Tag Archives: tutorial

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!

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!

 

Wood, Windows & Weflections – A New LFRE Video is Live!

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In the latest addition to the “Le Monde Réel” section of my 28-part video series “Lighting For Real Estate Photography”, we talk with Brandon, who shot a kitchen that I’d wager 95% of real estate photographers deal with on a regular basis.

We talk through the issues, how Brandon lit his (pretty darned good) photo, and then discuss different strategies that could have been employed in that situation. Good times, for lighting nerds.

If you’re already a subscriber to LFRE, then head back over and hit the “Le Monde Réel” link – you’ll find the new video at the bottom of the page. If you’re not a subscriber….get over there and register! Lots of good stuff waiting for you….

Wood, Windows & Weflections – A New LFRE Video is Live!

1395322_617764091613942_1555111238_n

In the latest addition to the “Le Monde Réel” section of my 28-part video series “Lighting For Real Estate Photography”, we talk with Brandon, who shot a kitchen that I’d wager 95% of real estate photographers deal with on a regular basis.

We talk through the issues, how Brandon lit his (pretty darned good) photo, and then discuss different strategies that could have been employed in that situation. Good times, for lighting nerds.

If you’re already a subscriber to LFRE, then head back over and hit the “Le Monde Réel” link – you’ll find the new video at the bottom of the page. If you’re not a subscriber….get over there and register! Lots of good stuff waiting for you….

Lighting Interiors – Second Edition…On It’s Way!

Coming to a PDF reader near you…

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I’ve been laboring all year (off and on) to bring an updated Lighting Interiors eBook to fruition, and I’m VERY happy to announce that at last I’ve finished writing! The entire book is undergoing a face-lift, updating the existing chapters, correcting mistakes, adding new chapters and new photos.

The text is in proofreading as we speak, and the new layout is well underway. With any luck, this will be “live” well in time for the holiday shopping season…

The book is sold as a subscription — meaning that if you’ve already purchased it, you’ll automatically get the update (if you can remember which fake email you used when you bought originally). You can get the original, first edition HERE — and again, you’ll automatically get the second edition the day it’s released, no charge.

While we’re on the topic, let’s not forget about the “Lighting For Real Estate Video Series” which makes a good companion to the book.

Lighting For Real Estate Photography – Video Launch!

Well —- we’re live!

Click the image above to go to the video website. They’re ready to play! A number of things conspired to move our launch date up from March 1st (which was seriously sandbagging anyway) to TODAY, including a pretty kick-ass web design group that came in way ahead of schedule.

So, without further ado — we’re launching. Registration is $175, gets you unlimited streaming access to all 21 videos (about 3 hours’ worth). Here’s the table of contents:

  • Start Here
  • Fundamentals
  • Use This
  • Let’s Take a Walk
  • Wake Up
  • Look Out!
  • Living Large
  • Dinner Party
  • Let’s Flush This Out
  • Eat at Joe’s
  • Here and Here and Here and Here
  • Wide Open Spaces
  • Into the Night
  • Fin

Then come seven “shorts” (plus an introduction) covering little tips and tricks that were too long to include in a “regular” episode, but too good to just leave out altogether. Stuff like mirror reflections, color casts from yellow walls, stainless steel, etc. etc.

I think it’s pretty comprehensive. People looking to be told what exact exposure settings to use, or what flash power settings, are going to be disappointed, because these videos concentrate much more on the process, the strategy, behind those decisions, rather than just reciting whatever was going on in any one particular shot. That sort of thing is useless, in my opinion, because no two situations are the same. Better to understand the why of what to do, rather than what someone else did, in some other room.

So the early episodes go into exhaustive detail about what’s going on. As we progress to the more challenging stuff, I drop some of the basic stuff and focus on what’s new and unique to the situation. Whenever possible, I present a simple one or two-light solution, and then build to a more elegant solution.

I hope you like them. Malia Campbell and I put in a TON of work on this. Many, many two and three-hour Skype calls, hours of writing out detailed episode treatments, lots of favors called in from clients (we got some outstanding locations), and some brutally long days of shooting and editing. Malia did a stellar job of capturing the rooms, and the process, and kept me from rambling incoherently and diluting the message (as I’m prone to do). We’d do a take, and I’d be like “That was great!”. Malia would shake her head, and say, “Do it again. Leave out the crap about _____ and ______ — that’s off-topic. Stay with what you’re doing here, now. Ready? Rolling!”

And we’d do it again. And again. Until we had something that was clear, concise, and really illustrated the point I wanted to make.

I hope you like them. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Composition For Interiors

I get asked to review a lot of photographers’ portfolios. Usually they’re asking me for advice on lighting, but I find that I usually have more to say about the compositions than anything else. And generally, it’s the composition of the photo that drives the other factors, especially the lighting.

With that in mind, I asked videographer (and photographer) Malia Campbell to help me record a quick video outlining some of my thoughts on composing for residential interiors. Malia takes you right inside my camera, so you can see exactly what I’m seeing as I compose shots!

Malia did a fantastic job on this – so be sure to click the HD button and see it large. We shot this in one long day, at a house in Oakland California. It’s my first attempt at a true instructional video, let me know what you think!

More on composition, and a photo breakdown, after the jump.