Tag Archives: photography

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!

New Work from Scott Hargis Photo

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Not seen since January of this year…the latest collection of new work! Click the link above to see it all. Enjoy!

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!

Workshop – South Africa!

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Mark your calendar for October 10th and 11th — those are the dates for my Interiors Photography Workshop in South Africa! We’ll be in Cape Town, and possibly Johannesburg, and it looks like we’ve got some good venues lined up to shoot in.

Tuition is $350US and includes a full day of shooting — and when I say a “full day” I mean I’m not leaving until you’re DONE. We’ll cover everything I know how to do, whether that’s fast-paced real estate photography or the slower, more nuanced interior design work, or the composition-driven architectural photography.

If you’re interested — email me and I’ll get you on the roster! And here’s a sampling of photos from past workshops, worldwide:

 

New Work!

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I’ve been lazy this summer and my “New Work” schedule kind of fell by the wayside….which made it extra-hard to edit this collection! I had too many photos from too many great projects and had to cut to the bone to keep the numbers reasonable. Click the image above to see the gallery in all it’s full-screen glory!

Thanks as always to my awesome clients for designing and building such incredible spaces:

Bayon Design Studio  •  Holly Bender Interiors  •  building Lab  •  Jeff King & Co.  •   Dogtown Development  •  Leslie Arnold Architect  •  Ian Birchall & Associates  •  Bleu Leman Interiors  •  Brownhouse Design  •  Regan Baker Interiors  •  Kimberley Harrison Interiors

New Equipment Video

When I started shooting interiors, in 2006, I was doing it with a Canon 20D, a couple of Nikon SB-24s, and a homemade, fifty-foot sync cable. Those were the days!

UPDATE: www.the-digital-picture.com, a photography blog, has itemized the equipment I show, with link:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=15016

Thanks, guys! We now return to the original blog post….

These days, the equipment roster has gotten a little bigger. You asked for it, here it is: the new, up-to-date equipment video. I tried to make it quick, but it’s 7 cases of stuff and then some, so get some popcorn and plan to settle in for about 17 minutes.

This is everything I use to create my photos. This gear comes with me on every job, from the little ones to the big ones (I never know what I’m going to need, so it all comes, every time.) We fly with it, drive with it, carry it up flights of stairs. Some jobs, all we use is a single strobe, or a small hotlight. Others, we empty every case and wish we had more.

This video was shot in my studio on a 5dMiii, and a Fuji X-100s. Took me a couple of tries, but I got through it with only one major gaffe and a couple of stutters. Enjoy!

 

San Francisco Bay Bridge – Art Print

These are a few of the (Oakland) Bay Bridge photos available as fine art prints from my website. Most of what you’re seeing is already gone, and the rest is going fast as they dismantle the old bridge. The process is opening up amazing views of the Port of Oakland – I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised at what they can see as they enter the city!

Proofing!

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Lots of shoots lately – which means lots of proofs to review. This is a fun part of the process, until I spot a flaw and experience a “face-palm” moment. These images are looking pretty good, so far. I’ll be removing a lot of electrical outlets from walls, and a few dust bunnies from the floors, but overall we did well!

Summer/Fall Roundup: 49 Photographs

I’ve shot a string of jobs over the past 3 months that haven’t gotten full write-ups here. But here’s a gallery of work I’ve pulled from many different projects that have kept me occupied since July.

Lots of new work happening! I’m excited to be working on several large projects for clients, as well as no fewer than three personal projects that are well under way. It’s good to stay busy!

Thanks to:

W Design  •  MJK Homes  •  Design Image  •  Atria Senior Living  •  Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins  •  Brownhouse Design  •  building Lab  •  Muratore Corp  •  Kelly Scanlon Interior Design  •  Douglah Design

Design Award Winners Announced – Photography Counts!

Remodeling Magazine announced the 2014 Design Award winners last week and I’m pleased to see that the building Lab remodel of an historic Eichler home is the Grand Prize winner! Congrats to Stephen and the team at building Lab!

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Note this is not the Regionals (where I have a 5-year streak of photographing winning projects) but the Nationals…this is the big leagues! In addition to a Grand Prize, there are 17 “Merit Awards” given, and building Lab garnered one of those too, again with my photographs. Not a bad day when more than 10% of a national award roster is mine!

