Tag Archives: australia

Sydney Workshop Recap


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!

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:


And we shot another angle, as well:


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.


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….

Once More…OZ!

iphone4735-2Here I come!

November Workshop Recap – Chapter One: Australia

Seven days of flying makes one weak.

Added up, as best as I can put it all together, I spent about 150 hours either airborne or in airports last month. Add to that the taxis, shuttle buses, and whatnot and I’m starting to feel like George Clooney’s character in Up In the Air!

Worth it, though. I spent a few days living in an apartment on the Indian Ocean, just outside Perth, where I taught two days of workshops with Open2Viewphotographers from throughout Western Australia (a lively bunch, those). Qantas lost my equipment, and things were looking pretty grim when I showed up on day one with just my camera and laptop, no lights. But I then discovered that they (Qantas) had delivered my Pelicans to the workshop house literally ten minutes before I arrived! Good grief! That’s just cutting things a little too close.

I have to say it was a gratifying 2 days; and I’m beyond disappointed that I didn’t get a group photo on either day! We shot a great two-story duplex right on the beach, and had pretty awesome weather – here are a couple of shots we made:

Before leaving Perth, I was served this delicious plate:

Yep. That’s grilled Kangaroo. Those cute little things taste good!


From Perth, I caught a flight to Melbourne (pronounced, “MEL-been”, by the way) where I was twice mocked by the cocktail waitresses who found my Aussie accent somehow less than convincing. I can’t understand it, I’ve been studying and practicing for a while now and I think I’m fair dinkum….those Aussie sheilas just don’t know a good accent when they hear one. No, seriously.

In Melbourne, I shot (and taught in) a pair of outstanding houses by Dennis Family Homes. These models, which were literally next door to each other, were among the best venues I’ve ever taught in. Not too easy to shoot, but not too hard, either, and with plenty of weird little challenging things to overcome. I had a killer group of freelancers to work with, and we made some pretty darned awesome photos – and I got a group shot made each day, too! Check ’em out:

And a few shots from the houses themselves……

All in all, another killer Australian trip. So far I’ve taught in Brissie, Perth, and Melbourne…..Sydney? Sydney? Hello? We need to talk.

Stay tuned…….Next up: Norway!

Waltz Matilda With Me – UPDATED



Very excited today to announce a Melbourne, Victoria workshop: November 16th & 17th, 2010.

You can read more detail about it, and register, HERE.

But in a nutshell, this is going to be a good one — the house looks fantastic! Many thanks to Dennis Family Homes, for allowing us to work in one of their best models.

We’ll be working from about 9:00am to 5:00pm – so plan for a long, fun day;  you’ll have shot some outstanding material and hopefully taken away some good technique. We’ll be covering the usual agenda — equipment, fundamentals of flash, and then moving in stages from basic lighting skills to more advanced, tricky setups involving multiple lights and multiple rooms.

Scene from the Brisbane workshop, February 2010

Along the way we’ll hit on composition, workflow, strategies for dealing with reflections, shadows, and bad light, as well as anything else that comes up.

This is NOT a beginning photo workshop. Take a read through this page before you register. And hit me with an email if you’ve got any questions. The Brisbane workshop series I did earlier this year sold out in a matter of days, so if you think you’re interested, get yourself registered or at least get in touch with me soon.

For more info, search this blog under the term “workshop” and you’ll get quite a few articles and links. And of course there’s plenty of stuff on the workshop site itself.

Live From Bribie Island, V. 2.1

What’s with this “v. 2.1” business anyway? Not sure why I’m doing that….probably because I’m clinging precariously to the underside of the planet, hoping not to fall off into space.

Thought I’d share a couple more shots from the 3rd and final day of workshops on Bribie Island. These workshops were AWESOME! I’m beyond impressed with the caliber of the photographers that came, not a single person was un-prepared, and frankly several gave me a run for my money in terms of finding things that would challenge them. Aussies are cool.

Many, many thanks to our host, Adenbrook Homes, and particularly to Rick Wiley, who green-lighted the project. Much appreciated!

On a more personal note, I have to say that it was a rather idyllic week overall. Renting a house on the beach was the smartest thing I ever did Jon May ever advised me to do. Jetlag had me waking up every morning around 4:30 or 5:00 am, and so I had time to have a cup of coffee on the deck, then go for a nice leisurely swim as the sun came up over the ocean. Then back for a bowl of WeetBix and more coffee, and prep for a fun day of shooting with a bunch of whacko Aussies. It really, really doesn’t get too much better than this.

Anyway here are a couple outtakes – I’ll get some more stuff posted (including a few video clips) once I’m back stateside. Australia doesn’t seem to have fallen victim to the global internet addiction syndrome, and connectivity, WiFi or otherwise, is pretty sketchy everywhere I go. Makes me glad I have an iPhone, although even it is less than reliable over here!

Anna Hunter, Steve Pearce, and I try to figure out how to fix a lighting problem.

Group shot at the end of Thursday's workshop.

Today, we’re off to be tourists – heading for Noosa National Park and whatever else strikes our fancy. G’day!

Live From Bribie Island: 2.1

Below are a couple of shots I made today at the Bribie Island workshop venue, while scouting for tomorrow’s class. This house is fun to shoot!

So far, Australia agrees with me quite well, other than the bruised knuckles on my right hand, occasioned by my reflexively whacking the driver’s side door as I grope blindly for a gearshift that isn’t there….

Tomorrow I’ll be teaching all day, but look for a few candids to go up as time allows.

Live from Bribie Island

G’day, Mates!

I’m going to try and blog at least once a day during my stay in the land of OZ – beginning tonight. This is coming to you from my awesome rental house in Woorim, just a block from the beach. As I write this, a veritable typhoon is blowing outside, which is a good thing because it’s keeping the heat down!

Malia says it was 30 hours of travel from my home in Oakland to our home-away-from-home here on Bribie. We’re feeling pretty good, considering, but still…..I’m gonna sleep well tonight. We’re off for an early dinner and probably going to call it an early night. We’re tired.

Tomorrow I’ll be scouting the house that I’ll be teaching in for the following 3 days; I’ll post some pictures from that tomorrow.

Announcing Interiors Photography Workshops in Spain, Australia

Exciting news today — I’ve finalized arrangements for Interiors Photo Workshops in Màlaga, Spain, and Brisbane, Australia, for January and February of 2010!

There will be more details coming, which will be posted both here and on the main Workshops site, but here’s the bullet:

First up is Spain. That’s the builders’ exterior photo of our teaching venue at the top of this post. This workshop will take place on Monday, January 11th Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, near Màlaga.

details and more photos after the jump