Interview with Alexander Chaptykov –
Real Estate Photography
Alexander has worked in advertising industry for well over a decade. Deep understanding of the advertising process combined with his formal art education and previous experience working for printing and design studios allows him to create exceptional advertisement images so essential for any successful campaign.
As an interior photographer Alexander works for high profile clients and luxury five-star hotels.
His clients include such names as Ritz Carlton, Clarion Collection hotel, Niyama restaurant chains, Mouzenidis travel, tours.ru, Subaru, Korston CLUB HOTEL as well as many others.
One of the challenges that interior photographers face is to minimize shooting time.
Every day in a five-star, world-class hotel can be extremely expensive and to satisfy the most demanding customers the interior photographer must deliver perfect results in a very short time frame.
Alexander’s experience and creative approach helps him meet the highest standards in terms of both delivery time and image quality.
Today we are having an exclusive interview with Alexander.
Please, welcome Alexander Chaptykov!
Photigy interview with Alexander Chaptykov
Alexander, to start our conversation please tell our readers how it all started for you. How did you get involved with photography?
That’s a good question.
I’ve been attending an art school since I was a kid but still chose an information technologies career.
Yet the desire for creativity turned out to be stronger.
After I graduated from the university I had worked in IT as a graphic designer for a few years but eventually completely switched to photography. Since the work I have done was closely related to imaging and graphics I could use a lot of that experience in my future career as a photographer.
So you prefer photography over creative and fine arts?
One thing that I really like about photography is that unlike a drawing or 3D rendering it is not a fiction. I believe that it makes photography affect the viewer’s state and emotion much stronger.
But what makes photography even better is the fact that it reflects the reality as it is but doesn’t stop there. It allows the photographer to change and further improve it.
It is the combination of ‘bare bone reality’ and artistic touch what makes it so powerful in my opinion.
Photography in today’s advertising industry is a combination of an initial plot, technical perfection and the artistic touch.
So how did you grow as a photographer?
Why did – this process never stops!
The progress continues because photography is a type of thing where you can be perfecting infinitely.
The most popular genres are probably portraits, weddings and product photography – this is one of the reasons why there’s very little information about interior photography – it is getting slightly better lately however.
It can be extremely tough and intimidating for a newbie.
The only thing that helped me personally was my graphic design background and my intuition.
I was using best interior shots – mainly hotel chains – and studied them: the direction of light, composition, perspective and was trying to recreate them.
Years later, I decided to organize all the scattered knowledge into a single system.
Why did you specifically choose interior photography?
Well, first of all my father was an architect.
At home we used to talk a lot about the construction, design and architecture. I loved interiors since I was a kid.
Today – years later – I view interiors as a reflection of the life of the owners. As the interior photographer you are able to see what is usually hidden from the eyes of other people. People let you in their personal space. Interior photography is very different from other types of photography.
In other types of photography – portrait, product or events – the subject is viewed from the outside. With interior photography that’s the other way around. You’ll see what’s behind the walls… Think about home and food – that is the other type of photography that I do – that’s what’s essential. That is what absolutely necessary for life.
Learning about interior lets us better understand the essence of human nature.
Who are your clients?
My clients are real estate agencies, individuals selling luxury real estates, international market leaders such as Ritz Carlton, Clarion hotel, Subaru, Galina blanca, Mansory, as well as many leading companies on Russian market. Every new client is an exploration on its own. That’s what I like about the photographer’s work: each new client is a unique experience, a new story, and something new that you learn.
Client’s art director and marketing department are extremely important. I always enjoy working with real professionals and people eager to get exceptional results from each photo shoot.
Is there any significant difference between shooting commercial interiors and private ones?
I’d say that the biggest difference is probably that when working with commercial properties you deal with marketing and PR professionals that know exactly what they want and are very familiar with photography standards.
Individual owners are typically less familiar with the process and don’t have as clear picture of the final results. That may require a little bit of additional explaining.
Who are your favorite artists and photographers? Anybody you would like to mention?
If we talk about the staged shooting the line between the artists and photographers disappears in my opinion.
It is not that important how the result has been achieved – painting, photographing or 3D rendering.
What matters most is the final result itself – how it affects the viewer. Of course there is a difference between a painting and a photographic image but if you think about it in both cases we end up with a projection of three dimensional subject onto a flat surface.
For me – as an interior photographer – a great help and inspiration are painters like Van Eyck, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes, Rudolf von Alt, Vilhelm Hammershøi.Van Eyck, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes, Rudolf von Alt, Vilhelm Hammershøi.
Studying their work we can learn a lot in many other genres besides interior photography.
There’s a Protagoras’ saying: “Man is the measure of all things” – that is the reason why work of these artists inspire me so much.
Comparing our day to day photography with artistic masterpieces can help to raise the bar and strive for continuous improvement.
What type of interior do you like most of all?
My favorite type of interior is the interior I’m shooting at the moment but in general I really like Art Deco, Provence, and eclectic style.
I also love antiques.
For me it’s a link between the present and the past.
Antiques in a private setting make a much stronger impression compared to the same piece being in a museum for example.
So you can’t say that interior photography gets old for you over the years?
Absolutely not. You can grow indefinitely in this genre.
Every time you think you know everything and can’t be surprised any more – you see an interior with a completely new set of challenges.
Besides, interior is much more than just a set of walls, windows and furniture. Look at some paintings of Vilhelm Hammershøi and you will see a whole new world hidden behind the ordinary things.
Tell us a little bit about your recent workshop please.
I teach both individually and in groups.
During the most recent seminar I taught a group in Ritz Carlton hotel. Each student in the group was a seasoned photographer. The group was extremely versatile – there were portrait photographers, event photographers, product and interior photographers.
One of the most exciting moments in that seminar was when I changed the lighting of the interior that we were in. We’ve been in that room for over two hours by than. Seeing the radical transformation caused by simple repositioning of the lights made people extremely surprised and excited. That is really fascinating and magical indeed.
Properly positioning the light enables us to see more than what initially meets the eye.
Tell us a little bit more about technical side of your interior photography. What light and light modifiers do you use, do you typically combine images in post production, do you use HDR etc.
I use monolights. I like to combine soft and directed light. As for combining images and HDR – sure – I use it all. The question is not to whether to use these techniques or not. The question when to use and what’s the best way to combine them.
These topics in particular along with many other ones are covered in great detail in my next interior photography seminar.
Well Alexander – thanks a lot for your time with us today!
Traditionally we want to wrap it up by asking you some words of advice and wisdom for those of your readers that are just staring in photography.
Interior photography is a very interesting type of photography that lets us learn people and their life like nothing else.
It opens up an interesting perspective on photography in general and has endless possibilities for self improvement.
Interior photography is exciting as it brings the photographer to the center of the latest trends in interior design and architecture.
I believe any photographer should master interior photography as the skills learned will be incredibly beneficial for any other type of photography.