. Leone said one of her shots that she loves the most is of a very neutral space with great lighting.

“There really is something about coming in and having bold color and saturation in a room,” she said. “It’s really exciting to me.

“I did a library where the designer did this green color all over and had this incredible artwork of African American women, and it was just so bold and beautiful. How do you not want to photograph that?”

Design by Morgan Lawley. Photography by Jen Leone, House of Eighty Eight

“It’s the whole creative process for me,” Ms. Leone said of what she loves about the job.

“When I deliver the final images to a client, I always liken it to the last push of childbirth,” she said. “Here it is – here is what we created together.”

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