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Sunday, April 18, 2010



It's kind of embarrassing how many photos I take of myself. At least once a week I want to try something new with my camera now that I have some studio space. So, I will set up a tripod, a remote shutter cable and some lights and click through 50 or 60 photos. Sometimes it turns out good... sometimes not. And while I'd prefer to take photos of a prettier model, I think the practice is good for me. If I can make myself look presentable just think what I could do with some good-looking people!

If you are a hot model... call me.

These were done with with a main light straight on through an umbrella, a backlight camera left and a green gelled speedlight aimed behind me on a white paper backdrop. The camera was set at f/9 to keep all of me in focus.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


There are a lot of cutesy ways that real estate agents try to market themselves. We've all seen the refrigerator magnets, post-it pads, keychains and pens plastered with their smiling faces. But most agents put considerably less investment into marketing the homes they sell. Chances are, you've also seen these lackluster efforts manifest themselves in this—the Xerox copy. That's usually the takeaway from an open house or one of those info boxes on the "For Sale" sign. If you are lucky they are in color. Most times, they represent the home in the same way that a driver's license photo represents a person. Yeah, you can tell what it is, but it's not presented in the best light possible.
Earlier this year, I started working with some real estate agents and property managers to help them display the full potential of their properties and to give them an edge on their competition using some simple photographic techniques and design principles. Below, you can see the difference between a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR with a few flash units.
There are obvious differences. For the first photo the point-and-shoot is zoomed out as wide as it will go. It was set on "auto" and didn't fire a flash. The couch looks OK. But the kitchen is dark, the lights that are on are completely blown out and you can only see half of the room. The second photo is a 40D with a 10-22mm lens. There is one flash (camera right) bouncing off the ceiling and one flash (camera left) bouncing off of the left wall. Huge difference!
Same stuff going on here. The wide angle lens lets you see more of the room and it appears to be bigger. This shot uses just one flash bounced off the wall behind me. Because of the bounced light there aren't any glaring reflections in the shiny surfaces of the kitchen and the wooden cabinets look nice.
Bathrooms are tricky, mostly because they are small spaces and have mirrors that make it difficult to hide yourself or your lights from showing up in the frame. Again, you can see that adding light from a flash keeps the light fixtures from looking blown out and the wood looking more natural. This shot had one flash bouncing off either the floor or ceiling near the camera and one coming in the doorway near the back cabinets.
Each time I shoot a house I'm getting better at it and faster at setting up the lighting for the shot. Reading Strobist definitely helped with understanding the techniques but there's really no better way to learn than pulling out all your gear and giving it a go. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Last weekend I jumped in the car with some friends and headed down to Tennessee to see two great friends get hitched. The ceremony was in this awesome old mill with tall ceilings and distressed wooden floors in the charming suburb of Lebanon. By the way, I learned that it's not pronounced Leb-a-Non. Down here it's Leba-nen. Anyway, it was a perfect weekend, and the first warm Easter I have experienced on the East coast. Heather and Ryan hired a local pro photographer for their wedding but I brought my camera along for snapping shots of friends. The photos below and dozens of other high resolution photos can be downloaded for free from my Smugmug proofing site. Yee-haw!

Monday, April 5, 2010