Twilight In Old Northeast St Petersburg

Old Northeast Twilight Shoot

Old Northeast neighborhood sprawls 30 block north of Downtown St Petersburg and is one of the largest residential neighborhoods in our city. There probably isn’t a style of home that you can’t find here. Tudor, Foursquare, Colonial, Craftsman, Federal and, of course, Soutern Bungalow are all present here in multitude of shapes and sizes. You will also find some Mid-Century Modern and even Neo-Modern style homes in Old Northeast.

This time I was doing a shoot of sort of a mix between mildly Tudor with Federal-inspired brick exterior. Day-time presented a challenge of many surrounding oak trees that cast heavy shadow, yet with sun shooting through the leaves. The contrast of brick layers with such light is not easy on your eye. As a real estate photographer I had to figure something out. The solution was to take twilight shots. Here are a few shots from this session.

back-st-pete-house-old-ne

twilight-stpetersburgIMG_3182kitchen2871

Staircases Are Big Deal In St Pete Homes

Stairs, Stairs, Stairs

living250In Atlanta, just like in Tampa Bay where I lived before moving here there are many two or three story homes. For those who want to own a large home few options exist other than building up. I enjoy taking photos and video of such properties as they often offer quite interesting picture compositions.

St Petersburg Home Staircase

Usually one of the main features of a large two-story home is its’ staircase. I’ve seen some that involved glass, beautiful rod-iron work, elegant all-wood staircases, some made of oak, some with cherry steps, curved, straight, round, multilevel, I’ve seen them all. Perhaps you could use some inspiration for your next home. Here I am sharing my photos of a few cool staircases with you. Enjoy!

foyer228

Tampa Bay Stairs Photos

stairs175

livingroom376

Money Shots – Part 1 – Living Rooms

Money Shots – Part 1 – Living Rooms

Living Room Snell Isle home

Let’s pause and think for a minute: at what rooms do you spend most times looking when searching for a home?  What room photos do you just scroll through and which ones you observe with extra interest?  I guess the answer will be – the photos of a room you will mostly spend your time in (not sleeping in!), a room in your future home that most visitors will see – your living room.

living room Snell ArcadeWhen browsing through listings you look for character, rooms size, windows placement, floors type and other features.  Sometimes you just like how the home feels based on the photos.  And when you are a buyer you don’t like surprises during your first showing, you want the room to look as close as possible to what you saw in the picture.  This means the size shown in the photo must (or should) reflect true scale of things.  Often this is hard to achieve because the mind of a seller and real estate agent wants to showcase the whole room in one shot.  This is possible with the use of an ultra-wide lens.  However, shooting a room at a focal length under 15mm will make the room look larger than it really is.

living room kitchen Brightwaters BlvdShooting with an ultra-wide lens is sometimes useful, especially in tightareas like small bathrooms. But with larger rooms most of the time it is not necessary.

Here’s why it’s better to shoot above 15mm:

– You will have better shot compositions

– You will have more “out-of-shot” spaces to hide extra flashes and thus have a better lit image

– Room size will look close to reality – no surprises for buyers

The interesting thing about human mind is that we can easily complete an image in our head if we only see a portion of a subject, so sometimes it’s ok to cut off a portion of a sofa or a large frame, especially if there are two of them side by side.  So, if I can’t show a whole room in one photo how do I showcase it to the buyer?  Take another shot from a different angle or corner of that room, make a connecting shot with the kitchen or dining room.

living room Snell IsleMost MLSs will allow up to 25 photos, so impress your potential buyers with money shots: living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens.  Trust me, most bedrooms have 4 walls and a bed in the middle, one picture of your bedroom is usually enough for marketing purposes. Small bathrooms or half baths?  Not really necessary to showcase at all.  Much rather find a few cool architectural features and add their photos to your marketing portfolio.

Photos of your living room are your money shots.  Make them stand out, spend time finding a good composition and work on your lighting – it will pay off.  And if you are busy selling and can’t take the photos yourself, you can always hire me, I’m available to shoot anywhere in Atlanta.  Check out my photography portfolio, video tours and pricing.

Shooting Photos And Video At Snell Arcade

Photo And Video Shoot At Snell Arcade

front Snell ArcadeOne of the exciting things of being a real estate photographer is that you often get to enter some very unique properties.  I’ve been in hundreds of homes, condominiums and townhouses in over 4 years of both my real estate and, now, photography career. I primarily focus on luxury real estate, that’s where I can fully apply my photo and video production techniques.  Many of such homes are new(er) construction, which I love to shoot, but sometimes I am invited to take pictures of a historical gem.

There’s a lot of history tied to Snell Arcade and I was excited when a Smith & Associate agent, Brian Sprague, invited me to shoot his new listing, unit #210.  I’ve once visited a penthouse on 7th floor and was very impressed by the updates, unique balconies and its’ open, yet sophisticated layout.  This new place was on the second floor and much larger, with two good-size bedrooms and two and a half baths.

You can Google about the history, of this early 1920’s building, the club that was here, Mr. Snell’s office at the very top (which is now a two-story loft) and people that worked here.  But today I simply wanted to share a few photos and a short video with you.

living room Snell Arcadekitchen Snell Arcadekitchen-living Snell Arcadebedroom Snell Arcadebath-half Snell Arcadebathroom Snell Arcade

HDR Photography For Real Estate – Good Or Bad?

Found on omahavideosolutions.com

Found on omahavideosolutions.com

HDR stands for high-dynamic-range imaging.  While the history of HDR can be tracked as far back as 1850’s when Gustave Le Grey manually cropped and combined parts of a photo with various exposures into one single image, wide-spread use in real estate photography didn’t come into play till late 1990’s when digital cameras and special software made it possible for quicker results.

A stunning HDR photo is hard to achieve.  It often requires between 5 and 20 shots of the same composition at different exposure settings and then using different techniques like tone-mapping or exposure fusion in Photomatix or other program.  Some cameras have built-in software and can deliver an HDR image by combining 3 or more shots which the camera automatically takes at different exposures.

Found of phoenixrealestatephotography.com

Found of phoenixrealestatephotography.com

When it comes to shooting interiors HDR is often used by those who have limited knowledge about lighting with multiple flash units.  An HDR image is usually taken without any flash.  HDR is quicker to shoot, and the results are often good. It’s a great option for beginners.  However, if you really want to create mood in your composition and make it look as natural as possible, using multiple off-camera flashes is much more beneficial.

Lack of flash in HDR results in vibrant yet quite flat images.  A photo will look “artistic” because it will look like a painting, over saturated and not natural.

No HDR here. Using 3 off-camera flashes.

No HDR here! Using 3 off-camera flashes.

Our eyes actually do see things closer to what an HDR image looks like, but the coverage area we naturally observe with our eyes is much larger than a 5×7 photo.  That’s why HDR images are much easier to take in in a form of a poster or billboard.  Cramming every properly exposed pixel into one small image will throw our brain off. Another issue I personally have with interior HDR photos is almost always the windows come out underexposed, which makes a photo look very unnatural.

no HDR - exterior photo St Petersburg house

No HDR here either. Correct exposure and slightly opened shadows in Photoshop to expose texture on the back of the chair. No need to kill shadows completely!

But there are times HDR can be useful.  I’d use it more for exterior shots when the front of the house has heavy shadows.  And also when you or your client do want that artistic/painting look for extra effect.  However, shooting in RAW format will allow you to capture an extra stop each way allowing you to bring out the shadows and turn down the highlights all without fiddling with HDR settings.  So, my suggestion to anyone wanting to produce great real estate photos – learn how to use multiple flashes and shoot in RAW.