HDR wins Contractor of the Year

New ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

We’d like to say congratulations to one of our clients, HDR Remodeling for taking the 2019 Contractor of the Year award from NARI, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. We’d like to think our photography was instrumental in winning the award. This award is for an ADU, an Accessory Dwelling Unit. These projects are becoming quite popular in the San Francisco Bay Area where there is a high demand for housing. You can read more about this project on HDR’s website. We’ve photographed several ADU projects for HDR as well as those for several other clients.

Article in GC Magazine

Contemporary dining room photographed for Rasmussen Construction.

Of the 14 companies listed in The Best General Contractors in Oakland, we can claim eight of those companies as our clients. Not a bad statistic considering how many general contractors provide services in Oakland. Check out the article in the current issue of General Contractor Magazine. Of the companies listed we’ve provided photography for Oliver Builders, Rasmussen Construction, Black Creek Builders, Wolfe, Design Set Match, Alward Construction Company, HDR Remodeling, and McCutcheon Construction. We feel like we’re in good company.

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. 

Tricks of the Trade – Part 2

Back in the days of film most photographers would use  lights to solve lighting problems. Adding light via artificial lights was called additive lighting. Many photographers still use lights. And a skilled photographer can get stunning results with effective use of lights.

I like to use subtractive lighting when it’s appropriate. Taking away the natural light when it’s creating problems. Here’s an example of how that works. Notice in the following image there is a bright highlight at the foot of the door cast by the sun coming through the overhead skylight.

I decided that this was a distraction from the overall composition. In the second frame you see my assistant, Ken, holding a card to cut the light.

The third image below shows the result of blending the first two images to remove the hot spot. Sometimes these hot spots can add to the composition, so I don’t have a hard rule for dealing with them. The same technique can be used to remove reflections on artwork or related reflective surfaces.

I like to work with natural light, since it tends to creates a sense  of drama and a sense of depth, and it helps show off design elements, particularly lighting that might not read as well with artificial light.

Save the Date: August 4

Berkeley Remodel Photographed for Studio Bergtraun

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.

Diablo Magazine

The April 2018 issue of Diablo Magazine has a six page spread of our photos accompanying an article about the 30th CSL Heart of the Home Tour. You can check out the the on-line version of the magazine here. The home tour is a fund raising event for the Children’s Support League of the East Bay. The tour takes place April 27 and 28 of this year. You can buy tickes for the event here. This is an opportunity to visit some amazing homes featuring some top designers, contractors and architects. We’ve been providing photographic services pro-bono to CSL for several years, and every year the investment time pays dividends on the business we get through the exposure, not to mention the fact that we’re supporting a worthy cause.




Heart of the Home Coming Up

We seem to have become the official photographer for the Children’s Support League (CSL) of the East Bay’s Heart of the Home Tour. We spent two days earlier this month photographing the homes that will be on the tour. The tour happens in April, but the photography has to happen well ahead of the tour in order to get the publicity together for the event. It’s quite fun to photograph some amazing Piedmont homes and the staff of CSL are great folks to work with. We’ve developed quite a team over the years we’ve been doing this.

Here’s a photo from one of the homes, with a dog that was well trained and quite willing to pose for us. While we give our time pro-bono to CSL, we’ve always managed to make a good return from our investment when the designer, architects and contractors that have worked on the homes come to us for additional work.



2017 Bay Area Remodeling Awards

We’d like to give a shout out to several of our clients, Leff Construction Design/Build, Wilkinson Design+Construction, and the Architects office for taking awards at the 2017 Bay Area Remodeling Awards. Every year the San Francisco chapter of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) hosts an event to acknowledge the top remodeling projects in the Bay Area, inviting members of the San Francisco, Diablo Valley and North Bay chapters to participate.  This year NARI partnered with Modern Luxury Interiors Magazine to help facilitate the event. High quality photography is essential to preparing an award winning entry and we’d like to think our photography helped influence the judges.

Award Winning Clients

We’d like to congratulate two of our clients, The Architects office and Leff Construction for winning awards at the Bay Area Remodeling awards on Wednesday April 26th. The Architects office took the top award for an Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 range. The photo above shows the view from the deck.  Leff Construction Design/Build took top award for Entire House Over $1,000,000. The awards represent the best remodeling projects in the greater Bay Area, with three chapters of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), covering the San Francisco Bay Area, North Bay and Diablo Valley.


Flooring that Matters


Flooring in a residential remodel

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.