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Window photo tips from gia expert

Retailer submitting photos of their show-stopping windows for the IHA’s gia Top Window Award 2021, as well the EIH Excellence in Display Awards will benefit from photography tips from visual merchandising guru and gia expert juror Anne Kong.

Print“If your window displays stop customers in their tracks and get people talking, then you need to enter this year’s gia Top Window Award,” urges Jo Howard, editor of Progressive Housewares, UK gia sponsor. “Email me directly at with up to three high resolution photos of one window theme by the end of July – or submit window display images for the EIH Excellence in Display Awards via the EIH website this week, as these will be also be considered for the UK shortlist for the gia Top Window Award ”

Window displays from three UK retailers can be put forward for the gia expert jurors to judge this summer, which will lead to an international fanfare of creativity. The worldwide gia Top Window winning retailer will be rewarded with a trip to Chicago to coincide with The Inspired Home Show in March. The gia Top Window Award winner will be announced during IHA’s Connect FALL online event in the end of September.

Above: Annie Kong, visual merchandising guru and gia expert juror.
Above: Annie Kong, visual merchandising guru and gia expert juror.

Recognising that windows are often “magical spaces” that “house temporary works of art behind glass designed to entertain and delight shoppers,” gia expert juror Anne Kong acknowledges that: “Shop keepers and visual artists spend countless hours planning promotions and display compositions using props, decorations and lighting techniques in the hope of attracting the shopper into the store.”

Anne observes: “Window displays can be challenging to capture with your phone or camera. Reflection, cars, or pedestrian traffic can interfere with your ability to get the best image.” Working with the IHA, Anne has created a list of professional tips for window photography to share with UK retailers:

  • Start with a clean lens.
  • Use a tripod if possible.
  • Photograph when pedestrian and local traffic are minimised.
  • Windows are best photographed at night when the reflection is naturally reduced. Cloudy, overcast days can be optimal for photographing too.
  • Observe precisely what reflects most in your store window (adjacent store signage, traffic lights) and try to eliminate or block the offending light sources.
Above: Window display taken at night – previous gia winner Rustan’s in The Phillipines.
Above: Window display taken at night – previous gia winner Rustan’s in The Phillipines.
  • Try a technique used by professional photographers. Have two helpers stretch a large dark sheet of fabric behind you as you photograph in front of the window to eliminate the reflection of signs or passing cars. This method removes all reflection.
  • If you are using a camera, a zoom lens can also reduce reflection. A wide-angle lens tends to increase reflection on the glass.
  • When shooting detail shots, aesthetically compose focal or highlight areas of the window. Consider cropping unnecessary areas to create a strong composition.
Above: Artful window by La Cusine, The Netherlands, a previous gia winner.
Above: Artful window by La Cusine, The Netherlands, a previous gia winner.
  • Start by photographing straight on if possible, next try angle shots from either side. Put the camera directly on the glass to capture the details. If the window is open back, can parts of the window be photographed from the back?
  • Interior window lighting needs to be even without intense hotspots or dark voids.


Photography Requirements for gia Top Window Award entries is as follows:

  • 1-3 photographs of your best window display
  • All photographs need to be digital images, high resolution 300 dpi .tiff or .jpg
  • Photo dimensions: Approximately 21 x 26 cm
  • Email by July 30; you will also need to complete a short form, with short descriptions of the window and your store.


Top: Eye-catching window from a previous gia (Global Innovation Award) winner Sibler of Switzerland.

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