Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Work from Scott Hargis Photo

It’s been a shocking six months since I last collected a portfolio of recent work, so it was hard to do — there’s been lots of good stuff in front of my camera.  Click the image above to see the whole gallery, and don’t miss the new Interiors gallery, while you’re there.

As always, many thanks to my awesome clients, including:
Handel Architects  •  Bayon Design Studio  •  Dijeau Poage Construction  •  Studio Becker  •  Martinkovic Milford Architects  •  Ken Baxter Construction  •  Allis, Inc.  •  Trumark Urban  •  Pacific Polaris •  building Lab  •  Atria Senior Living

Want to see new stuff as it’s happening? Follow me on Facebook!

New Work from Scott Hargis Photo


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

Modern Highrise Residential by Bayon Design Studio


This one was a long time coming. I first scouted this project at least three years ago, while it was still a raw construction site. Located on the 45th floor of the San Francisco Millennium Tower, it was already clear that this Bayon Design Studio project was going to be special.

Designer Cindy Bayon and I visited it several times over the next couple of years while we photographed other projects of hers in the same building. She held weekly design meetings with her client and they left no detail to chance. Some major items, like the wooden Japaneses soaking tub, took months to work out.

Finally, last April, we scheduled 2 (long) days to shoot. Thanks to Bellcore Construction (builder), Defauw Design (metal fabrication), Heather Menegat (styling), and of course Cindy (everything else) for providing such an awesome project for me to photograph!

San Francisco Remodel by Regan Baker Design


Here’s a terrific project from my friends at Regan Baker Design, in San Francisco. We spent a couple of days here with Regan and her team — here are the highlights!

….for the rest of us


Season’s Greetings V.3


Season’s Greetings!


Happy Holidays from Scott Hargis Photo



Why We Light Things


If you spend time on a photography forum where interiors get discussed, you’ve seen this exchange:

Photographer A:   Hey, here’s a photo I made. I used a bunch of strobes/hotlights/umbrellas/whatever.
Photographer B:   Nice photo, but you could have just done HDR and gotten the exact same result way faster.
Photographer A:   Uh, no, I couldn’t. HDR isn’t the same as lighting stuff.
Photographer C:   I could have done that with one flash. My new strobe has 1.21 Gigawatts of light!
Photographer A:   Wait, I….
Photographer B:   HDR is just the same! It’s just two different ways to get the same result!
Photographer A:   I think you’re mis-understanding what I did here….
Photographers B & C:   NO WE AREN’T! YOU’RE BEING ELITIST!!


It usually goes downhill from there.

HDR, and exposure blending, and Fusion, and Photomatix, and all their cousins, means taking a series of exposures, from over-exposed, to under-exposed, and using software (sometimes referred to as “instant photographer” software) to blend them together, kind of like making sausage. Sometimes the results can be pretty nice, but only when the light is already nice to begin with. These methods can help compress a dynamic range into something the camera can handle, but they can’t do anything to change the quality of the light, at all.

And what’s more important in a photograph, than light? Without some way to manipulate light, a photographer is utterly at the mercy of Mother Nature (even when you’re deep inside a Manhattan loft), and an evil and capricious mother she is…

Make no mistake — when the light is already good, then you run with that. Here’s a shot where I did almost nothing other than a little boost in a couple spots, which in theory at least could plausibly have been done in post:


Likewise, sometimes the blending techniques can come in handy. In this shot, I did some lighting with strobe, but I also used Photoshop Layer Masks to blend in a shot where the girl was posed just right, and another to add in the dog (because a 5-year-old and a Sheepdog just can’t seem to do things right on cue, dammit). While I was at it, I blended in a better exposure for the far corner of the yard, which was just a little too bright in my “base” exposure.


Trouble is, the existing light almost never conforms to my vision for the shot. For example, here’s a shot I made earlier this year. This is “ambient” light only, and the exposure was easy — well within the camera’s dynamic range. One click of the shutter button, and I was done:


So it’s OK, right? Decent composition, evenly lit…..but not really memorable. All the light is coming from a huge floor-to-ceiling window to the left of the bed. It’s flatter than a pancake!

So we pulled the blinds, and replaced that light with our own:


We also fluffed the pillows and swapped out some of the knick-knacks, but it’s the light that makes this photo. Check out this detail of the fur blanket and orange throw:


No amount of software is going to give you this result. And this light wasn’t going to happen, naturally, ever.

