some D.C. nightlights… Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument
some D.C. nightlights… Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument
Utilizing a wide-angle lens in real estate photography is essential for getting the most out of a property… simply, it lets you SEE MORE! There are many different approaches and methods to shooting houses. Desicions about composition, lighting, processing, and editing all go into every home that’s photographed, and many times the approach changes based on the listing and conditions. One thing that’s constant for me is the use of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED for Nikon. For short, ULTRA WIDE ANGLE. For ADAMBPHOTO it’s a no-brainer that the wide-angle lens is the only way to go. Why? because it allows you to see more. More floor space. More house. More everything. See for yourself.
Two sets of photos taken with different equipment back to back seems like a decent way to compare. Here’s the difference the wide-angle lens makes in helping market homes:
The difference is EVERYTHING. Have a look:
This is an article not an advertisement… not intended to bash someone else’s photos, but to simply show the difference a wide-angle lens makes.
Back in the Bluegrass. Back to work.
Last week I had the pleasure of shooting this beautiful property in Richmond, KY for realtor Bob Sophiea of Keller Williams Greater Lexington and 411lex.com. Its six acres on the Kentucky River provide plenty of space and plenty of peace, and the custom built home was actually designed by its current owners who’ve been there for 17 years. With 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms and 3,377 square feet, it’s got a modern country feel to it, wide open living spaces and windows with amazing views all around. I’ve seen and photographed a handful of properties in Boone’s Trace Subdivision, but none as uniquely country living as this. To get this kind of country feel this close to the city is pretty special if you ask me.
My approach for this shoot was to emphasize the openness of the floorplan and to show off the natural scenery through the windows Combining different flash positions and multiple exposures from each angle allowed me to light up these interiors while preserving the views of outside. Perhaps the “easy” way of doing this would be 3, 5 or even 7 exposures smashed into HDR images… but where’s the fun in that? I have my processes and I wanted the challenge, so I went with my way instead and couldn’t be happier with the decision. HDR images can take away the “natural” look of light coming in, and with this country house I wanted all natural all the way.
My photography is always evolving. It’s better than it used to be and not as good as it will be. The beauty of doing it every day is, I’m one step closer to being better for the next one. Thanks for checking this out!
Some highlights of the shoot:
As of January 2016, Adambphoto has relocated to Los Angeles and the pursuit of new opportunity is officially on. I was very fortunate for the chance to photograph this beautiful home back in November, and after taste of what Southern California Real Estate had to offer the camera, I realized it was time for a change. This modern beachfront property sits on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and is without question my favorite place I’ve photographed.
It took 30 seconds in the living room to think: “this is why I got into Real Estate photos.” Then, it took 5 seconds on the back veranda to decide to move my business across the country. The competition is better, the price tags are a little higher, and the room for error is a whole lot smaller. I’m always looking forward to the next opportunity and challenge, and it’s true now more than ever. “Do your practice, all is coming.”
Some highlights from the shoot:
For almost five years Catch 22 restaurant in Hilton Head Island, SC was basically my home away from home. From 2006 until 2010 I worked there, played there, built some great friendships, and was exposed to the best food I’ve ever had. It’s a one of a kind place that gives me a special feeling to have been a part of it. A few weeks ago while down visiting the island, I had the opportunity to get back into Catch 22 and photograph its interiors. The owners are still good friends of mine, so getting in the door was pretty easy. I wanted to try and provide them with some new materials for advertising and marketing, plus jump on the opportunity to photograph such a cool place. Up to this point commercially, I’d done some offices and retail spaces, but never a space quite like this one. Seashell tables, place settings, hanging glassware and fresh artwork? Yes please.
I enjoyed being back around my old home base. There were subtle changes here and there, and the biggest change I looked forward to seeing was all the artwork. The restaurant is also an art gallery full of amazing photos and paintings by local artist L. Robert Stanfield. Each time he switches out his work or sells it, the new stuff he brings in changes the atmosphere and brings a new look. I always liked that about working there… great changing scenery in the same place.
On top of the artwork, the food is the best on the island. Chef Bryan Bobinchuck does amazing things with fresh seafood, and it’d take a whole different article to tackle that. If you’ve never been there, it needs to go on your list.