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It’s important to note that the awards are for the design work, and not specifically the photography. Still, it’s hard to tell the story of great design without compelling and insightful photography. I’m granting myself a pat on the back today.

And now…..the photos:

EICHLER REMODEL- GRAND PRIZE

BATH REMODEL – MERIT AWARD

North Beach Residence by Muratore Corp

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It took quite a bit of effort to get this shot lit. Balancing the exposure for the dazzling light high above San Francisco looking out towards the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, while still showcasing the dark wood cabinetry, was a challenge. We kept the illusion that everything is motivated by the windows that wrap around the living room in the background; there are multiple strobes and hotlights placed for this photo.

I’m always grateful to work with someone who is willing to be adventurous in the styling, and when it works, it works well. In this shoot of a San Francisco highrise condo (in North Beach), we purposely added some “sloppy” notes — the carelessly draped dishcloth, the slightly disheveled napkins — and implied an eat-in kitchen with the discordant radishes-and-tomato bowls. It’s a way of adding interest and meaning to a photo, without triggering the wrong response; if those had been bowls of steaming hot beef stew, you might get stuck in your reaction to beef stew (whatever that is) and never get the real point of photo, which is the design and cabinetry. But who has a pre-programmed reaction to raw radishes and tomatoes? You might well have a WTF moment, but that’s cool with me; I’ve kept your attention for an extra few seconds and hopefully made you notice a few other things along the way.

The casual elements also lend a bit of life to an interiors photo, which can all too easily be sterile. Adding a live human to the mix is even more tricky — we’re hard-wired to look at each other, so that figure is sure to be a focal point, even if it’s blurry and in the background.

We also made a more “traditional” kitchen shot, below:

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With almost all the “natural” light sources controlled, we were left with the VERY bright (and un-dimmable) under-cabinets fluorescents to contend with. We effectively dimmed them using a technique Alan calls “Dummy-Dimming” in which he flips the lights on (or off) at a precise moment during a long exposure.

The second element of this project was this stunning bath, located just off of the large entry foyer.

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This shot presented several challenges. The backlit mirror, strong downlighting on the vanity top (from the ceiling spots) and the delicate sconces all had to be controlled and brought into a balance the camera could handle. I also wanted to clarify the shapes and geometry of the space, since they’re so integral to the design. Nearly every surface visible in this shot has its own light, each tuned to create the 3-dimensionality we wanted to emphasize. The blurred figure in the mirror is actually out in the foyer; his posture echoes the the shape of the sconce, his shirt works with the color scheme, his motion brings your eye back into the center of the image. I allowed the distant foyer to go slightly bluer to create a pleasing effect that emphasizes the separateness of that space.

In this unbelievable bath, we wanted to do two things; make sure that the viewer understood what was happening in the mirror, and give the eye a focal point that kept the eye in the middle of the photo. The walls of this room are venetian plaster; but in this case it’s been hand-tooled by an artist to mimic alligator skin. I’ve never seen anything like it. The designer had two words for this: “It’s expensive.”

And worth it — this bath was really amazing. The cube & slab design elements (check out the sconce lights) go together with mathematical precision, which I tried to bring out with my composition, and the wall treatment echoes the texture of the stone. Beautiful.

The detail shot below shows the plaster even more clearly, as well as the angular sink:

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San Francisco Residence by Leslie Arnold Architecture

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Leslie Arnold Architecture brought me into this outstanding midcentury-esque residence in San Francisco a few weeks ago, to document the extensive remodel they did.

Leslie did a complete remodel of this 1959 structure, top to bottom, and the really remarkable thing was that she did it for an astounding $150/sq. ft.  — which is really, really inexpensive. Green materials were used extensively, there’s natural ventilation drawn through the house from the front end windows and up through a large operable skylight at the rear. Solar panels were installed on the roof, and radiant floor heating added. A bearing wall was removed from the living room to create a large open space, which involved new truss joists spanning the entire width of the house to transfer the load to the exterior walls.

The west wall is floor to ceiling glass, and the light pours through it like a tangible force.

