Tag Archives: workshop

Sydney Workshop Recap

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On the last day of May, I traveled to Sydney, to work with photographers at Campaigntrack, an Australian marketing firm specializing in real estate. We shot for 4 days, in 6 different houses ranging from the big and beautiful (see lead image, above) to the small and ordinary.

Campaigntrack was looking for a way to differentiate themselves and create a more upscale, sophisticated image that would stand out from the typical Aussie real estate photo. As they saw it, composition and styling were key components that they could work on…and I agreed. Usually, when I teach real estate photography, it’s all about lighting technique, so this was a terrific chance for me to focus entirely on composition and the “feel” of a photo — two things that are at least as important but which often get short shrift.

Having a variety of houses to work in was great, too – we got to play around in a gorgeous country villa, but we also spent time in houses that are much more typical. Campaigntrack photographers aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and move furniture, and frankly I was a bit shocked at the lengths they’re willing to go to make a room show at it’s best. We did 3 shoots a day, punctuated by one-hour sessions in a conference room dissecting the images on the big screen, and reviewing existing Campaigntrack work as well as that of their competitors.

And, like every time I’ve visited Oz, I was treated to an overwhelming display of hospitality. Thanks to Paul Gal, Nolan Metcalf, Tim Dean, Jori Scobie, and the entire CT team of photographers, videographers, copywriters, retouchers, and stuffidontevenknowabout!

Here are a few highlights from the week — thanks much to Nolan Metcalf for the behind-the-scenes photos!

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:

 

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.

Announcing: US Lighting Workshops!

hargis_130304_023That motley crew above were some of the students I worked with almost exactly a year ago in Abu Dhabi, at my first Gulf Photo Plus workshop. Today, after a nearly 2-year North American hiatus, I’m happy to announce that there will be three US workshops this winter! details, and photos, click here!

Doha Interiors Workshop with Katara.net

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Click for English

In mid-June, I spent a week in Doha, Qatar, teaching interiors with a fantastic group of Qataris, as well as a handful of expats from around the world. It was my first trip to Qatar, and I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect. The picture below pretty much sums it up:

IMG_3759 Full write-up, and LOTS of photos, after the jump!

Flight Connections

photo copy 3And I’m off….again! Not actually connecting through LHR (where this photo was made) but anyway….it’s up and away to Qatar for a 3-day workshop in Doha!

نراكم قريبا!

Melbourne Workshop Recap

O2V_small-2Don’t Ask.

Every time I go to Australia, something weird happens, and it’s never my fault. This time, I got photographed while reclining in a shopping cart, in a back alley. That’s the cast of characters from my workshop, photo courtesy of Craig Purcell.

Last time, after lunching on grilled Kangaroo Skewers (which the Aussies don’t think is weird, at all) I was ruthlessly mocked by a pair of barmaids who mistook my pitch-perfect Aussie accent for something funny. And that was after a Tassie regaled the table about Ralph Fiennes getting banned from an airline for “shagging the Qantas Sheila in the WC!”  And the time before that, I was made to do the “Tim-Tam Slam” (which is actually really cool, in addition to being genuinely Aussie-Weird).

Anyway. Recently I was in Melbourne Australia as the guest of Open2View, the largest real-estate photography organization anywhere outside (possibly) Scandinavia. Every other year, O2V holds a National Conference with meetings workshops, and an awards dinner. And of course, lots of Fun. I believe I’m well on my way to honorary citizenship in both New Zealand and Tasmania.

I did some speaking, and a couple of lighting seminars, and then a full-day workshop at a pretty cool loft near the CBD. Below was our Ultimate Lighting Challenge shot from (near) the end of the day:

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And we shot another angle, as well:

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O2V photographers have a lot invested in their business; it’s a franchise operation so you have to buy in with a pretty significant stake. As a result, they’re generally VERY serious about their photography. I was pretty impressed! I didn’t get to hang out with nearly enough people, but the folks I did spend time with turned out to be very talented and experienced. And this always makes for a good workshop.

While at all the various dinners and drinks and gatherings, I was getting pretty much obsessed with iPhone photography, to the point that I killed the battery on my phone more than once.  Here’s a few of my faves:

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The bathroom floor at a Chinese Restaurant. You know you’re eating with a true architectural photographer when she returns from the bathroom and excitedly tells you how cool the floor was. And yes, I got up to go check it out. And it was cool!, so….I took a picture. Don’t judge me.

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This disco ball had me mesmerized for about three hours.

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O2V awards dinner on Saturday night.

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More disco ball….I have about 50 or 60 of these photos.