With these photos, I went with the tripod and automatic bracketing method to shoot the interiors. The shoot was in the middle of the day with lots of bright natural light coming in, and I wanted to get the right exposures of the insides without the blown out windows. So, for some of the photos I exposed for the windows, and for others for the tables, chairs or art. Afterwords I had multiple images ranging from light to dark from each angle giving me plenty to work with in editing. I blended the multiple exposures into HDR images in Photoshop, then made some slider adjustments as needed.
I’m pleased with what I ended up with, and I sure hope the owners of Catch 22 are too. They gave me an opportunity to try something different and new with photography, and if these are of help to them then awesome. It was great to see them and the restaurant, and looking forward to the next visit.
A few more from the shoot:
This country home has to be one of the most unique and awesome listings I’ve ever seen. Originally a smaller house sitting next to a barn, the owner had the two renovated and combined to make the beautiful home that sits there now. Keeping the original structure of the house and barn, it a very unique feel inside, and entire property has Kentucky outdoors written all over it. At the time of the shoot the leaves had just begun changing to fall colors, and the view looking down to the North Elkhorn Creek was spectacular.
Typically the better the listing, the greater the expectation is for great photos. With that, I used automatic bracketing on this one, and spent plenty of extra time in post processing. Blending different exposures of the same image can produce great results when done correctly, and I think these ones turned out pretty good.
Here’s some highlights of what I call “the barnhouse” just outside Lexington, Ky.
The St. Jude Dreamhome Giveway in Lexington is officially in the books. The project raised $700,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, by selling 7,000 raffle tickets at $100/apiece… with the money all going straight to cancer research, and the keys going straight to the new owner. Drew and Erin Brester with DB Homes did an amazing job on this house valued at about $450,000… and managed to build this beautiful home for FREE. The subcontractors, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers each had very important roles in making this thing happen, and I’m sure the people at St. Jude are extremely happy to have had such a success in their first Lexington Dreamhome Project. The work put into this awesome house deserves to be applauded, and I was lucky enough to watch and take photos through the whole process. Between following the stages of construction and using this home to practice different techniques for shooting photo and video, I’ve taken thousands of pics in this house. Here’s some of the ones I like the most from just before the giveaway, a showcase of the beautiful work by DB Homes and everyone that helped contribute.
Maybe my favorite part of shooting houses is when I come across a listing with an awesome back porch or veranda. Composing pictures with what the back porch gives you can be a lot more fun than some of the more cubical interior pics. Handrails, decks and concrete edges provide great leading lines, while pergolas, exterior brick and siding give us cool patterns and textures. Outdoor colors and light are always great to work with… then throw in some purdy clouds and sky and you have all the ingredients for great outdoor real estate photos. Taking pictures of the sky is something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a kid, so when it overlaps with work I’m a happy camper.
In the Lexington real estate photography business, all pictures are expected to be awesome. But what makes an awesome photo? Well, that can be measured a number of different ways, many of which depend on who’s judging. The way I see it if nine out of ten people look at a picture and think its great, it works for me. In business, if the client’s happy, the homeowners happy, and it’s a photo I’m personally proud of taking… then I’ll take it!
Now, I didn’t go to camera college. I don’t have a degree of any kind in photography. (yet) and there’s probably a number or photographers out there who might shake their heads critiquing my photos. But I love what I do, people pay me to do it, and from time to time I get compliments on my work which is always great to hear. My knowledge comes from research, practice and the experience of learning something new with every opportunity.
Take away all the technical details of what’s going on inside the camera, and you’re left with the fun part of where and how to point it. As far as composition goes, I’m a fan of symmetry. I like leading lines and getting the eyes to follow paths across the picture. Sharp angles and lines to follow make great pictures in my opinion, and back porches provide plenty of options. Skies? I love skies. Here’s some examples of some of the fun outdoor shots I’ve taken in the past month or so on different porches, verandas, and decks. Keep in mind that all these photos are paid listing photos, and with the importance of getting pictures taken and posted like yesterday for new listings, waiting for perfect lighting in all these wasn’t possible. If I had it my way every sky/background for outdoor listing photos would look something like this:
I wish I could do every one of these outdoor shots with golden hour lighting (beautiful sunrise or sunset skies), but those aren’t always the circumstances when I’m scheduled for work. I make the best of the time I have to shoot the houses, and try to shoot from fun and creative angles.
