Tag Archives: lighting

More Lynda.com Videos — Kitchens & Twilight Exteriors

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Lynda.com just published two more courses in my Real Estate Photography series — “Kitchens” and “Twilight Exteriors“.

These are arguably the 2 most important shots a real estate photographer makes. The kitchen is certainly the room where the most remodeling dollars get spent, and it’s nearly always a “money shot” even when it’s not snazzy. And for sheer sex appeal, it’s hard to beat a good twilight exterior with a vivid deep saturated sky and glowing windows and soft glamour light everywhere.

Perversely, these are often the two shots photographers struggle with the most, and so in these two courses I’ve laid out the strategies I follow to really make the most of these opportunities. In the kitchen episode we discuss styling, lighting, and composition to show off the room at it’s best, and (dare I say it) we get a pretty doggone good result, in a kitchen that is frankly not a prize-winner. And in the twilight episode (which I have not yet watched….maybe this weekend) I go for two photos in one night, which involves (literally) some running around.

Feedback? Hit me up in the comments!

Real Estate Photography Lighting with Lynda.com!

Lynda_ScreenShotA few months ago the Content & Production people at Lynda.com contacted me about producing videos for Real Estate photography. I’m pleased to announce today that we’ve sketched out a roadmap for a series of videos that will cover not only technique, but also touch on business and “back end” processes that are so important for making this stuff pay off — literally.

In October, I traveled down to Santa Barbara California and we filmed our first course, which was kind of a test run. We chose a very simple room and I used it to demonstrate what I called the “Basic Bedroom” lighting technique. If you’ve read my book or watched my comprehensive video series, you know this one – it’s the ultimate quick-n-dirty lighting technique for small rooms, and it’s nearly idiot-proof. I can shoot a bedroom using this technique pretty much with my eyes closed. The photo won’t be quite “magazine” quality, but it’ll be plenty “good enough” for a fast real estate environment. Future courses will be intended to show techniques for going beyond the “good enough” level and into “excellent”.

You can see the “trailer” for this video here, and if you’re a Lynda.com subscriber, the entire 42-minute course has been live for a few weeks.

Like I said, this was supposed to be the simplest of simple shots. Well….mother nature apparently wanted to take me down a notch, because what started out as an easy “beginner” shot turned into kind of a wild ride as the sun played tricks and the shoot dragged on longer than expected. In the end I got a photo although neither the process or the finished shot look much like what I had originally envisioned!

Such is the nature of location photography, though, and overall we felt confident enough to plan for more videos. We’re shooting again in April, and we’ve got several more courses in pre-planning so these will likely continue to trickle out through 2017. The next course, (working title: “Fundamentals”) will go into more detail on a more complex shot, and I’ll even demo what I would do differently if I had, for example, 5 minutes to make the photo, or 10 minutes, or 15 minutes (an extravagantly long time in the wild-and-wooly world of real estate photography — in my architectural work we normally expect to spend upwards of an hour on even a “simple” photograph, and two or three hours is not exceptional).

So, is this a replacement for the Lighting For Real Estate Photography video series, or for The Essentials of Lighting Interiors eBook?

No. To be sure, there’s overlap, but there’s no way we’re going to be able to cover the breadth of situations and techniques that are in LFRE and Lighting Essentials. Instead, in the Lynda.com videos, I’ll be going into greater detail on the shots we do show, and trying to address the WHY of what’s going on in addition to the WHAT and HOW. But if you want to see absolutely everything I know, albeit fairly quickly….get the full video series, and/or read the book. These videos on Lynda.com will be a very good companion to either of those products.

Watch this space for more info – and follow me on Facebook if you want to see what’s happening in my world day-to-day!

Q & A

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I got an email recently from a photography student who had a short list of questions about architectural photography. I sent back some answers, which led to a follow-up, which led to another question, and in the end I realized this was probably good stuff for general consumption. So: Thanks, Meagan, for getting me back into writing mode!

Click here for the full Q & A!

Atlanta Lighting Workshops

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The photo above is one of two houses we have available to us in Alpharetta, a northern suburb of Atlanta, for what promises to be a terrific long weekend of interiors photo and video workshops.

