Portola Valley Remodel

Despite the rain and overcast we’ve managed to complete several photo shoots this week. Monday, February 11 we spent the day photographing projects for Gilman’s Kitchens and Baths. With a crew of four we were able to photograph three projects, a project in Campbell, which took the better part of the morning, then a mid-century remodel in Portola Valley and finally a kitchen in Foster City. We left my house at 7 am and were back at 7 pm. The weather worked to our advantage on Monday. For much of the interior photography we do I prefer the soft light of overcast skies. This produces a nice soft light and it helps bring the landscape in without too much contrast. You can see this in the photo above. The green vegetation in the windows seems to compliment the design of the room.

Why does it take four people to photograph a house? I like to have one person on the crew that knows the client’s story and can art direct to make sure we’re capturing the images that tell that story. I also like to have somebody as a stylist that can arrange flowers and props and such. Finally, I like to have an assistant that knows my gear and can help with the technical aspects of creating an image. This might involve putting up drapes or flags to control unwanted reflections. It’s also more fun to work with a crew, particularly if we’ve worked together before and can develop a rhythm to how we work.

December AIA Newsletter

One of our clients, Levitch Associates, Inc. is featured in the December East Bay AIA ARCHNews. The article describes the challenges of a residential remodeling project in East Bay city of Albany. The article includes several photos we captured of the project including the kitchen and bath. We’ve photographed over three dozen projects for Levitch in the past three years, with projects ranging from residential remodels to salon and restaurant remodels. The Levitch website features much of our work. We’ll be photographing more work for Levitch in 2019.

Napa Remodel

Photographed for Plath and Co.

We recently had the opportunity to photograph a remodel of a magnificent  house in Napa.  We arrived on location at 10:00 in the morning and spent the day photographing both interior and exterior features.  One of our specialties is photographing projects like this at dusk. Towards dusk when the  sun starts to set and the skylight starts to dim the interior of the house comes to life. When photographing earlier in the day the windows tend to look like black holes.

We were here for a re-shoot. The client was not happy with the photos that resulted from the previous photo shoot with another photographer.  It seems that photographer provided photos that served as vignettes, showing particular details. Architects and contractors are interested in photos that represented more expansive photos of the interior and exterior spaces.  So we set out with that in mind.

While I like to work solely with available light, the previous photographer used lights. Using lights can be time consuming. Every light you put up creates it’s own highlights and shadows and getting the resulting mix of lights to look natural takes skill. With natural light I like to play with the existing shadows and highlights, which I believe can add drama and life.

I was told by one of the crew members that was on the previous shoot that we seemed to be paying more attention to composition and aesthetics where the previous photographer was preoccupied with the lights. 

Being Prepared on a Photo Shoot


One of the things that leads to a successful photo shoot is being able to solve problems on location. Besides our cameras the next item in our arsenal that gets the most use is a red mop bucket full of cleaning supplies: glass cleaner, towels, Goof Off and a variety of other items. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve reached for that bucket on a photo shoot.

On Tuesday evening though we had a situation that we hadn’t anticipated. We were scheduled to shoot a sun room addition with a fire pit. We checked ahead and confirmed that the fire pit was working. When it came time to turn the fire on we discovered that the propane tank was empty. To save the shoot I was able to pull the propane tank off my pop-up camper and use it to fuel the fire pit.

 

Layers of Design

On a recent photo shoot we were scouting this location looking for an image that would convey something about the essence of the residence. As I walked around the living room I saw this view, From the living room, looking through a hall out to the main entry and the courtyard. I decided this was one of the views we would use to communicate something about this house. This is one of the homes that will be on the Heart of the Home tour in late April.

 

 

In the News!

The Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle for Sunday October 11 has a story about a house we photographed for the architectural firm of Studio Bergraun. This house has been in the news several times, having been on the AIA East Bay home tour a couple of months ago. We’re always happy to see our photos working hard to create visibility for our clients.

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New Home in Portola Valley

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Yesterday evening found us in Portola Valley on the site of a beautiful new home. Designed by architects Mark Tetrault and Marc Lindsell of 2M Architecture and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders. We had a crew of five on the photo shoot, both Mark and Marc from 2M, Kimberly Moses
of Kimberly Moses Design, the landscape architect, my assistant Marco Hyman and myself.  At dusk with had two cameras going, with Marco on one side of the house and me on the other. I believe we captured some stunning photos of a truly amazing project. This marks my fifth visit to this location, since we originally visited the site to walk-through and photograph the interior, followed by two days of photography to capture the interiors, another visit in the spring to plan the exterior photos, and last night to capture the exterior images with the landscaping in place.

Dale Hardware Bronze Sculpture

Dale Hardware

I was meeting with a client today and reminded of a photo shoot we did for the client, FCGA Architecture, at Dale Hardware in Fremont.  We did this last fall, and in reviewing the work with the client I was reminded how remarkable it is to see artwork of this scale on a retail location like a hardware store. Life-size bronze sculptures of workers,  Here’s a worker about to loose his footing on a ladder, hanging onto the Dale Hardware sign.  Complete with tool belt.

Photos in the April Diablo Magazine

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The April issue of Diablo Magazine has an article about the upcoming Heart of the Home Tour. The article written by Jeanne Berres talks about the homes that will be on tour. The six page spread includes eight of our photos. The article starts on page 46. The Heart of the Home Tour is a fund raising event for the Children’s Support League of the East Bay (CSL). CSL serveS disadvantaged and at-risk children throughout the East Bay.