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There are rumours floating around about a New Zealand workshop….stay tuned….

Lighting For Real Estate Photography Updated

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As I mentioned recently, there are 6 new episodes currently being added to the Lighting For Real Estate Video series, under the heading “Le Monde Réel”. We went live with “Rick” a couple of weeks ago, which covers a gnarly color cast situation, and more recently we released “Simon” – which deals with a bizarre reflection issue, and “Kristen” which addresses log homes and wood paneling.

Coming up next week is “Pat”, which centers on flash technique and photographer-induced shadows.

If you’re a subscriber, log into the site and look under the “Video” tab to find the “Le Monde Réel” link. That’ll take you to a new page with all three videos ready to play. And check back periodically — there are 3 more episodes in the editing phase as we speak, which will be released as they’re ready, about one every week to ten days.

Enjoy!

Northern Lights

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Photo by Johan Hellstrom (www.studio054.se); light painting, with iPhone by Andre Nordblom (www.andrenordblom.se)

Yep, that’s me, freezing my butt off but having a fantastic time after-hours at one of the most fun workshops I’ve ever taught. This was after the big group dinner (roast local Moose, potatoes, trimmings, and lots of wine), just as I was thinking about bed. A bunch of Husfoto.se photographers decided this was a good time to go tramping off through the woods to do some astrophotography, and I tagged along. These guys (and gals) are talented, fun, and just plain weird.

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Full write-up, tons of photos, and a bonus video, after the jump!

GPP, PDQ

I’m truly honored (and a bit awe-struck, actually) to have been invited back to Dubai for the annual GPP Photoweek 2013, which takes place March 1st through 8th. If you’re not familiar with this event, then I strongly urge you to hit the link and check it out — this is really a one-of-a-kind event.

I was thrilled to have taught 2 workshops with GPP in November (see student work, below), and we’ll be doing much of the same in March. Three workshops, two days each, covering basic-to-intermediate Interiors, and Advanced Interiors/Lifestyle. GPP does the best workshop production of anyone I’ve seen – my seminars in November were incredibly well-supported, and it really made a difference in the quality of the experience. PhotoWeek is their major annual event, and I’m completely stoked to be taking part in it. After my positive experience in November, I’m full of ideas for making the March workshops even better!

Given Dubai’s proximity to OZ, I think this is a no-brainer for Aussies, and it’s a pretty short flight from anywhere in Europe, too. And of course if you’re in the Gulf States or the Middle East overall…..be happy. This is in your back yard!

And don’t limit yourself to Interiors. The instructor list is as good as it gets, and on my day off I’m going to be hard-pressed to pick which of the other workshops I want to crash (we’re allowed to do that, which is an enormous perk. Hmmmmm…….). Again: these workshops are NOT fluff. GPP goes out of it’s way to ensure that the instructors are actually good at teaching, and that the material is worthwhile. There are very few opportunities to spend two or three days with the likes of Greg Heisler, Joe McNally, and David Hobby, not to mention Bobbi Lane, David Nightingale, Peter Hurley, Lindsay Adler, Zach Arias, Eduardo Angel, David Burnett, and John Keatley.

You can read a write-up of my GPP Photoweekend 2012 HERE. David Hobby’s excellent post about PhotoWeek 2013 is HERE. And below are a few student photos from November – these folks rocked it!

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GPP PhotoWeekend Wrap-Up

I spent the first week of November  teaching 4 days’ worth of workshops with Gulf Photo Plus, in Dubai (or, as one person I met calls it, “Du-bizzle”). I posted some behind-the-scenes shots a few days ago.

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Full write-up, more photos, including student photos, after the jump!

Live From GPP

I’m wrapping up a four-day set of workshops with the wonderful people at Gulf Photo Plus. We’ve shot two large show villas in Abu Dhabi, three hotel rooms in Dubai, and the Russian Tea Room at the Marina Byblos Hotel. Tomorrow: more Russian Tea Room shots, but with models posing as customers/waitstaff, as well as the Korean Karaoke Bar down the hall.

All photos by Tonya Colson,who’s been assisting me, keeping time, handing me a steady stream of water bottles, chauffuering me around Dubai, fetching coffee, and then reminding me of where I left my coffee, all week. In addition to her real duties as a photo assistant.

Full write-up and more photos after I get home and get some sleep.

Notes From Norway

Photo courtesy of Kari-Janne Brekke

Towards the end of August, I was invited by Inviso Foto to teach 3 days’ worth of lighting workshops in beautiful, wonderful, Oslo Norway. I’ve been to Norway once before, in winter, and I jumped at the chance to go back and experience it in summer!

