Tag Archives: Technique

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!

Lighting For Real Estate Photography Turns 26!!!

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Click to preview the opening video from the series!

 

 I allowed an anniversary to go by un-remarked earlier this year, but it’s better late than never: it was 26 months ago last Friday that we launched the groundbreaking Lighting For Real Estate Photography video series — which has become the benchmark for learning to light interiors for photographers all over the world.

I’m extremely proud of this series — filmmaker Malia Campbell and I worked for many months to produce something that would be truly practical and useful for working photographers. We didn’t want it to be just a “hey-look-how-awesome-I-am” piece but rather something that would have a solid, practical, and immediate effect on someone’s else’s work.

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This living room photo from high up in the Oakland, California hills has become the de facto “signature shot” of the entire series.

And the feedback we’ve gotten over the past two years tells me we accomplished this. I get emails almost every day like these:

“Hi Scott,
Just wanted to share with you a $7m home I photographed this past week.
Were it not for you, and your video course, I would have struggled to shoot this.
I’ve gone from Zero to Hero in the span of a few short months …thought you’d enjoy knowing the huge difference that you’ve made with this photographer.  Thank you.”

To everyone who has emailed me, Thank You. And thank you to everyone who just quietly bought the series, too. We went way out on a limb with this, with no guarantee of success, but I can say unequivocally, I’m very glad to have done it, if only to know that I’ve made some small impact to move photography forward a bit.

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Going over the storyboard and cutting fluff.

Make no mistake —  emails like the one above are incredibly gratifying. Compared with the top dollar that many instructional videos command, we’re a bargain at $175. Especially so when you consider the value of your own time — we worked VERY hard to make sure that there is no “fluff” in our series. You won’t hear me droning on and on, repeating myself (which I’m prone to doing; Malia was one harsh editor and forced me to stay on-topic). We carefully sketched out every episode to make sure that it was packed with solid, practical information and not a lot of blah blah blah. The most recent episodes (le Monde Réel) are free-form conversations between myself and other working photographers and are full of the inevitable “Uh’s” and “Umm’s” that come with everyday speech. But the rest of the episodes are tight — every second of footage has a purpose!

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This was one gnarly kitchen! Sunlight, black granite counters, lots of glass….my favorite episode is the one where we shoot this!

I think these videos are still as useful and solid as they were when we launched; even more so with the additional episodes that were added in later. They make a great companion to my book, which is in it’s second edition and which I’m equally proud of. One question I get asked a lot is whether it’s worthwhile to get both — e.g., is one different/better than the other?

I’ve never really known how to answer this; of course I think they’re both good and while there’s overlap, they present the material differently and go off in different directions at various points. The best resource I’ve seen was this discussion thread on Flickr, which I found illuminating.

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One of the more fun photos we did — playing with fire…

If you’ve seen both and have an opinion….do me a favor and chime in in the comments section! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and so would a lot of others!

 

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!

Embrace The Dark Side

The image above prompted more than a few questions (some in the comments) about how I controlled the reflection of the tub in the glass door of the shower stall. So here’s the scoop on what was going on in this shot.

Unfortunately, I was working fast, so I don’t have much in the way of BTS or setup shots. But follow along with me and I’ll describe things as best I can. /full write-up after the jump!

Environmental Portrait

The ability to light a room properly is a great skill to have when it comes to doing environmental portraits. When a real estate client of mine asked me to shoot a few portraits of her, I suggested we do it in her most recent listing, which I had shot only a few days earlier.

I’ve shot many portraits of Regina over the last couple of years, and she’s hands-down my favorite person to shoot — she looks great no matter what I do! In this case, I knew that if I could light the surrounding room well, I could make a really striking portrait, so I jumped at the chance.

Hargis_090126_9416 full setup after the jump

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