With multiple workshops happening across Friday, Saturday & Sunday there will be a lot of people, a lot ideas, and no doubt more than a few beers quaffed — all in pursuit of better images (still, and motion).

Malia Campbell leads a filmmaking for real estate class that will be doing field work inside and outside on Friday, February 1st. Working with dSLR cameras, sliders, jibs, pico dollies and I don’t even know what else, Malia produces a video “portrait” of a house that’s elegant, pleasing to watch (no motion-sickness-inducing “walkthroughs”) and extremely popular with real estate agents.

Saturday, that group will be camped out somewhere in one of the houses with laptops, learning how to edit the footage together in Adobe Premeire: adding a soundtrack, effects, and creating a seamless, logical, relaxing video.

As for me, I’ll be teaching an “Advanced” lighting workshop (read: non-real estate) on Friday where we’ll be using strobes, hotlights, gels, cards, flags and pretty much every other thing to craft images that fully convey the feeling of a space. This workshop (one day) is geared towards a style of photography that’s slow and deliberate and highly detail-oriented – with no compromises.

Saturday and Sunday are my “regular” real estate photography workshops – speedlights, umbrellas, and enough technique to keep your head spinning for a few days.

More info? Go HERE.

San Francisco Workshop Recap

PFRE_SF_03Berkeley workshop, to be perfectly accurate, as we changed venues at the last minute to take advantage of a terrific bit of new construction by one of my favorite and longest-term clients, Dogtown Development. Designed by award-winning architect Matt Baran (also my client), this place was outstanding, with plenty of lines and angles, and just challenging enough to keep everyone on their toes.

We built the shot above towards the end of the first day, and liked it so much that we decided to step in and make a group photo out of it! More write-up, and LOTS of photos, click here!

Workshop Update

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That’s the front door of the house we’re shooting in the Bay Area next week – this is an architect-designed bit of urban redevelopment that’s quite cutting edge. Think “clean lines” and “smart compositions”.

The stills workshop is 90% full, meaning there’s room for one more on each day. Video has (I think) one more space as well.

Two more locations that are coming quick — Boston, and Atlanta. Atlanta is clearly going to sell out very soon.

More info, and registration, HERE.

2014 Lighting Workshops Update

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Pictured above is the house we’ll be shooting in Atlanta, in March. Our job will be to improve on this photo…..heh.

As of this writing, the San Francisco workshop is clearly going to be the first to sell out. We’re at about 75% on both days. Atlanta is close behind. If you’re thinking of either of these, I would suggest acting before the holidays.

Boston — you’ve got a little time. Neither day is past the 50% mark, and it may be that this will be the workshop to attend if you want a smaller group size.

Malia Campbell’s video workshops are tracking almost identically. Again, if you’re thinking about the SF workshop, move quick. Atlanta, you’ve got some breathing room but you probably ought to get it together by year’s end. Boston people, you’re safe for the time being.

More info, and registration, HERE.

Le Monde Réel Marches On

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We’ve just gone live with the fourth new episode in the “Le Monde Réel” section of lightingforrealestatephotography.com.

We launched this section a few weeks ago, and new episodes are emerging from the editing process every week or ten days. Still two more to come! In them I conduct a live video chat with working photographers to discuss real-world “problem” photos they’ve sent me. We talk through the issues, propose solutions, I draw diagrams all over their lovely photos, and it’s a good time.

If you’re already a subscriber, head on over to LFRE.com and check ’em out – they’re pretty cool!

Announcing a Workshop in The Best Place On Earth

That would be British Columbia, for those of you who aren’t up on your Provincial slogans – and specifically in Vancouver. Also known as Terminal City, which sounds vaguely ominous….

Anyway, goofiness aside, I’m very much looking forward to teaching 3 days of workshops with Vancouver Photo Workshops in February. Those of you who wanted to come to Calgary, but got turned away — this is probably your best alternative.

There’ll be an evening seminar/slideshow (Saturday, 26 Feb), a “beginner’s” workshop (Sunday, 27 Feb) and two days of my ‘regular’ lighting workshops (Monday, 28 Feb, and Tuesday, 01 March).

EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT

Well, that kinda says it all — VPW is offering a 25% $25 discount on the fee if you register before Feb 01. [edit: sorry about the typo, folks…it’s dollars, not percent!]

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

The “beginner’s” workshop is geared towards folks who have little or no experience shooting interiors. There’s not much in the way of prerequisites other than a dSLR camera and an interest in shooting interior spaces. On this day we’ll go over the basics of interiors shooting, including exposure, composition, determining what to shoot and what to leave out, and  introduce you to using flash for interiors. This is a good workshop for real estate agents and photographers in the early stages of building skills and portfolio.

The “Intermediate to Advanced” workshops are my usual affair – both days are the same thing, so just pick the date that works best for you. We’ll be covering basic to advanced lighting setups, going into mind-numbing detail on exposure and flash behavior, and discussing composition, equipment, and workflow. Bring your gear, and your “A” game, because we’ll be pushing your comfort zone!

Announcing My Book — Lighting Interiors!

Exciting news today — I’m stoked to announce that I’ve got a book coming out — “The Essential Guide to Lighting Interiors”!

We’re scheduled for release in Mid-October (OMG – that’s only 4 weeks away…maybe I’d better hurry up and finish that intro!) I’ve been working with Larry Lohrman at photographyforrealestate.net, and this will be published as an eBook on the PFRE Media imprint. You’ll be able to order on THIS SITE, and of course there’ll be a follow-up announcement here when that’s live.

On average, I receive an email a day asking me if there’s a book, a DVD, or even a brochure describing technique. Now, finally,the answer will be “yes”.

I’ve been working on this pup for about 10 months now. Being a full-time photographer and a writer is hard! My publisher wouldn’t give me an advance, so I couldn’t take 6 months in the South of France like I wanted. Instead, I wrote it around my increasingly insane shoot schedule. I wrote chapters on airplanes. I wrote chapters at 3:00am. I pulled over to the side of the highway and made notes in my iPhone about stuff I wanted to cover.

Lighting Interiors is written for photographers who are lighting residential spaces, and it’s focused on the use of small flash (e.g. speedlights), and on the need to work fast while still producing good quality. The techniques covered are the ones I use with my real estate shoots; and you’ll find that they “scale up” well and can be applied to more exacting projects as well.

All of the images in the book are from “real” shoots, but I’ve included either set-up shots, or lighting diagrams, or both for every one, along with a written description of what I did and why. The book follows an actual shoot, from bedrooms and bathrooms to living areas to the kitchen, but we also digress in order to examine “case studies” of a variety of styles of the room in question, or to discuss post-processing, or to examine reflections in depth.

I’ve still got some writing to do before this one’s in the can, so to speak, so I’m going to end this and get back to work. Watch for a release announcement in just about 4 weeks!

Phoenix Lighting Workshop

As I mentioned last week, I’m stoked to announce two US workshops this summer — Phoenix, Arizona, and Vero Beach, Florida. Phoenix is first up (July 31/August 01) so here’s some more detail on that one. I’ll follow up with some info on Vero Beach later this week. Continue reading

Lighting a Staircase

If you follow my work, you’ll know that I have a staircase fetish. I just can’t stay away from them. To me, a good staircase is the richest subject around. They’re great metaphors, they’re visually stimulating, 3917_Greenwood_STAIRS_detailthey lend themselves well to vertical shots, and they’re technically challenging to light.

But I guess it’s the symbolism that works for me best. Stairs take you places. You can go up, you can go down….there’s all this mystery about the upper level, or the lower level, depending on where you are when you shoot them.

So anyway, I shoot them at every opportunity. And today I thought I’d walk through the process of finding a composition, and then lighting it. keep reading after the jump

Surprise, Arizona (Phoenix) Lighting Workshop

Vistas at Asant TahomaJust back from the last Interiors Lighting workshop, in Phoenix, AZ. Specifically, it was in the middle of nowhere Surprise, Arizona, about 30 minutes away.

17 photographers, two townhouses, about 50 lightstands and speedlights,  assorted umbrellas, reflectors, and diffusers, and more Pocket Wizards/Cybersyncs/Wein Peanuts than you can shake a stick at! Read more after the Jump