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.
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.
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.
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.
Save the date – August 4, 2018. That’s the date for this year’s AIA East Bay Home tour. We recently photographed one of the houses that will be on the tour, a remodel by Studio Bergtraun. An amazing project. Tickets will go on sale June 1. Mark your calendar and buy your tickets here.
It isn’t often I can walk into a job site and simply set up the camera and shoot, but this was one such project we photographed for Gilman’s Kitchens and Baths. This was a condo remodeling project of a 1930’s vintage unit it San Mateo. Nicely designed, nicely executed, and the owner’s had good taste in furnishings and art. The place was also spotless when we arrived, and Gilman’s crew, simply packed up their props and went to the next location. This was one of three locations we photographed over the course of the day. We have an ongoing arrangement with Gilman’s, where they supply the staging crew and manage the stating, and I simply show up with the camera and start shooting.
We recently had the opportunity to create photos for Galleher, a distributor for flooring. We connected with Galleger when Treve heard Danny Harrington give a presentation on sustainable forest products at a recent NARI meeting. Danny has considerable experience with world wide forest products, having spent considerable time in many exotic locations where timber is harvested. For this image we removed the area rug and several pieces of furniture to show off the flooring.
We were photographing a detached garage which had be remodeled to serve as an entertainment center when we ran accross this workbench that had be repurposed to serve as a vanity. Â In the process of remodeling the contractor discovered this work bench on the property and thought it might be put to use. The project was photographed for HDR RemodelingÂ of Berkeley.
We recently had the opportunity to photograph a remodeled condominium on Russian Hill. The interior designer, Bonnie Blickle, the contractor Plath & Company
Plath, and the architect DomA Architects, Inc. all pitched in to create a package deal. All the parties ended up with some awesome photos at a savings.
Congratulations to FMS Projects, Leff Construction, and McCutcheon Construction, Inc. for taking first place in the REMMIES awards. McCutcheon had several enteries, and the two entries for which we provided photos won first in kitchen and bath categories and the kitchen took the grand prize as well.Â The REMMIES is an annual design contest sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). In this new economy you image is vital, and with so many people using the web to find you, having award winning photography to put on your website and in your marketing materials gives you an edge on the market. Now is the time to take action to make sure your photos are working for you. Call us at 510-841-0905.