There are times when I get hired by a builder/designer, kitchen cabinet company, or a real estate agent to photograph a home. In the case of home marketing it has been noted over and over that the initial impact on a buyer viewing a home is through the presentation of photographs. If that home is presented in its most attractive state, it will help the buyer move forward in the selection process. Some agents understand this and on a listing that is toward the mid to upper end of the market, they will hire a professional to help them display that home in its best light. It makes sense. Sellers want to know what agents are going to do when it comes to marketing and explaining that a professional will be coming in to photograph the home adds some weight to the listing presentation.

Now there are some agents who are competent photogs in their own right and they may do an adequate job on their listings. And thats just fine. Usually they will use the dedicated camera flash, put it on auto and fire away. Some may even attach an external flash to the camera. It works. Then there are those who present a home with photos that appear as if they were taken with their phone. That always amazes me. What many people don’t realize is that it usually takes more than one light to make that room pop and it takes practice to determine where the lights are placed etc. Thats where hiring that pro helps. They usually have the equipment and know how to take those interior shots to another level.

Now I get asked all the time, how did you get that shot, what kind of camera will get me that shot, an so forth. I recently was hired by Karen Schwartz, who is an agent with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast in the Wilmington, NC area, to photograph two homes. The following photos are from those homes and I will explain where I placed my lights etc. I use Nikon cameras and Nikon sb800 speed lights, usually placed on stands. The lights are fired with PocketWizard Flex TT5’s and controlled from the camera with a PocketWizard  Mini TT1 and an AC3 Zone Controller for Nikons. This enables me to control the lights from the camera position and to place them out of the line of sight of the camera, if necessary. The camera was shot in Manual mode and the lights were in Manual mode as well, and usually shot no higher than 1/4 to 1/2 power. The ambient light was controlled with my shutter speed.

The two homes are listed with Karen. You may view the finished tour, and other photos by clicking on the link of the homes address. The first is 1156 Leesburg Drive and the second is 10205 Wild Turkey Lane. Both are located in Leland, NC in Brunswick County.

This shot has two lights to the left and right of camera, bounced into upper corners and a light on the floor on the far side of the bed bounced into the bed itself.

This one has lights to the left and right of camera at 1/4 power and one in the far bath at an 1/8 or 1/16 to prevent a dark hole.

This has a light far camera left bounced into corner, one camera right. Both on 1/4 power and one in the breakfast area to give it a small kiss of light at 1/8.

This one was a little more challenging. I have a light to left and right of camera bounced off ceiling and one around the corner bounced so it throws some light into the dining area.

Only two lights here, both around the corners from the camera, bounced into the ceiling corners.

This has a light in the living room far left at 1/8, one just to camera left almost at my shoulder at 1/4 and then one placed on the counter to the right out of sight for fill at 1/16. Not crazy about the ceiling shadow, but the photo works.

Kitchens are always challenging. There is a light behind me bounced off the ceiling, one far camera right in breakfast area bounced again, off the ceiling, and one just around corner on countertop bounced into the wall.

This was interesting due to the verticals. There is a light to left and right of camera on I think 1/4 power and I placed one in the far living room at 1/16 power.

This is lit simply with lights in each corner to left and right of camera bounced into the corner of the ceiling.

Thats a simple explanation of the way the lights were placed to achieve the results. Its a little more involved than running through the home popping off the flash on camera from room to room, but it demonstrates why someone would hire a professional to do this type of work. In the long run it will help your marketing efforts. Thanks for taking the time to look.



Yesterday afternoon on Wrightsville Beach it was very brisk, well cold actually, but beautiful. It was a great time for a winter walk. Kismet and I headed towards the North End. Now there is a leash law on WB and I am one who is always mindful of our local ordinances. However, the section of beach north of Mercers pier to Shell Island is flat, wide, and if there aren’t many people out on the beach, it is just calling to you and your dog to bring out the hidden scofflaw in you and let your dog run. Well we did and no animals were injured in the making of the short video which you can view here:  IMG_0929

Now all I had with me at the time was my IPhone 4s and I have to say that the camera and video functions on this device are nothing short of amazing. There is a little quality loss in the video during conversion to a smaller file size, but its usable for the blog.It really does the job in a pinch and the quality of the 8MP files are sweet. Straight out of the camera produces acceptable results and you can play around with them in PS if you so desire to tweak them beyond their original status. I can see the argument of the new IPhones replacing the small point and shoots for many people. The video it produces is pretty sweet as well. Anyway, Kismet and I had a great time on our walk, which we usually do, but anytime she has the chance to covertly run off leash, its always special.