221 Union Street: Real Estate Photography

Sunday, 26 August 2012

For a totally different change of pace, I accepted a request from Danielle Hrasko, a realtor out of White Rock (whiterocklife.ca) to photograph one of her listings, a gorgeous penthouse suite on Union Street in Chinatown with incredible views of downtown Vancouver. As a wedding photographer, location photography is one of the many skills we need to have, so it was actually a lot of fun to be able to slow down, compose the shot, add lights as needed, and stage the rooms exactly as required. It really shows that photography and lighting skills and rules always apply, no matter what the subject is.

The session was shot tethered to my MacBook, so we were able to evaluate every shot on a large screen before moving on to the next one. I used the Nikon D3x for this, which allowed incredible exposure latitude to capture the interiors and exteriors without resorting to HDR tricks, and was able to deliver the finished pictures the same afternoon.

For me, the key is finding visually interesting angles, achieving realism in terms of accurately representing the property’s colours and layout, and highlighting the key features of each room. In this case, making sure the incredible view was available, the polished concrete floors visible, and everything is bright and airy feeling. Ultimately, you want to entice the viewer into picturing themselves living in that space.

Here are a few shots from the location. If you ever need a realtor, definitely give Danielle a call; I’ve rarely seen anybody work as hard as she does for her clients!









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Vancouver Photo Marathon 2011: The Documentary

Thursday, 18 August 2011


“Vague” – 2010. Nikon F5, 70-300VR, exposure unknown

Last year I competed in the Vancouver Photo Marathon (#12x12yvr) and ended up with a theme winning photo for “Vague”.

“Vague” happened to be one of the easier themes for me to devise as I instantly had an idea for what to do with it. Executing it along with the other 11 themes was a lot tougher, and the whole event really stuck with me in ways I probably don't fully realize yet, leading me to think about being involved in some way this year.

Through various circumstances, but mainly due to vacillating about whether to do it or not, this year's event sold out. Intrigued about other entrants' experiences throughout the day, I pitched the idea to the organizers about doing a video documentary on the event by following some willing entrants around. Marathon day arrived, and it happened that I had to leave to film a cancer fundraising event later that day so I could only stay for seven themes. Still, better than nothing. I managed to hook up with Ryan Mah (#32) and Ruwan Fernando (#56) outside the cafe right after the first theme was announced, and we went filming along with their helpers (Sara, Garvin, and Jana). I wish I had a helper last year; what a luxury to have a willing model!

It was a lot of fun following them around, recalling some of the same agony I went through last year trying to come up with ideas for each theme. I love that they were so open and accepting of having me tag along and stick the camera in their faces, so I hope I’ve managed to capture some of that in the video. I had a ton of fun and laughs. Thanks, guys! I hope this brings back good memories, and to the other entrants reading this, I hope your day was at least as much fun as it was undoubtedly nerve-wracking, confusing, stressful, and...uh...vague. I know what it's like.

Perhaps your shot came to you instantly and you executed it perfectly. Or more likely, you struggled, surfed the web on your phone, worked on an idea for a while, backtracked, refined, then nailed it. Or you totally got lost and copped out with a shot you knew in your heart wasn’t going to be great, but you needed to just get it over with? Let’s hear what happened!

Update September 16: At long last, the videos are done. I’ve kept them down to about 3 minutes each. Enjoy!

Warning: some coarse language and mature themes. PG-13 or so.

Ryan and Ruwan's Story, Part 1

YouTube Link


Ryan and Ruwan's Story, Part 2

YouTube Link


Ryan and Ruwan's Story, Part 3

YouTube Link


Ryan and Ruwan's Story, Part 4

YouTube Link


Ryan and Ruwan's Story, Part 5

YouTube Link


Note: These videos might be subject to tweaking, and since YouTube doesn’t let you change videos in-place without creating a new one, if you link to them directly they may stop working. Just come back here!

Natasha’s Portrait Session

Saturday, 9 July 2011

One of the yearly events I help out with is the Surrey International Writers Conference. As a fundraiser for them, I donate a portrait session for their silent auction. This year’s winner was Natasha Hoar, an urban fantasy / paranormal romance writer, and she wanted to get a variety of different pictures to fit her work. She also surprised me by bringing along her rapier (she takes lessons!) and did a few slightly scary lunges towards me. Her My Little Pony shirt was pretty cool and nicely incongruous.

Here are some photos:





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