Tag Archives: flash

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!

 

Lighting Interiors is in Print!

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I get a few requests for a print version of my eBook, The Essential Guide to Lighting Interiors, and so I’m happy to announce that now it’s available (but be prepared to spend some $$).

I have to say that I don’t think this is a very good idea: we have enough dead trees already without printing things that are (frankly) perfectly good on an iPad. But if you feel strongly about it, you can now order the book from Lulu.com.

It’s $126(!), which is slightly more than half the price of getting it printed at Kinko’s. I’ve seen a copy, and Wow! They did a good job — it looks great!

Click the image above to go to the Lulu page — and if you order, let me know what you think!

 

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!

Trouble-Shooting Pocket Wizards

I’m posting this today because I recently had trouble with my Pocket Wizards (Plus II’s) and despite my best Google-efforts, nothing I found was helpful for this particular problem. Indeed, nowhere on the internet, that I could find, had anyone even described the symptoms I had.

The problem was that one of my units suddenly (as in, mid-shoot) stopped working, and the red lights, which normally blink, were solid red. No blinking. Turned the unit(s) off, then on again. Swapped in fresh batts. Messed around with cables. No dice. Solid red lights.

I was able to finish my shoot by throwing a flash on the camera, and using it to trigger all my remote lights optically. But it took a call to Mac Group to figure out what was wrong: the cable was worn out and had shorted, somewhere inside the insulation. This is the standard cable that comes with the units, the Mini-to-PC cord that connects the PW to the flash. the fix is in….after the jump

Au Naturel

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iPhone Bedroom

When shooting interiors, I use lights a lot. I’ve recently begun dabbling in exposure blending techniques, with mixed results, but it’s a fair assessment to put me squarely in the “lighting” camp.

There are photographers who shoot exclusively ambient, and I think that’s admirable if you’re adhering to some sort of personal fine-art aesthetic. But for a commercial photographer to deny himself a tool…that makes no sense to me. The goal should always be to produce a deliverable product, and if you’re going to compete in today’s marketplace, you won’t always be able to wait for conditions to be perfect to get any specific shot. If the ambient’s there, and you can shoot it straight, then do it! Ambient light is a wonderful thing. But it won’t always be there. And you can’t allow yourself to be constrained, from a compositional point of view, to what’s “available” vis-a-vis the ambient light. more after the jump

Packing Light

SB80_StockUPDATE: Link to SB-80 User Guide added!

Here’s a question I get asked a lot: what’s the best speedlight for shooting interiors? get the answer after the Jump