Today I had something quite unexpected happen. I woke this morning to a notification from my Flickr account that I had a new follower. And just any new follower. It was a photographer whose work I really admire. He’s mainly known for his avant garde style in the fashion world. His name is Frank Doorhof. Here’s a link to his Flickr account; https://www.flickr.com/photos/frankdoorhof and his web site; http://www.frankdoorhof.com. I think you’ll be very impressed if you haven’t seen his work already. It’s some pretty cool stuff. Too continue on the same line of unexpected. Last week I shot a house for a realtor last week. The owner happened to be a relatively big name architect in the Philly area. I was a little nervous as I knew my images would be compared to the photographer that his firm uses. Here again a relatively big name. His name is Tom Crane. Here’s the link to his website; http://www.tomcranephotography.com So you can understand the sense of validation I got when I saw an email from the homeowner after I delivered a copy of the images to him. Here’s what he said.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent. The photos of our house are terrific and clearly attest to your skill and the time you took to compose and light the images.
It’s always nice to have your hard work notice and appreciated.
At the end of 2013 I made a commitment to myself to not only grow as a photographer but to grow the business as well. If January is any indication, I’m not going to have any problem growing the business. I’ve already done 4 real estate shoots in the past week. I’ve got 3 more scheduled for next week along with an event for the JDRF South Jersey Chapter, a wedding for Faymus Media and one more real estate shoot at the end of the month. If everything on schedule comes through I will have more than doubled the number of real estate shoots I did last January. Plus put another wedding under my belt. The biggest trick is getting all of the future promotions and work together and getting my name out to more realtors. This year I’m also going to put significantly more effort in getting my name to architects and designers. I REALLY want to get into more architectural work. It would be nice to spend the time really putting together a nice architectural shoot. I love getting all of the details together for shoots like that. The planning. The preproduction. And the ability to really craft an image. In the meantime I will continue honing my craft with real estate shoots. Speaking of which. I did a shoot last week for Charles Rappa. A realtor based in Northern Delaware and SEPA. He had me over to shoot a beautiful home of about 4500 sq. ft. While I was getting set-up Charles mentioned to me that house had been on the market before with another realtor. And that realtor had had the house shot several times because the owners were extremely picky in how they wanted the house represented. All Charles said to me was that the owners said “It’s all about the lighting.” Oh boy. Well, I did what I do and held my breath. The owners were out of town and wouldn’t be back for a couple of days. I completed the images and sent them off. Fingers and toes crossed. I heard back two days later. The owners loved the pictures! Thought that they truly represented the house. YEAH! Here’s a couple of examples from the shoot.
So the good news keeps rollin’ in. I received a phone call yesterday from my friend Rick Brown who, with his wife Bridget, is the on the Park and Rec committee for Westtown Township. Back in December Kim and I did the photography for their Winter Festival and I’ve done subsequent work photographing the Oakbourne Mansion for them. Rick proceeded to tell me some great news. They are using several of my shots in the monthly town magazine. The only problem. They didn’t give me credit for the images. Rick was very apologetic and said that they would include an errata in May’s issue AND they were going to use more of my images next month as well. Let’s hope they don’t forget the credit this time. As soon as I can I’m going to get a copy and check it out.
Well I didn’t get the cover. Drag. I thought the exterior shot was really great. I’ll be interested to see what image they chose. It is the first time I’ve seen my name next to the words Photography by. I hope this feeling of seeing my name as the photographer of record never gets old. Jo Anne from County Lines magazine forwarded me the pdf of the article and I’m very pleased with how the images turned out. There is always that trepidation when sending things to print. Are the colors going to be accurate? How are they going to crop the images? Which image are they going to use for main shot? Not that you have too much control over it. You prep your files as requested. Check your color space for any major shifts. Then it’s up to the layout artist, editors and printers to handle the rest. I think they did a really nice job.
Well last week was an exciting week. I received a phone call from one of my realtor clients asking me if I could do a shoot for them. Not a problem. So we scheduled the shoot for last Thursday. Well Thursday came and it was your typical grey, overcast late winter day. Not that I was thinking the Sun would come out but I was hoping. I arrived at the property to be greeted by the owner and a woman by the name of Jo Anne Durako. At this point I really wasn’t sure what was transpiring. My initial thoughts were that Jo Anne was part of the realtor’s team and was there to kind of oversee things. Well after talking with Jo Anne for a few minutes it turns out that she is the editor and VP of County Lines magazine and that I was there to provide photographs for the magazine as the property was being featured in the April issue. Wow! Awesome! So I was given relatively free reign. There were a couple of shots that they asked for specifically but other than that I was told to do what I normally did. Meanwhile Jo Anne interviewed the homeowner about the features, designer, architect and contractor. It was a really nice, clean, contemporary home that was actually a conversion that started off as an early 19th century farmhouse. I would have never guessed that in a million years if I hadn’t inquired. The day never got any better and I got some exterior shots but they weren’t anything to write home about. I was really hoping for something that “popped” but I wasn’t going to get it that day that was for sure. So I went back on Saturday hoping to get something more dramatic. Again the Sun did not cooperate so I waited for a nice dusk or night shot. No such luck. It got cloudy and there was just no color to the sky. So I sent what I had off to the magazine on Monday morning. It didn’t take long for Jo Anne to get back to me saying everything looked good except the exterior. I was expecting that. Monday afternoon brought out the Sun. Unfortunately I was already committed to another shoot on the other side of town but I told Jo Anne that I’d get over to the property and get a couple of night time shots. Well what a difference. Had beautiful clear skies and managed to get this shot.
