Category Archives: Video

Behind the Scenes Video

A few weeks ago, my longtime Photo Assistant Alan Vance brought some video equipment along and filmed me during an interior design shoot with Bleu Leman Design (Diane Leifer). He cut together this video showing the messy, weird, painstaking path we tread on our way to a finished shot.

Enjoy! And thanks Diane Leifer for agreeing to appear in this — and to Alan Vance for shooting and editing!

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!


Lighting For Real Estate Photography Turns 26!!!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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 For Real Estate Photography Updated

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 4.37.30 PM

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.



Flipbook: 2012

So I’m four weeks late. Sue me. But better late than never, here it is, the 2012 SHP Flipbook, featuring a cameo appearance by the Les Poulet Bunnies! It’s HD, so by all means play it large.

You can see the 2011 Flipbook here.


…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!

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!

Lighting For Real Estate Photography – Giveaway

Things are coming together very, very nicely — and Malia Campbell and I are optimistic about beating our deadline of March 1st for the release of the Lighting For Real Estate Photography video series!

So — we’re thinking about the long game, now. From the get-go, my goal was to create something that would really make a difference in the industry. I hope that people who buy the videos will use them to further their own technique and creativity. And to jump-start things, I’m looking for five photographers — to whom I’m giving a free pass to the series. Find out more after the jump!

Lighting For Real Estate Photography – The Movie

It’s Official!

I’ve been holding this one close to the chest for a few months, although some hints leaked out now and then. I’ve just wrapped shooting on a comprehensive video series about lighting for real estate photography. I worked with Malia Campbell, who has sat (patiently) through more than a few of my workshops, and who knows the material I’m trying to present. She helped me condense the message(s) and make them work in a series of ten-to-twenty minute videos that I think ROCK.

Twenty-One videos in all, totaling a few hours’ worth, that cover just about every aspect of lighting real estate shots using small flash. I’m STOKED about this project. We start basic, then work up to multi-light setups that should challenge even the experienced real estate photographer.

The website where they’ll be available is still under construction, but rest assured, there will be more blog posts here as launch day approaches. TONS of work still to do on the back end, but it looks like we’re going to be ready to go live on March 1st, if not a few days before. I’m headed to the desert for a few days of R&R – but I’ll be back to answer questions next week! Meantime, drop by Malia Campbell Photography for more info on this!

Behind The Scenes with Malia Campbell Photography

I’m heading into a brutal shoot sked this weekend which (hopefully) will mark the end of shooting on a long-term project. A couple of weeks ago my friend and colleague Quentin Bacon dropped by the set to shoot some BTS footage.

Before you ask:  I’m not sayin’……yet.

Maybe next week.

2011 Flipbook

View it big.

It’s been a good year! As I was recently reminded (thanks, Klaus!), I have the best job in the world. I spend every day doing what I want to be doing (except, maybe, bookkeeping day. Blech.) I’ve got enough money, and enough time (usually) to be good to myself once in a while.

When I reflect on 2011, I can’t help being aware that there are an awful lot of folks out there who are having a really hard time right now. People are out of work, or stuck in awful jobs that they can’t leave because there aren’t any other options. I’m pretty lucky.

Thanks to all my clients who give me such great stuff to put in front of my camera! See you all in 2012!

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.

This Week in Photos – June 3, 2011

I got nothin’!!

I’m serious — slowest week in a long time, and there is absolutely nothing to share today. So instead, I’m introducing you to my good friend Henri Cartier-Bresson, who speaks more eloquently about photography and form and art than I could ever hope to. When Cartier-Bresson talks about angles, shapes, tones, and that “perfect” composition or moment, he makes me want to re-double my efforts to find those elements in my own work. Shulman called it “Visual Acoustics”…’s the same thing.

Luckily, I’m off for a half day shoot with Bleu Leman Design — which is sure to generate some great material for a future post! Gotta go!

Correcting Verticals — Redux

Back in ’09, I was doing a LOT of coaching, working with other photographers to improve their images. I had just wrapped up a string of workshops across the US, and I was about to begin recording seven Online Portfolio Review videos.

And the single most common issue with the beginning photographers I was talking with was verticals. So I recorded a quick tutorial explaining the issue, and showing the Photoshop techniques I was using to correct converging verticals in my photos. Back then I was using Photoshop CS3, and Lightroom 2.x. I was vastly unimpressed with the “Lens Correction Filter” in Photoshop, and Lightroom didn’t address lens corrections and transforms in a serious way at all.

That video went sort of viral, and remains one of the most viewed posts on this blog to this day.

BUT — things have changed. Lightroom 3.0 came out, and with it came much more robust lens corrections tools (a new version of Adobe Camera RAW contained the same tools). These days, many of my images never leave Lightroom, and I rarely resort to the Photoshop transform tools that I featured in the first “Correcting Verticals” video.

So, without further ado — here’s the 2011 version! This is what I’m doing on images that have converging verticals, rotation, and the inherent curvilinear and anamorphic distortion that’s inherent in even the best lenses. Hit the comments with feedback and your own methods!

Old, Before New

In February I was called by McGrath Properties to shoot the historic PG&E Building in downtown Oakland. Built in 1927, it’s being re-vitalized as commercial condos. Whoever gets the 8th floor mezzanine will have, in my opinion, the coolest workspace in Oakland.

I worked with longtime associate Patti Chandler for one long day, and then returned the next evening to capture twilights.

more photos, the write-up, and a video after the jump

More Lifestyle/Interiors

You may have noticed
a steady increase in the appearance of living, breathing, humans in my photography over the past few months. While the bulk of my work is (and is likely to continue to be) straight-up interiors/architecture, I’m also having a good time experimenting with lifestyle photography. So, from time to time, I’m self-producing (read: self-financing) lifestyle shoots, as well.

Just as in the Cigar Factory Loft project, this was a property I was already familiar with, having shot it last year. When my client offered it to me to use for this project, I jumped at the chance, because I knew it had TONS of potential.

This time, there was also a video shoot happening at the same time. Malia Campbell was in town and wanted to shoot a mock “Client Testimonial” video that would appeal to her real estate client base, so we coordinated our goals and pooled resources to make the most out of the opportunity. We even shared a couple of the models!
…photos and video after the jump…

Interiors, Humans.

Above is an entire shoot I did earlier this month – every frame I made – in a very cool industrial loft conversion in West Oakland.

I shot the Cigar Factory Lofts (Saxland Development) in December, and they were first on my list when I was looking for a location to do some test shooting with models. With the big expansive floorplan, high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and trusses — I knew things would look good. There’s a couple outtakes below, including an ambient-only shot for you with lighting fetishes.

In the video above, I’ve compressed a 3-hour shoot into about 2 minutes. It pauses briefly on the shots we felt worked. This was a fun project and I’m currently scouting locations for a follow-up….so stay tuned.

Interiors Lighting Workshops – Phoenix, Vero Beach

After a few months hiatus, I’m stoked to announce two US workshops this summer — Phoenix Arizona, and Vero Beach Florida.

First up will be Phoenix. This is in conjunction with the Arizona PPA – where I’ll be speaking at the monthly meeting in Tempe on August 2nd. July 31st and August 1st will be lighting workshops, on the outskirts of Phoenix. This workshop will be held in a very cool Lennar model home – check it out HERE.

Just a couple of weeks later I’ll be in Vero Beach Florida — again with Saturday/Sunday sessions in a really nice model by Westmark Development – see it HERE. This one is scheduled for August 14th and August 15th. nore details after the jump