Entries in pool (5)
Photographing the same subject matter in different seasons or just a significant amount of time later is a very good personal photography project to do. It is rare to have that kind of opportunity with a commercial photography shoot, but that is just what happened when former clients TownePlace Suites Marriott Clearwater called and asked me to come make a new photograph of their outdoor swimming pool. They had updated the furniture and needed a new photograph to highlight the changes to the pool area.
For me it is interesting to see the differences in angles I chose in 2011 and 2012. The tighter shot of the pool in 2012 was no doubt influenced by the client wanting to see the new furniture in the shot better.
Here is an insider photo tip for shooting pools: do not get the entire pool in the shot, thereby leaving the exact size of the pool unknown to the viewer.
Not every real estate photography assignment in Florida is for a multi-million dollar water view home. There are plenty of other moderately priced homes on the market that need photographs made of them too, which is why I offer flexible rates for my commercial real estate photography services. The home featured in this blog post is in Shore Acres area of St. Petersburg. If you like it, the listing will be with Crown Realty Group. Tell Haike I sent you.
I do not normally include HDR images when photographing a job in this price range, but for the lead pool shot I did as a bonus as it just looked night and day different. All the interiors were single exposures, like this one of the remodeled kitchen. I usually shoot at below eye level for interiors, but for kitchens I prefer to shoot from at or above eye level to show all the counter level features.
When doing single exposure interiors, as you can see I keep window blinds closed and pointed up whenever possible. I close them pointed up so that no bright spots are cast onto the interior itself, but rather bounced off the ceiling making the light from them useful. I had the client move a large armchair from where I was standing so I could better photograph the living room.
For small home interior rooms, I choose to shoot in portrait orientation from the door way. This creates the largest sense of space since floor to ceiling can be seen. I photograph bathrooms the same way since they often are not large enough to even enter and photograph, especially with a tripod.
For the exterior shot, I try to include as little of the neighboring properties as possible, even if it means making a tighter shot like the one above. I lowered my tripod enough so that the large live oak in the front yard framed the home rather than obscured the view of it.
My commercial photography work for the Courtyard Marriott in downtown St. Petersburg continues with an exterior and interior shoot of the hotel itself (see commercial wedding shoot). This job spanned mutliple days because day and evening exterior shots were desired by the client. The HDR sunset shot of the hotel exterior at dusk was the very last shot to make.
Formerly the Pennsylvania Hotel, the now Courtyard Marriott has a nearly 100-year old history. The lobby retains the most of the original features of the hotel including the crown molding and tile flooring along with the marble wall accents.
No matter how wide of a lens you have, photographing rooms, in particular hotel rooms, is still challenging as it is ideal to show as many features of the room in a single shot. The challenge lies in the fact that not all these room features tend to line up in a neat row. You can of course stitch multiple shots together, but then that would not look natural. For a viewer to know this is a suite room, the bedroom and separate living space needed to be shown in the same shot.
Here is a tip for pool photography, never show the whole pool in the shot in order to strategically leave the entire size of the pool to the viewer's imagination. This is of course unless a hotel has an olympic size swimming pool they want to show off!
As you can see with all the above interior shots, I shot into a corner of the room which gives an image depth and dimension. Very rarely is it best to shoot straight at a flat wall. Shooting into a corner often naturally shows the most of an interior space anyway.
It is always nice when you have the chance to photograph the wedding of someone you know, even if it is just tangentially. For this Christmas wedding (day after actually) I had the shortest commute I think I will every have, literally just two minutes as it took place at a neighbor's* home here in Snell Isle, St. Petersburg. I know the neighbor from the local dog park. Our dogs have been fast friends since they were 4-month old puppies. I met the bride-to-be at the dog park as well the week before the wedding as she and her fiance traveled down to Florida with their own dog.
Due to my familiarity with all involved I had zero nerves before going to photograph this wedding. Plus, I had done all due preparation by visiting their house and seeing exactly where the ceremony would take place and on the wedding day there was ample time to photograph the rings, wedding dress, etc before the actual ceremony.
As you can see, there were water hazards involved in photographing the wedding ceremony! Though I had to be very careful with my steps, this island setting allowed for clean views from all sides of the couple during the ceremony. No human, dog or camera gear fell into the pool thankfully!
The atmosphere the entire afternoon was very lighthearted and full of laughter, even during the ceremony. This further contributed to my lack of nervousness the entire wedding and made it just plain really fun to be a part of, even though I was working and my usual focused self while shooting.
There were surprises during the wedding ceremony as the groom gave his bride a ring she had never seen before. I was told later that it had significant meaning. Before the smiles you see above there were hugs and tears at the sight of the ring.
After the ceremony the carefully selected wedding guests and family members got together for a formal portrait in the living room, though the laughs that first broke out during the wedding ceremony carried over to the formals as well, which was fine by me.
Then the newlyweds and I were off for some outdoor shots on a very, very cold winter day. I fear warm winters for west central Florida are now a thing of the past, and daytime temperatures in the 50s will have to be tolerated, or one must move to Key Largo. I had the benefit of wearing my unfailing Mountain Hard Wear Windstopper Tech Jacket, and the groom at least had on his suit jacket, so the bride was the bravest of all showing no sign of freezing despite wearing a wispy wedding dress. I worked as fast as I could to get the shots I wanted to at the gazebo in front of the Vinoy Country Club golf course, a location I had always wanted to photograph at.
From there we went to the waterfront near a famous (for Snell Isle residents) white bridge. As twilight took over the area, the temps dropped even more, so I was very glad to hear the couple say they had actually practiced "the dip," a skill for sure that I recommend all future couples practice before the day of their wedding.
This was the very last shot I took of the entire day. It was an extremely satisfying experience from a photography standpoint as I got to try many different shots I never had before. This was as enjoyable as photographing a wedding gets. Thank you to the bride & groom for their super cooperation and toughness, and for my neighbors hiring me to photograph their daughter's wedding. See you all at the dog park!
--More from this wedding coming soon: bride series, black & white wedding
*names not mentioned for privacy
St. Petersburg children's loss was St. Petersburg dogs' gain. With the end of the summer swim season at Fossil Park Pool (info), it was opened up to canines. No humans allowed in the water at all. This event was very popular. When we arrived at 11:20am the pool was at maximum capacity already. We had to wait until a dog left before we could get in, but only a short time.
Probably the St. Petersburg Times was even at the pool earlier covering it because as I was shooting with my somewhat long Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens, several people asked me if I was with the press. I said thank you, I am a professional photographer, but I am not working today, only photographing my own dog, Kiki (other dog photos taken with permission).
I am glad I asked if I could photograph other dogs because even though Kiki is a very good swimmer, and really loves to swim, her first time at a pool seemed to be a scary experience for her. That expression on her face above would be panic. I encouraged her to go in the water, but she immediately turned back toward the wall of the pool and tried to pull herself out. I think she did not want to swim because I was not allowed in the water also. At the dog beach, she always waits for me to go into the water with her, never going in by herself.
All the other dogs were having a great time diving in, retrieving noodles and lying submerged on the steps of the pool. All Kiki would do was jump on the first step getting her feet wet.
After shaking off the pool water she went back to her usual dark park mode, which is looking for another willing dog to wrestle and chase. She made several friends and started a dry land game of chase the noodle.
The great things about dogs, though, is that they recover almost instantly and after the pool swimming trauma Kiki was almost immediately all smiles again. For dog lovers this was a great event and I am glad I heard about it (via a friend on Facebook).