In conversation – Ema Peter Photography

Ema is the principal of Ema Peter Photography. In the past 12 years she has worked with some of the most prestigious architectural, interior design and engineering firms in North America. Ema’s photography has helped many of these firms reach award-winning status.

With my background in design and interactions with local architects and interior designers I have come to know Ema’s work very well. Social media and todays interests in design and architecture have made her into a local sensation. A while back Ema was kind enough to take some time and tell me about her background and practice. Please see below for highlights from our conversation.


One thing that I have come to notice is that a large group of your followers are not architects or from the architecture community. Your name has become something that I hear in everyday conversations of regarding architecture and buildings? A big driver of this is your instagram account. Have you noticed this.

Its quite funny, what I see happening on instagram is that peopel are becoming extremely interested in archicture and design. A lot of times when I post a building or photos from a local project I receive messages from people asking where is this buidling or where was that photo shot. People in Vancouver and in general live very busy lives and sometimes don’t realize that we live in a city with incredible buildings and design. My photos and account have become a way of exposing these great works. This is getting better and better with platforms like instagram. I express this to designers and push them for these kinds of exposures to the international world.


You have a very different approach to architecture than most architectural photographers. You began your career in photography as a photojournalist tell us a little bit of how you came about merging both worlds.

After finishing my masters degree in photography in Sofia, I was accepted to be an intern of the Paris bureau of Magnum Photo Agency. I wanted to be a photojournalist and for me to be surrounded by the biggest names of photojournalism was truly a dream come true. The whole love towards decisive moment and photo journalism came from my experiences with Magnum photo agency. what I experienced there  has carried me through to today in design and architecture because I always wanted to photograph people. Today its about people and that interaction that they have with architecture. I want to catch how people live and how people use a building. Thats why I call myself an architctural photo journalist. It mixes the two genres of journalism and architecure really well. You cannot create scale without people.


When did you move to Vancouver? 

I moved to Vancouver, seventeen years ago with my husband. At the time of my arrival I already had great experience and education in the industry but it was all abroad and not in Canada so no one wanted to hire me. I was very determined and literally knocked on every door until I finally got an opportunity at VRX Studios. VRX Studios was the exclusive provider for all the hospitality images for Expedia. They would send photographers around the world to photograph hotels and resorts. We were off on projects for literally three months at at time. On average I was on the road, on my own, 260 days a year. My experience with VRX became my bootcamp for photographing architecure. I learned how to create strong interior and architectural shots, and set up and organize entire shoots on my own. I was also given the responsiblitly of doing most of this all on my own. I feel like in life you have times that doors open and this was one of those times. This was the moment were doors started opening for me. I became head of photography within three years of starting with the firm and ended up leading some of the bigger interanational projects. 

Little by little I was exposed more and more to architecture leading me to start my own practice here in Vancouver originally alongside my work with VRX and eventually full time. Targetting local archicture firms.



When you are assigned a new project are you given specific instruction how to take on the architecture or is it left pretty open to your interpretation?

We start by getting a true understanding of the architecture and the story that is trying to be told. We will note the important feature that need to be expressed and what the designer wants but at the end of the day my goal is not please them but to make them successful.



A lot of the work the work that you capture and something that we are truly passionate about is modern design and modern homes. A question that we ask people is what is your definetion of  a modern home?

At the moment it would be simple and sustainable. Becaus people today are living and truly thinking about sustainablitly. Every feature in a home should be sustainable and serve a purpose. I personally think that sustainablitlgy in home design is truly important and work to collaborate with designers who share these views.



To see some of Ema’s amazing work visit: