Still Alive

I realized one day that I have not written much at all on here, but boy was I surprised to find out just how long it had been. Why? Honestly (and I loathe when people say this), it has been incredibly busy around these parts - both professionally and personally.  So to not belabor the point, I thought I would give a quick recap of what I was up to since the last blog post.

This past year was the busiest year to date for Arris Photography, which included expanding more of the commercial architecture photography side of the business working with new architects and construction firms.  One of the highlights was photographing the then-new Medical Center at Colorado State University for Adolfson & Peterson Construction.

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Part of the year I felt as if I was in a creative rut, so I took on some commercial product assignments that I would have normally referred out to other photographers.  The most fun, by far, was heading up into the high country during peak fall season to shoot marketing materials for a new custom fly rod maker.  Part of this shoot took place over a couple of days in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and involved long, cold days of standing in knee-deep water capturing images of fishermen testing fly rods in various conditions.  This was definitely outside of my normal routine, but it was a blast!

Also, took the opportunity to flex my product photography muscles and shoot some images for a small-batch distillery in Colorado. 

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Finally, I simply decided to take time off.  Last May, my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world, and I decided I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my growing family.  It definitely impacted the real estate photography side of thing since this was during peak selling season, but honestly, it was a great summer just …being.

Let's Get Something Straight

Every now and then, I'm asked to identify what is the most important skill in real estate photography by agents looking to shoot their own listings and other photographers that don't typically shoot real estate or architecture.  One thing immediately comes to mind: making sure vertical walls are, in fact, vertical!

Why are verticals so important? Because we live in a world where 99% of vertical walls are plumb and designed to be 90° perpendicular to the ground; our brains expect this.  However, I believe that verticals are so important in real estate and architectural photography because it's a clear indication of skill level. Most real estate images with converging verticals are typically taken by inexperienced photographers who simply don't know better, or worse, simply don't care.  

Fortunately, it is easier than ever these days to correct converging verticals, and I'll demonstrate various methods throughout the next few posts.  Simply fixing verticals and making sure they are parallel to the right and left edges of the frame really is that one magic bullet that can take your photos to a different level. See for yourself!

Making Lemonade

What a crazy week!  Went up to Aspen with intentions of shooting some rooms in a cozy 17,000 sqft cabin.  On the way up, I'm notified that the kitchen floors are being re-finished, so I'd have to "work around it." Also, the couches were being re-upholstered so there was no furniture in the living room, but that's OK, I can just "photoshop something in!"  Something about the best-laid plans of mice and men...  

Fortunately, I was pelted with some lemons, and the week was not a complete waste. In the end, I got to shoot on 4 locations and made some great photos, which should be up soon!

Before & After & Squarespace

One of the more important features that I knew I wanted to have ready on the new site ASAP was a "Before and After" slider for images. In architectural and real estate photography, nothing compares to the simple "show-and-tell" approach when conveying the differences between a well crafted image from a hastily taken snapshot.  Moreover, when editing is done well, it can be difficult to tell what exactly has been done to an image, even if changes were drastic.  Every once in a while someone will tell me, "How difficult can taking a picture of a room be? You just point the camera and press a button!"  Sigh, If only it was that simple...

The easiest way to demonstrate these differences would be to simply create a collage showing the 2 images side by side; however, a more elegant way to do this is to overlay 2 images on top of each other and use a slider to reveal changes.

There are various ways to accomplish this in Wordpress. Unfortunately, only 1 way (so far) to do this in Squarespace.  Luckily, other people ran into this problem and came up with a clever workaround.  I won't go into all the details, but to see step-by-step instructions (including a download link for the code) see Anthony Kramer's post on Mass Exodus' blog

It's Alive!

I recently decided to switch my website over to Squarespace!  After years of ups and downs dealing with the wild west that can be Wordpess, I caved and opted for the easy solution.  Sure, I did sacrifice functionality customization for convenience, but now that I'm busier than ever, it's nice having a site that just works!  What happens to previous posts?  I suppose that wisdom is now lost forever... In all honesty, I looked through my archives and there was little that needed to be salvaged.  Any of the content that was somehow useful or relevant to other people (mainly other photographers) could use with a bit of updating anyway.