These are some of my recent favorites from adambphoto listing photos. Enjoy!
It’s all about the lighting. In real estate photography, or any photography this is very true. I’ve found that the lighting conditions in different homes are what make or break the entire shoot, and the better the light the better the photos. Even with the use of on and off-camera flash, a home’s lighting situation can completely alter my approach to different shots, and many times the entire house. Sometimes its a consistancy issue… different kinds of light conflicting in the same frame. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having enough light, or other times too much. Then there’s situations where there’s plenty of light, but its coming from the wrong direction (sun directly behind the house while trying to shoot a front exterior for example). For me, working around the lighting conditions is the most challenging part of taking real estate photos, and what keeps every shoot interesting.
These issues come up in just about every home I photograph, but then there are times when the conditions are close to perfect, and when this happens the camera work becomes a whole lot easier. Last week was a perfect example while shooting a new construction home for Realtor Jesse Kerr and the Kerr Team of Keller Williams Greater Lexington. A 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath model built by McCarty Builders in the Summerfield subdivision was the perfect subject for an evening shoot just before sunset. Natural light beaming through the windows lit up the rooms and spaces, but not so bright it altered my camera settings to soak up all the light bouncing off the walls. Plus, this late in the day with the sun at such a low angle, the light coming in shoots across the open floors painting lines of light that I think add to the appeal of the photos.
A late afternoon or cloudy day seems to provide the best conditions for photos in my opinion, and it shows in the quality of the pictures. It’s great when there’s enough light coming in to illuminate the interiors, but not so bright it blows out the windows white in single exposure shots. Having great interior lighting while still being able to see through the windows is a good thing. This place’s soft colors and open spaces certainly help too.
This shoot was fun for a couple of reasons. The lighting was great, the colors, lines and spaces were fun to work with, and having the freedom to shoot alone in an empty house can be relaxing compared to some of the more “pressured” photoshoots when I feel like someone’s standing over me watching. It’s a nice change of pace to really take my time and have the house all to myself sometimes. The opportunity to experiment with camera settings, angles and different kinds of shots isn’t a luxury I have in every photoshoot. The words “just lock the door when you’re finished” can be magical.
So, great conditions, a beautiful model home just completed and cleaned up, and the freedom to take my sweet time. All this, not to mention the beautiful lighting for the exterior shots. Nothing beats a great sunset off the back porch or patio for pictures. The more I shoot homes like this under these conditions, the more great photos I’ll take. Looking forward to the next opportunity to work with Jesse Kerr and the Kerr Team of Kentucky.
“Wow! Every room is like a present…” -adam brester
One of the best parts about photographing real estate is getting to see and be around awesome real estate all the time. Some of the homes I’ve seen are amazing, and this life-size dollhouse is a perfect example. A.B. Photo traveled an hour south to Danville, Ky to photograph a new listing with Realtor Bob Sophiea this past week, and the subject was truly one of a kind. This historical home was built in 1840 with 12′ ceilings, hanging chandeliers, hardwood floors throughout and has preserved as much of the original craftmanship as possible over the years. Just walking through the house felt like a tour where you’re not allowed to touch anything.
With just under 5,000 square feet of space, every room I walked into was like a present to my camera. It was pretty close to walking through a life-size country dollhouse, with each room just as beautifully staged as the last. From the wooden window blinds in every room to the original ceiling beams, brick walls, and fireplaces, the old country feeling in this house was unlike any other home I’ve photographed.
There’s a unique feeling when wandering through a historical home like this, almost forcing you to appreciate its age and history. For it to be so well preserved and maintained over the years is extremely impressive, and its age actually contributes to the “wow” factor in every single room. As far as listing photography goes, this is definitely one of my favorites. It’s opportunities to see beautiful listings like this that make photographing real estate so much fun for me.
Some of the highlights from this amazing country home at 238 North Third Street in Danville, Ky: