Handling Clients Who Don’t Want Photos Shared: Tips for Interior Designers


As an interior designer, showcasing your work is essential for building your portfolio and attracting new clients. However, what do you do when a client doesn’t want photos of their home or belongings shared on social media or the Internet? This situation can be challenging, especially when you’re working on extraordinary designs that you’d love to feature. In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies to handle this delicate issue while respecting your client’s privacy and maintaining your portfolio’s integrity.

Why Some Clients Prefer Privacy

Understanding why clients may be hesitant to share photos of their homes can help you navigate these conversations more effectively. Common reasons include:

  • Privacy Concerns: Clients, especially high-profile ones, often value their privacy and don’t want their living spaces publicized.
  • Security Issues: Sharing photos can sometimes inadvertently reveal personal information or make homes targets for theft.
  • Personal Preferences: Some clients simply prefer to keep their private spaces off the public radar.

Strategies for Managing Privacy Requests

1. Incorporate a Photography Clause in Your Contract

From the outset, include a clear clause in your contract regarding the right to photograph completed projects. This clause should outline:

  • The purposes for which the photos will be used (e.g., portfolio, social media, marketing)
  • Assurances of client anonymity (e.g., no names, addresses, or identifying features)
  • The client’s right to opt-out or request modifications

2. Communicate Early and Clearly

Discuss your intentions to photograph the project at the beginning of your relationship. Explain how sharing photos benefits both your portfolio and future clients by showcasing your skills and style. Make it clear that their privacy will be respected and that no identifying details will be shared.

3. Offer Compromises

If clients are hesitant, propose compromises such as:

  • Detail Shots: Focus on non-identifiable elements like millwork, fabrics, or fixtures.
  • Anonymous Photos: Ensure no personal items or recognizable features are visible.
  • Internal Use Only: Use the photos solely for your private portfolio, not for public sharing.

Insights from the Community

To provide further perspective, here are some valuable insights from the interior design community on handling this issue:

  1. @withersstudio: “It’s their home. They are the paying client. If they don’t want it shown, do the work and respect what the client wants.”
  2. @ocandd.designstudio: “I have it in my contract that I have the right to photograph but also make it clear I will never share their exact location or identity. Also, I do not take pictures of their expensive belongings such as jewelry in a custom jewelry drawer. I provide most styling items.”
  3. @newenglandhomeandinteriors: “I always ask them if we can take/use photos. I have a sentence in my contract. But we talk about it as it is their private home. And ultimately their choice, you can ask them if you can use them privately to share with potential clients but not post on any social media or websites. They may consider allowing that so that you can share that with clients on a private basis.”

Alternative Ways to Showcase Your Work

If a client remains firm on not sharing photos, consider these alternatives:

1. Use Renderings and Drawings

Share design renderings, mood boards, and drawings. These can effectively communicate your vision and design process without revealing the actual space.

2. Highlight Similar Projects

Showcase similar projects where clients have agreed to share photos. This can help prospective clients understand your style and capabilities.

3. Client Testimonials

Feature testimonials from satisfied clients. Positive reviews can be just as impactful as photos in building trust and credibility.


Respecting your client’s wishes is paramount, even if it means not sharing photos of your best work. By incorporating clear clauses in your contract, communicating openly, and offering compromises, you can navigate this challenge effectively. Remember, maintaining a strong client relationship and respecting their privacy will ultimately enhance your reputation and lead to more referrals.

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