Jo Anne liked it so much it might be the cover shot for magazine next month!
A few posts ago I mentioned a beautiful, 19th century mansion in Westtown Township called Oakbourne. This mansion was a private residence for one of the Drexels and then throughout the early part of the 20th century it was convalescent home for women. The mansion and it’s grounds are now a park in Westtown Township, PA. They have recently put forth a push to open the mansion for weddings and other events. I’ve been working in conjunction with Rick and Bridget Brown to help get the website and brochures together. My images are going to be prominently featured on both. As soon as they have them together I’ll get you the link and images of the brochure. It’s been a lot of fun as I’ve been left to my own devices in terms of getting the shots for them to use. Here’s a couple of shots that they are going to use. I think you’d agree that it’s a really great space. Lot’s of warm wood tones and absolutely gorgeous wood work.
Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post but things were just a little slow through the Holidays and first half of January. Well most of January. Since last week of January things on the real estate front have gotten very busy. I’ve done 9 shoots in the past two weeks and have 3 more scheduled for this week. Not that I’m complaining. While on hiatus I did a lot of studying on different techniques for HDR and architecture. I’ve since altered my workflow slightly by introducing Lightroom into the mix and also started shooting more bracketed sets. I’m liking the results and I think that the images I’m getting are really pretty good. I’m always looking to improve. I’m always looking to give myself that edge on the competition (Not that I have any according to my girlfriend. LOL.) I’ve also been brushing up on my portrait work and hoping to land a little bit more of that this year. Keep your eyes on my website as I’m in the middle of revamping and redesigning that as well.
In the meantime here are some shots of a couple of properties I’ve done in the past couple of weeks.
A blog or two ago I mentioned that I had shot the most expensive property I’ve ever shot. This was a fantastic property to say the least. 17 acres, 4 buildings including a twin guest house, a separate barn/garage and a clock tower and office building. While shooting I found out that this house wasn’t even the original home for the property. It was the stables for the original 250 acre Adrossan farm. It was gorgeous. Meticulously landscaped and cared for. Something else I found out while I was there was that the house had been shot several years ago for Architectural Digest. No pressure. Right? Here’s a little comparison for you. The AD shoot took three days and as the owner put it “An army of people.” I can only imagine how many people were there. Photographer, assistant(s), set dresser(s), producer, and probably a couple of people just to move furniture around. I’m also imaging that there was a truck load of gear as well. Not to mention the editor and post person and post supervisor for after the shoot. My shoot for the realtor…….just 4 and a half hours (plus an additional hour for the night shots) by myself with the realtor. I used one Speedlight and a Gary Fong Lightsphere. No pressure. Riiiiiiiight. Well as someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words………so here’s a few thousand for you to digest.
Well things are starting to pick up. I’ve got 3 real estate jobs scheduled and 2 more pending. So it looks like it’s going to be a busy week. On top of that my girlfriend and I are in the midst of looking for a new place ourselves. It wasn’t until I started looking at all of these different houses that I realized just how bad most real estate photography is. I understand that most realtors don’t think that quality photography is worth the extra cost. Especially on the houses that are in the middle price range. I have seen more images that are under exposed, not framed properly, not level or just plain bad than I thought I would ever want to see. I really can’t believe the number shots of just a fireplace I’ve seen. Do they really think that gives a potential buyer any idea what the house feels like? Especially when the fireplace isn’t clean. There also seems to be an overall aversion to putting the toilet seat down. If I have one bit of wisdom to pass along to realtors it’s this. Take 10 minutes and make sure that the place is clean and de-cluttered. Hide the dirty dishes. Put the kid’s toys away. And make sure the toilet seat is down. In this day and age where most people do their house hunting on line, quality pictures do more to get a potential buyer’s interest than you think. I will admit that I’m fortunate to work with realtors who get it and shoot a lot of high end properties. For that I am truly grateful.
As I promised a while back here are some finished images from a house in Upper Merion. This one was not staged. Just great decorating on the current owner’s part.
Sorry this is getting out to you late today. Been busy finishing images and floor plans from my latest shoot. This was a really nice loft condo in a converted office building in downtown Philly. I really enjoy shooting architecture and interiors. It can be challenging but I think I’m getting pretty good at.