Here’s another example. This bathroom (designed by my client Holly Bender) had a single recessed tungsten light above the vanity (sometimes called a “can” light). Here’s what that bathroom looks like, in it’s own lighting conditions:


Again — simple exposure, one shot, this is 100% reality. Holly looked at this shot on my laptop and said something like, “Uh…yeah. Sure. Ok. It is what it is, I guess…”

I told her to come back in half an hour…and showed her this:


This time, her reaction was a bit more, uh, exuberant, and involved a fist pump. And I was right there with her! Suddenly you can see how the wallpaper has this metallic inlay that makes the tree trunks and pears really POP….when the light is right.

Lighting for interiors doesn’t mean simply getting an exposure up to match the windows. It means the difference between taking a photo, and making a photo.

Below are a few more examples of shots that were manipulated with added lighting, in some cases dramatically, in order to establish texture, depth, and mood. None of these could have been achieved simply by massaging the existing light.


State of the Art

On Tuesday, October 6th, I’ll be participating in a panel discussion in San Francisco titled “State of the Art”, on the topic of Architectural Photography. Details below, but if you’re in the Bay Area it might be worth checking out. First, the other panelists are pretty awesome: Tim Griffith, Emily Hagopian, & David Duncan Livingston.

Second, the venue itself is the San Francisco AIA offices, which are pretty cool on their own merit.

When: Tuesday, October 6th, 2015, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600, San Francisco

And here’s a link to the registration site.

See you there!

Piedmont Traditional by Koch Neve Design


Almost a year ago I shot this sweet traditional residence in Piedmont California with Jeffrey Neve and Elaine Koch of Koch Neve Design. And we were pleased to be selected for the cover (and 4-page feature opening with a double-truck) of the August-September issue of Gentry Magazine.
Here’s the full set of photos:

And a couple of BTS shots, including the cover shot, which despite it’s “simple” appearance was hella-involved!:



New Work!


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

Cow Hollow White House by Cindy Bayon


Back in March I spent two day with Cindy Bayon, Heather Menegat, and Muratore Corp. shooting this beautifully minimalist single family residence in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood.

Cindy, who is now under her own nameplate, Bayon Design Studio, went with white-on-white and tons of diffused natural light. Working closely with Heather Menegat, who also styled the photoshoot, this home is nothing short of startling. One of the challenges with a space like this is creating depth and controlling color casts; we worked quite hard on some of these shots to keep things true to the actual feel of being in the space itself. In the case of the staircase shot above, we actually made this photo twice — the first attempt was close, but lacked that special “thing” I wanted. On the second day, things came together beautifully. Many thanks go to the talented Molly Mahar, who helped style as well as modeling in the photos!


We worked our butts off on this one – but had a good time, too. Here’s a few BTS shots — everyone wanted to take a turn on the rope swing in the home office, myself included!


Heather styled this closet from top to bottom — that’s a lot of shoes, folks! The entire thing took her nearly two hours, start to finish.


Tight quarters in the dressing room meant no room for fancy tripods….so I improvised with a bean bag, some kleenex, and stabilized everything with 5lbs of sand.

hargis_150310_6123 hargis_150310_5997 hargis_150310_0219


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:, a photography blog, has itemized the equipment I show, with link:

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!


Video Goofery

Taking myself a bit too seriously….But it’s fun what you can do with nothing more than an embossing die, some lights, a laser-pointer, and a little crystal pendant! No CGI needed!

A Bunch of BTS

Take a visit to my Facebook page — I’ve just posted a big gallery of Behind-The-Scenes photos from shoots — fun stuff! Click below to check it out!


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!



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!

SF Magazine, with Red Oak Realty


Pleased to have provided photography for Red Oak Realty’s full-page ad in the SF Magazine CityGuide edition! Click HERE to see it — page 175.

Open Studio Madness

Wow – big turnout on Saturday night for the official opening of the new studio! And many thanks to many people for helping make it a reality — including but certainly not limited to: Nicole St. Lawrence, Mike Kelley, Wayne Capili, Scott Basile, and of course Alan Vance.

Here’s a video Mike shot — don’t  miss the awesome double rainbow near the end!

And a few photos from the night, courtesy Patti Chandler!