Tag Archives: pfre

Workshop – South Africa!


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

3074 Watsons Bend - Exterior Front Side Elevated Cropped

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


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


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.

Lighting Interiors – 2nd Edition is Live!

Almost a year in the making…it’s here! I’ve given “The Essential Guide to Lighting Interiors” a vigorous overhaul, doubling the page count (277 pages…yikes!) and adding four new chapters as well as a bonus section at the end.

If you’re not familiar with it, this is an eBook (PDF download, click here to buy it) that covers lighting techniques for interiors photography, with a strong bent towards real estate photography. Small flash is used throughout, and the photos are shot and presented with either zero photoshopping, or extremely minimal re-touching (which gets discussed every time). My philosophy with photography, and especially for real estate photography, is to make a deliverable photo entirely on location, so that I can produce a JPG with absolutely minimal RAW adjustments  — or maybe none at all — the least time spent in post-production possible.

Details, photos, and a sample page, click 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!

Lighting Interiors – Second Edition…On It’s Way!

Coming to a PDF reader near you…


I’ve been laboring all year (off and on) to bring an updated Lighting Interiors eBook to fruition, and I’m VERY happy to announce that at last I’ve finished writing! The entire book is undergoing a face-lift, updating the existing chapters, correcting mistakes, adding new chapters and new photos.

The text is in proofreading as we speak, and the new layout is well underway. With any luck, this will be “live” well in time for the holiday shopping season…

The book is sold as a subscription — meaning that if you’ve already purchased it, you’ll automatically get the update (if you can remember which fake email you used when you bought originally). You can get the original, first edition HERE — and again, you’ll automatically get the second edition the day it’s released, no charge.

While we’re on the topic, let’s not forget about the “Lighting For Real Estate Video Series” which makes a good companion to the book.

Doha Interiors Workshop with Katara.net


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!

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….

Seven Days Of Shooting Makes One Weak

It’s actually more like 12 consecutive days, but on the seventh day I was too busy making the shot above to blog anything. Clever tag lines aside, it’s been a busy September. More than half of what I’ve shot is either embargoed or still in proofing, but I’ve been lucky to shoot some killer interiors/exteriors for DogTown Development, Leslie Arnold Architect, HouseWorks Inc., and MJM Interiors. And, of course – Sotheby’s!

And, in the mix, was two days of shooting video with Malia Campbell for a new episode in the Lighting For Real Estate Photography series. It’s in the editing phase now (which means it’s thankfully OFF my plate) but I think it’ll be a really cool addition to the series. Watch here for an announcement when it goes live.

Meantime, here’s a few recent ones I can share:

Real Estate!

I got my start shooting real estate, and I still do anywhere from two to ten real estate gigs every month. I’ve gotten a few emails from folks wanting to see some of that work, and since I’ve been shooting a LOT of real estate lately (eight shoots this month already), here’s a nice selection of recent stuff. Click Here to see 24 more photos!

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


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.


This should make a few people happy. Today I’m announcing three new workshops – one in Canada, one in the US, and one in Europe.

Workshops are great fun – I get to meet a bunch of talented photographers, and hang out with them for a day or two with no client pressure, no deadlines, no hassles….just photography! I think I’ve now taught 30 or 40 of these, in 5 countries, and I’ve gotten to the point where I think it’s a pretty good day. You can search this blog under the term “workshop” for a few good posts that deal with past events.


Over the coming 10 days, I’ll do a separate post for each of these workshops with all the detailed info I have, but here’s the bullet for them now:

First up will be Phoenix, Arizona. Once again, I’m hosted by Lennar (this will be my third time teaching in a Lennar model in Phoenix) and we’ll be in their newest development, Layton Lakes. This is on the calendar for Saturday, November 12th, and Sunday November 13th. It’s a one-day workshop, so you’d only attend one of those days. You can register for this workshop today, by clicking on this link.

Next, a return to Calgary, Alberta, with my friends at The Camera Store. This one has been cooking for a long time (I was talking with Jim Slobodian about this before I had even left town following my last trip there). Jim and I have worked hard to produce what may be the coolest workshop I’ve ever done. This will be November 18th, 19th and 20th. There will be a one-day “beginners” day (the 18th), geared towards folks who are just getting their feet wet with interiors, but then we’ve planned a two-day “advanced” workshop that will really get into the hard stuff. I’ll be assuming that you’ve got the fundamentals down, and we’ll look at where you can go from there. We’ll be shooting twilights, reviewing student work on the big screen, and spending time on post-processing using Lightroom and Photoshop. I can promise you this: you’ll be very, very tired by the end of day two! Registration is not ready yet, but watch this blog for a special post soon.

Finally, Spain. This one will be good. We’ll be in the ancient village of Ronda (about an hour and twenty minutes from Marbella), shooting a sprawling country estate set against the Andalusian hills. Great opportunities for shooting killer exteriors, and a variety of interiors, from small bedrooms to elegant dining. This is still in the planning stages, but will take place in the last week of November. I’ll have details ASAP, again, watch this blog for a separate post about this. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the list.

