Allow us to introduce Keyanna Bowen - designer, photographer, creative, and founder of the wonderful home and lifestyle company, East + Lane. Key makes her home in the Eastern Shore, where she pursues her passion of interior photography + styling, interior design, and digital content creation. Key believes living your best life always starts at home, and we are so happy to have shared some time with Key to learn more about her process and to see how she makes her ideas into reality. Meet Key!
What got you involved in photographing interiors?
I kind of stumbled into photography. When I started my blog East & Lane, I knew I wanted to do home tours and feature beautiful spaces, so I taught myself how to use a DSLR camera and started practicing/shooting a few of my friends homes and documenting them on my blog. Then, a few local realtors, builders, and designers saw the photos on my blog and started inquiring about photography services. Before I knew it, this self-taught “hobby” had quickly turned into a career.
Have you ever arrived to photograph an interior and it was an absolute disaster?
YES! When I first started shooting, I mostly did Real Estate which gave me a gamut of property conditions, including abandoned homes and foreclosures. Those were an absolute nightmare inside, literally. Even some of the owner occupied homes weren’t so “tidy”. Thankfully, I don’t shoot real estate anymore and mostly work with designers and architects, so the spaces are impeccably designed and styled. Now, the only “disaster” zone is the mess all my equipment and styling props make behind the camera!
What's your number 1 trick for taking a room that just looks terrible and making it look photo ready?
Hmm… taking a room from “terrible” to “photo ready” would definitely be a process, so I’m not sure I have a 1 trick solution for that... BUT if the room is already “decent” then my number 1 trick to making it look photo ready is to add fresh florals/greenery. Even spaces that are perfectly styled with accessories and décor will still feel like something is missing without florals. Florals and greenery are that final layer that adds life to the room and photograph.
What's the biggest mistake you see people make over and over again when it comes to designing their house?
I think because of social media there is a lot of “influence” when it comes to design. Perhaps too much influence. Everyone’s homes are starting to look the same. I too have fallen victim to the “scroll” and curating my home with things that are popular or trending or inspired by my favorite designers. Although the end result was beautiful, to me, it didn’t feel truly unique. So when designing your home, I think it's important to step away from Instagram and Pinterest and find inspiration within yourself to ensure that your home looks and feels as special and unique as you are.
What's your best photography tip for people trying to take a good photo of a room they just fixed up?
Shoot with the lights OFF and use a tripod. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make (even pro photographers) is shooting with the lights on. If you look through any shelter magazine you will realize that the lights are always off in the photos. So if you want your photos to look more “editorial,” definitely turn the lights off and use natural light. Making sure horizontal and vertical lines are straight is an absolute must for architecture and interior photography, so using a tripod will allow you to make sure your camera is level, as well as allow you to shoot with a longer exposure, which will make your room look nice and bright (even though the lights are off).
When you were little did you ever think you'd grow up to be an interiors photographer & design blogger?
Growing up I wanted to be a veterinarian, marine biologist, and even an archaeologist at one point. But even though interior photography and design blogging wasn’t on my “when I grow up” list (I didn’t even know those were career options), I’ve always had a fascination for interiors. I remember asking my mom to take me to open houses and drawing floor plans on napkins, so I've always been drawn to beautiful spaces. I ended up getting a degree in Broadcast Journalism, with the dream of being an HGTV host one day. Initially, my blog and photography were just creative outlets to showcase my love for interiors, but I'm so grateful that both have turned into a way for me to pay my bills. I still hope to host a TV show one day though.
What's your favorite camera to shoot with?
I’m a Canon girl!
In your own home, are you a minimalist or a maximalist? Describe your own style.
I describe my aesthetic as “Organic Coastal” -- it’s light and airy, with organic textures, and a subtle coastal feel. I’m definitely a minimalist at heart, but lately I've been drawn to maximalist spaces. I love how interesting and unique maximalist spaces look and feel, so I’ve been trying to incorporate a bit more color, pattern, and layers into my home. I started calling myself an “understated maximalist” emphasis on “understated," - ha!
All photographs captured by the talented Key for Interior Designer Jess Weeth. To see more, head to Key’s photography portfolio.