Archive for the ‘Behind the scenes’ Category

The sun has been shining so rarely these days that when it does, my phone rings off the hook with realtors and builders wanting to get some nice view shots. The other day I did a shoot for realtor Monique Badun out on the UBC campus. This top floor condo has a large wraparound patio that looks spectacular when the sun is out and the sky is blue. However, as most people know, shooting in the direct sun can be very problematic. The highlights are often blown out, and the shadows turn into inky black holes. So, flashes to the rescue: one on the camera, and another in my hand. Although my flashes are pretty powerful, they only have a range of about 20 feet in the sunshine. So the trick with shooting a sunny scene is to position the camera so the immediate foreground is darker than the background. That way the flash can light up whatever is right in front of you, and Mother Nature can light up the background. Here are a couple of samples of flash fill.

The image below was lit from on camera and the right side of the frame, and it stretches the limits of what a flash can light up outdoors.

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Virtual Staging

March 13, 2012

Hollywood special effects has come to the real estate business. Now you can add virtual furniture to an empty room for a fraction of the cost of real staging. Here are some images I shot of an unfurnished suite for Keith Roy, alongside the same image that has been doctored up by The technology is pretty impressive: perspective and shading are perfectly executed to fool your eye into thinking they are real three dimensional objects. It’s a great way to bring an empty room to life, and bring more potential buyers to your open house.

Portrait time: Man on a Bike

October 31, 2011

I don’t do a lot of portraits. I prefer to shoot things that don’t move, like chairs and windows and such. But I wanted to try out some new lighting techniques I stole learned from a photography blog recently.
So I recruited my friend Rick and his trusty hawg, and headed down to Spanish Banks around dinner time the other night. The challenge with shooting intricate, reflective objects like motorcycles is to use a light source that can get into the dark corners of the bike without blasting too much light on the chrome and metallic paint. The solution is to use a large light source, which in my case was a big white sheet clipped to a backdrop stand. We bounced a light off it, added one on Rick and one in the background and shot frames as the sun set. And here’s the result:

I like this look, because the subject sort of glows against the background but doesn’t draw attention to the lighting itself. Plus it came out of the camera almost ready to publish. A little tweaking in Photoshop, and we’re done like dinner.

Here’s my excuse…

October 4, 2011

I often get asked for finished photos on the same day that I take them. I don’t really mind, and I try to accommodate as much as I can. But sometimes it just can’t be done, because when I pack my camera in the trunk at the end of the day, my job is only half finished. The photos don’t just magically jump out of my camera and into your inbox (I wish). They march through a number of steps, through one piece of software into another, before they get the green light to proceed to the Internet.

I won’t bore you with the details, but by way of explanation here’s a typical shot as it looked straight out of the camera:

and here’s how it looks after I’m done messing with it:

Not all of the shots need this kind of work. Every once in a while I get keeper SOTC (Straight Outta The Camera – I just made that up). But they all get a lookover, and most get a makeover, and that’s all done after the nightly dinner/dogwalk ritual. And I have to fit a social life and some sleep in there somewhere, before the process starts all over again. So, I’ll do what I can, but if I say No, it’s not because I don’t like you.

Here’s Mike shooting a marketing video for a new listing of his in Gastown. The roof of the unit was unfinished, so we had to go up on the neighbour’s roof and climb over. That’s how hard this guy works to sell a listing.