Scandanavia seems to be a bit “off the radar” in real estate photography circles, but it shouldn’t be. The market is quite well developed, and there are a lot of photographers doing some pretty stellar work up there.

We had a really great 3 days of shooting! My friend Roar Vestad scored us a perfect workshop house — plenty of rooms, and with a range of difficulty spanning “easy” to “damned hard”.  Here’s a few more BTS photos, all taken by Inviso’s Photo Manager, Kari-Janne Brekke. Thanks, Kaja!

And, here are a few of the “beauty shots” we set up over the course of three days! True to my PFRE creed of minimal post-processing, these photos have seen only “RAW” adjustments in Lightroom, and not much of that.

If you’re looking for real estate photography technique — check out my video series: www.lightingforrealestatephotography.com

 

Workshop: Gulf Photo Plus

I’ll be teaching 4 days of workshops at the Gulf Photo Plus ‘PhotoWeekend 2012’ event November 7th – 10th, in Internet City, Dubai, UAE.

It happens to be conveniently located midway between Oz and Europe, for what it’s worth…and I know there are a few folks who read my blog from countries in and around the Arabian Peninsula, so hopefully this is of interest to someone!

We’re scheduled for 2 days of “Intermediate”,  which will be a variation on my usual Real Estate Photography workshop, with a little extra thrown in. Then there’s a 2-day course that is more in-depth, and throws a little lifestyle photography in, just for fun.

A word of warning: I’m going to be working the Advanced class pretty hard. We’ll be shooting long hours, and hitting twilight exteriors, too. And you’ll be up late doing post-production on your images so they’re ready for the group critique. The way I look at it, if I’m gonna fly 15 friggin’ hours to be there, we’re gonna get some work done. Heh.

GPP has never done an interiors/arch workshop before, so this is kind of a test case, to see how much interest there is. Hopefully there are a few Emiratis who are interested in something other than the usual skinny-babe-in-stripper-heels workshops. Although to be fair, my fellow instructors at this event are pretty amazing. Certainly David Nightingale and Brooke Shaden do NOT shoot clichès!

Hit any of the links above for more info.

نراكم هناك

 

 

November Workshop Recap

It’s been a long month! But fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!!!

As has become a tradition, I spent WAY too much time on airplanes in November, clocking over 17,400 miles (that’s 28,000km) in less than 30 days.

That’s a lot of airports, a lot of crossword puzzles, a lot of bad food. On the other hand, you can get SO MUCH work done on a plane! And the destinations were great: Phoenix, Arizona; Calgary, Alberta; Ronda, Spain; and even some vacation days in France. Not a bad month.

And the workshops! Without a doubt, these were the best workshops I’ve ever taught. We had an absolutely GREAT group of photographers in all three cities, and the venues were top-notch, as well.

By far, the most interesting one was with The Camera Store — the 2-day Advanced workshop. Twelve intrepid photographers and I spent two solid days shooting a townhouse in Calgary – and pushed our light and our compositions to the limit. Even I got stumped on a shot and had to resort to hand-blending two exposures together! Sunday afternoon we hit The Camera Store’s new classroom facility, did some post-production work on our images, and then projected them on the big screen for a group critique. This was the first 2-day workshop I’ve done, and there will be more like it. Jim at TCS is already bugging me about dates.

Thanks to The Camera Store, Lennar Corp., and the Ronda Mountain Retreat for hosting these workshops! Great locations, and great people to work with!

Me, I’m glad to be back home, trying to get back into running condition, and deep in pre-production on a very exciting project that will be announced soon after the first of the year!

Here’s a few photos —- credits are Malia Campbell, Marc Muller, Suzanne Feinberg, Me, and possibly someone I’ve forgotten — if you see your photo in here let me know so I can credit you! Thanks, you guys, for some great shots!

Ronda, Spain Workshop Update

For those who are already enrolled, and for those on the bubble — here’s a bit more info regarding our venue for the Spain Workshop in November.

We’ll be shooting the utterly charming estate shown above – all 250 hectares of it – so bring your “A” game because the portfolio opportunities abound! You can see more of the property (apparently shot by a local RE photographer – anyone want to claim these?) HERE. This is a way better website than what I had previously for this place.

You can either fly your helicopter in (land on the estate’s private helipad) or caravan in from Ronda, which is 10 – 15 minutes away. I’ve got a couple of hotel recommendations for Ronda, which I can email out to anyone interested.

The property manager is extremely excited to have us, and the place will be groomed, cleaned, and in pristine condition for us. This workshop will be epic! You can register HERE, and don’t hesitate to email me with questions.