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I can’t get enough of photographer Karyn Millet's work. While she is brilliant with any subject matter, she has been very successful at photographing interiors for some of the best shelter magazines around. I was lucky enough to sit down with her, dish on what she loves, get a handful of interior lighting and photography tips, and get a glimpse into her own home.
LAMPS PLUS: How is your own home decorated?
KARYN MILLET: I've started with a color theme for each room - beige and baby blue for the dining room, grey and tangerine color scheme for the living room, and blue and white for the master bedroom. I like to tell stories through "color" rather than specific styles that might limit your imagination.
LAMPS PLUS: What designers do you most admire?
KARYN MILLET: For me, it doesn't get any better than Nancy Lancaster. So ahead of her times. I often hear her voice in my head about adding a little zebra into a room, letting the drapes slightly puddle, etc.
LAMPS PLUS: What is one “trick of the trade” that you have learned photographing interiors?
KARYN MILLET: Move furniture if it's not working. My photo crew carries furniture moving disks that let us easily push furniture around on either carpet of hard floors. I got them out at home just yesterday and starting pushing all my heavy living room furniture around the room effortlessly into an entirely new layout. Let's see if it doesn't change again soon!
LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?
KARYN MILLET: Don't simply look at a room from a standing position, sit down. Typically, that's how you'll be experiencing it in real life and it's important to try out vantage points personally so you don't end up with having a conversation with a friend while the whole time you're thinking (while sitting), "why did I put that picture there?"
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite guilty pleasure that might surprise people?
KARYN MILLET: Reading in bed in the morning, even on a week day! I'm currently reading Nancy Mitford's biography on Madame de Pompadour and it's fun to wake up and be taken to Versailles in the morning!
LAMPS PLUS: What are you obsessed with right now?
KARYN MILLET: My great, great uncle Francis Davis Millet. He was an amazing artist who perished on the Titanic 100 years ago. I'm about to go to Broadway, England, where he lived with his wife Lily. I'm staying in a country house hotel that used to be his studio. The Tate Museum is also getting one of his pieces out of storage for me to privately view. Yes, I'm pretty much obsessed. His artistry and heroism are borderline epic and I can't get enough!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite type of interior photoshoot?
KARYN MILLET: I like to shoot houses with magical natural light. Typically these have high ceilings and are south facing with beautiful windows. It's not so much the view outside (no matter how beautiful), but the light that is being "painted" into the room that makes my camera sing.
LAMPS PLUS: How did you get started?
KARYN MILLET: After several years in PR and publishing I wanted to do something creative and honestly, photography "found me." I took some classes at the local college and then started shooting. I'd been on 100s of photoshoots in the past but never thought I could ever be the one creating the photos. It was truly a liberating feeling to be able to find and capture amazing moments.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting in an interior?
KARYN MILLET: Lighting and composition go hand in hand. It's critical and it's best to wait for the right light than take a picture when it's too overwhelming. Interestingly enough, the less light the better for interiors. It gives you an opportunity to have a longer exposure so the light can gently sink into the shot.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite chic living room lamp from Lamps Plus?
KARYN MILLET: My favorite table lamp is the Brushed Steel Open Window Table Lamp.
Brushed Steel Open Window Table Lamp
LAMPS PLUS: When should you splurge?
KARYN MILLET: After you've made your mortgage payment and you've got several future payments in the bank … oh, and on your birthday for sure!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your dream photo shoot?
KARYN MILLET: Versailles with zero people. Just me and my camera.
LAMPS PLUS: Has there ever been a time when an interior has inspired you personally? An unexpected interior that has shifted your aesthetic?
KARYN MILLET: Yes, nearly every shoot! I shoot for so many incredible designers and I tend to fall in love with whatever I'm shooting for them. It leads to my pondering changes in my own home's look time and time again!
Images: Karyn Millet
Rob is a Los Angeles-based designer who has a background in art history and was an expert at Sotheby's auction house. Formerly the host of "Inside The Auction" for the Fine Living Network, speaker for The Learning Annex and contributing editor for Valley Magazine and LA Bride Magazine, he has spent years bridging the gap between the world of design and the general public.
His design sensibilities are varied and can work in both traditional and contemporary styles. His interiors have most recently been published in Renovation Style Magazine.
Have loved Karyn's work since day one...she is truly an artist and a wonderful kind person !!!
Thanks! That makes two of us....