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That light, combined with frequent skylights and a translucent lightwell mean that you would never need artificial lighting during daytime hours. This place GLOWS.

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Leslie designed a kitchen that responds beautifully to this flood of light. Back-painted glass backsplashes, white composite countertops, and clean, simple lines give it a light and airy feeling.

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Design in the bathrooms follows the kitchen’s lead — with the addition of gloss-finshed cabinetry fronts and excellent storage solutions.

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A pocket door separates the foyer from the steps leading up to the main level. In the background is the family room and an excavated  level-out backyard that’s now being landscaped — a future photoshoot!This is a stunning project, both in terms of the finished result and the design work that went into it — I was thrilled to photograph it!

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Pleased to see my photographs accompanying an article on Dwell.com on the brilliant Eichler remodel I shot last fall!

Flipbook: 2013

A little later this year than last….but it’s ready! This edition of my annual flipbook contains images from 5 countries and more cities than I can remember.

Hope you like it!

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.

Lighting Interiors – 2nd Edition is Live!

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Almost a year in the making…it’s here! I’ve given “The Essential Guide to Lighting Interiors” a vigorous overhaul, doubling the page count (277 pages…yikes!) and adding four new chapters as well as a bonus section at the end.

If you’re not familiar with it, this is an eBook (PDF download, click here to buy it) that covers lighting techniques for interiors photography, with a strong bent towards real estate photography. Small flash is used throughout, and the photos are shot and presented with either zero photoshopping, or extremely minimal re-touching (which gets discussed every time). My philosophy with photography, and especially for real estate photography, is to make a deliverable photo entirely on location, so that I can produce a JPG with absolutely minimal RAW adjustments  — or maybe none at all — the least time spent in post-production possible.

Details, photos, and a sample page, click here!

San Francisco Traditional by Jennifer Hoey Interiors

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Believe it or not, there are over 3200 watt-seconds of light being added to this gorgeous library!

In August, I spent a day photographing a San Francisco residence with Jennifer Hoey Interiors, from Ketchum Idaho. I scouted the location about two weeks ahead of time and made a few “concept” photos, and Jennifer and I chose seven to move forward with. More photos, after the jump!

New Work: Summer 2013

WordpressClick the image to view the complete collection.

This late-summer portfolio features images from the following:

Handel Architects  •  Building Lab  •  Shelterwerkes Architecture  •  Atria Senior Living  •  Kelly Scanlon Interiors   •  Dogtown Development  •  Baran Studio Architects

Thanks for producing such amazing material for me to photograph!

Highrise Residential — San Francisco’s North Beach

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One from the archives… About six months ago I spent two days with Muratore Corp, photographing one of their projects in San Francisco’s trendy North Beach neighborhood. This was one of the best projects I’ve ever shot with Muratore, and there have been a few good ones!!

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One of the great aspects of this remodel was the variety and quality of the materials. Rich wood cabinetry (Walnut and Maple), stainless steel, Carerra Marble, granite, and even Ostrich Skin all make appearances.

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One thing that made this a really interesting shoot was the fact that there were two strong elements in the place that were holdovers from the previous incarnation of the condo. In  1999, this place was “done” by Barry Brukoff, a Sausalito-based interior designer, and photographed for Architectural Digest by none other than Mary E. Nichols.

When the unit was sold around 2010, the coffee table and a set of large glass sculptural pieces (visible at the far left of the kitchen photo, above) were deemed too heavy to move, and so they stayed behind and were incorporated into the new owners’ plans. Cindy Bayon, of Muratore, did a radical renovation that included moving the fireplace, no small feat in a high-rise….

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Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots, including one of me, comparing my living room photo, with the view of Coit Tower, to Mary Nichols’.

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…and the Winners are…..

You people are insane.

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of of the launch of our Lighting For Real Estate Photography video series, photographer Malia  Campbell and I decided to hold a contest to give away 5 free subscriptions to the series. We figured there must be 5 photographers out there who were worthy, and this would be a good way to find them, and have a good time.

The results are, well…..a hoot. Without further ado, here’s the winning roster, in no particular order: See the winners, and watch the videos, after the jump!