Capturing a moment in time - Architectural Photographer, Michelle Weir of Studio Weir

1. At Stylemaker, we have so much respect for photographers. Having the ability to freeze a moment in time and tell a visual story is just so damn talented. If you had to give one piece of advice to a budding new photographer, what would you say?

Firstly, that every photographer starts at the beginning, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes, try things out and explore the limits of your camera and lenses. But whatever you do, keep going!

I still learn from every shoot, so even if things don’t turn out how you planned, you will take something away with you from it – perhaps even a happy mistake. The internet is an amazing tool for photographers and you’ll find oodles of content to help you with practically any question.

Secondly, I like to think that capturing a moment is about drawing the viewer into your world and showing your perspective.

First ask yourself, what do you want this image to say? From there you can determine your focus to build around with composition, light and shadow, and technical elements like aperture and exposure.

 
Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

 

2. Because it’s not just a love of photography - your expertise spans architecture, interiors, fashion…How does Studio Weir successfully stay across so many industries?

My background is in spatial design, which I studied at Massey University and it was through opportunities to shoot for friends (as basically a beginner) that I discovered a real passion for photography.

Fast forward and the decision to pursue it full time came from the realisation that my knowledge and skills from design could translate into how I uniquely view and capture architecture that it all suddenly clicked for me – there was a way to do both!

Now I understand that photography is capturing a moment in time and your own personal experiences will determine how you see these moments and express them in an image.

(And the link between architecture and fashion is closer than you would think!)

3. What’s the playing field like as a freelance photographer, is it supportive among your peers?

I am fortunate to have made some great friends working in other areas of photography, who support and to bounce ideas off each other.

I think generally there is a healthy level of competitiveness, which pushes everyone to do better, but in honesty I don’t often cross paths with other architectural photographers. We’re all just head down getting on with things, and I’d like to think booked based on our personal style and professionalism.

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

4. You must find it hard to ‘switch off’ from looking at the world through a lens - How do you relax?

I’m an active relaxer and have always found making, painting, or learning a new skill to be an outlet for me. I’m currently learning to knit, but got no further than square dish clothes in various stitches to date! (Did I mention I’m a perfectionist?) I’m also a big reader and listen to lots of music and podcasts, which help feed my other faculties, I think.

5. There is a movement towards slower, simpler lives, with a renewed care for the environment – how has this influenced your work?

I am loving this movement. I think it has effected more me personally than influenced my work, but I’ve noticed a large increase in projects with sustainable elements, more consideration about the impact of our building choices and what we surround ourselves with.

6. Who inspires you? E.g. architects, musicians, artists, writers, family or friends?

I am extremely fortunate to be inspired everyday in my job. Whether it be shooting beautiful architectural projects, a lifestyle brand, perhaps a florist or ceramist at work, I’m inspired by their creativity daily. More specifically though, Modernist architecture particularly captivates me and the work of architectural photographer, Richard Powers makes my heart stop.

Finally traveling is an endless source of inspiration and broadens our horizons. I never go far without my camera…

7. The dream project has landed! What does it look like?

I’m going to have to go with a modernised Parisian apartment or villa anywhere in Italy. Stylistically, they are just so different to anything we have in NZ, with high studs, grand spaces, layers of texture and traces of inhabitation created over decades or even centuries.

8. Have you got a distinct style, or are you a bit of a chameleon?

My work has also been described by others as having a softness and femininity to it, while clean and fresh. So basically, like a good fabric softener?!

I think my spatial design background has really influenced my style. Years of reading plans and elevations has me indistinctly viewing the world from this perspective, but as I continue to push and challenge myself, I hope my style will evolve along with me.

 
Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

Photo Credit: Michelle Weir

 

10. Finally, mulled wine or espresso martini?

It’s hard to beat a spicy mulled wine with friends on a cold winter’s night, so count me in

Studio Weir has been well published through the likes of Homestyle, Urbis and Interior magazines.

Nikki McNamara