That’s it for now — again, I’ll be detailing all of these over the next 1o days, so stay tuned!

O, Canada

Note(s) to self:

  • Vancouver has really, really good food.
  • Calgary is not only really cold, but really, really cool, too.
  • Try to brush up on your hockey knowledge before traveling to Canada, not while at the bar, trying to impress people.
  • Don’t underestimate the zealous-ness of Canadian Border Patrol Guards

That last point is especially important. Seriously, just take my word for it.

I’m finally out from under the mountain of backlogged emails, jobs, and chores that piled up while I was in Death Valley for a few days, followed by a few days in Seattle (truncated courtesy of the CBP), followed by a few days in Vancouver (almost eliminated by the CBP), followed by a few days in Calgary (nyah-nyah-nyah, CBP! Can’t keep a good man down!). I’m pretty glad to be home. Full workshop recap, with photos, after the jump Continue reading

Announcing a Workshop in The Best Place On Earth

That would be British Columbia, for those of you who aren’t up on your Provincial slogans – and specifically in Vancouver. Also known as Terminal City, which sounds vaguely ominous….

Anyway, goofiness aside, I’m very much looking forward to teaching 3 days of workshops with Vancouver Photo Workshops in February. Those of you who wanted to come to Calgary, but got turned away — this is probably your best alternative.

There’ll be an evening seminar/slideshow (Saturday, 26 Feb), a “beginner’s” workshop (Sunday, 27 Feb) and two days of my ‘regular’ lighting workshops (Monday, 28 Feb, and Tuesday, 01 March).


Well, that kinda says it all — VPW is offering a 25% $25 discount on the fee if you register before Feb 01. [edit: sorry about the typo, folks…it’s dollars, not percent!]


The “beginner’s” workshop is geared towards folks who have little or no experience shooting interiors. There’s not much in the way of prerequisites other than a dSLR camera and an interest in shooting interior spaces. On this day we’ll go over the basics of interiors shooting, including exposure, composition, determining what to shoot and what to leave out, and  introduce you to using flash for interiors. This is a good workshop for real estate agents and photographers in the early stages of building skills and portfolio.

The “Intermediate to Advanced” workshops are my usual affair – both days are the same thing, so just pick the date that works best for you. We’ll be covering basic to advanced lighting setups, going into mind-numbing detail on exposure and flash behavior, and discussing composition, equipment, and workflow. Bring your gear, and your “A” game, because we’ll be pushing your comfort zone!

November Workshop Recap – Chapter Two: The Vikings

Having been on the road for 24 out of 30 days last month, I’m pretty glad to be home and even gladder to have a light calendar. That said, Norway was a great time!

Immediately (it seemed) following my return from OZ, I headed out for Oslo, Norway, to receive my Nobel Prize for Interiors Photography speak at the Finn Photographers’ dinner.

photo courtesy Tulipchain Photography


If you aren’t familiar with Finn.no, it’s basically the Norwegian answer to Craigslist. What you want —- it’s on Finn.no. And that includes real estate photography – really, really, good real estate photography. Finn employs 8 or 10 full-timers, and has relationships with about 70 more throughout Norway, making them the dominant force for the industry in that country.

Finn impressed me, on several fronts. First, they seem to understand that the key to making money in photography is to offer a compellingly superior product. To that end, they aggressively recruit the best photographers they can find, and provide in-depth training (which I was flattered to be a part of). Secondly – by all accounts, they treat their photographers extremely well. I spent time with a number of them, both employee and freelancers, and everyone seemed to be very happy with the company. How refreshing is that?!

On the Monday (and then Wednesday) following the conference dinner, I taught workshops, in a charming little duplex in the outskirts of Oslo. Here’s Thomas Arnestad, the Director of Photography, demonstrating some Norwegian ingenuity — using a diffuser cap as a drinking cup!

These were great workshops, because as a group, the Finn photographers were among the most advanced students I’ve ever worked with. We were able to dispense with most of the basics and really focus on the more subtle nuances of flash photography – working on ratios and strategies for adjusting exposures and the different ways light behaves. Fun stuff!

Mia made a quick video of lunch, on Monday:


It took me 3 attempts, but finally, on my last night in Oslo, I ate Lutefisk.

(sorry for the crappy low-light iPhoto!)

We had been turned away already at one place. And when I called the Stortorvets Gjestgiveri (about 400 years old, and reputed to have the best lutefisk in town) and got summarily rejected, I was ready to give up. It helps, however, to have a 195-cm native Norwegian friend to go in and ask for a table. It took John Lovas less than 5 minutes to bag us a table for 4, available immediately. Well done, John. And the result? Lutefisk ROCKS! As does roast reindeer, which was almost as good as the grilled kangaroo I’d had a couple weeks earlier. How do you decide which tastes better, Roo, or Rudolph?

Here’s one more iPhone shot from The Land of Perpetual Twilight:

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!