This morning we got to drive out to the Catskill Mountains (we live on the edge of them but are usually going the other way toward Binghamton when we drive) to shoot a custom log home. I adore shooting these homes. Not only are they gorgeous, but the homeowners are always lovely to work with. Just imagine inviting people into your home (in this case Bill’s wife and daughter were away on a mission trip, so it was just him getting it ready), welcoming them as they drag in box after box of lighting equipment, props, foods (usually lots of fruits and veggies), flowers and chatting with them for hours during the set up and shooting.
Did you realize there was so much going on behind the scenes of a shoot like this? Not many people do. It’s so much more than just bringing a camera and shooting. There’s lots of setting up to do, both to set the scene properly and to set up the equipment. Then there’s lots of metering to get the light ratios just right. And finally there’s the composition. It’s safe to say a single shot can take up to an hour to stage. In fact, as we were shooting, Bill, the homeowner, asked about all of the lighting. So I showed him an image that had been taken without lighting. Windows were blown, there were lots of dark shadows and lots of flare and chromatic aberration from the harsh sunlight coming in through the windows. Then I showed him one of the properly lit images. It looked much like it does to the eye. You could see the trees outside of the windows, the inside was evenly lit and everything had a pretty glow around it. Amazing what proper lighting can do.
After I showed him the 2 images, he commented that he thought that was just done in photoshop. I laughed. So many photographers (especially new photographers) rely on photoshop for everything. For an interior shot they might bracket (meaning take a shot overexposed, properly exposed and underexposed) and merge them in photoshop. But that takes much longer than it does just to do it right in camera. If I can get it right in camera my post processing is close to zero. For instance, for the shots below I simply added some web sharpen and that’s it. No color tweaking at all. I do take them all into lightroom and tweak the white balance a bit. But why spend a half hour per image in photoshop when I can set up the shot (even if it does take an hour for some of the more complicated images) and get 4-5 images out of it? That would equal about 2 hours of photoshop time per room. Instead, I get it right in camera. Then when I get home it’s a matter of exporting and running them through my custom web resize action.
Now to the good stuff… the pictures. This house was a joy to shoot. Bill was so welcoming and my husband (who tagged along as my assistant) enjoyed talking with him. It’s always great to hear how much the homeowners love their homes and how excited they are both about Beaver Mountain and about their builder.
Thanks for welcoming us into your home, Bill (and Laura, who was away but I’m sure was thinking about it!)