Gabby Home Veranda Magazine AD Shoot by Tommy Daspit

The finished product in the February 2017 Issue of Veranda Magazine. 

The finished product in the February 2017 Issue of Veranda Magazine. 

I’ve been pretty behind on my blogging. Last year was one of my best years as a photographer and this year has gotten off to a pretty good start. As a result, I haven’t had very much in the way of free time. Between shooing, meetings, and editing there hasn’t been a lot of room for other things. However, I have made this blog a priority. In the coming weeks I’ll actually be expanding it’s role from just one of showcasing recent projects, to being a resource of trends, personalities, and insight for the area’s residential and commercial scene. So, if that’s something of interest to you, and I hope it is, be sure to hit the subscribe button, to get automatic updates!

As for this post, it’s really long over due!

Last year I got a call from Gabby Home (the indoor premium furniture line from Summer Classics). They were putting a full page ad together for Veranda Magazine and needed it shot on short notice. Of course I was happy to help out! The location was the hunting cabin for Summer Classic’s CEO, Bew White. Chris Hutchens, the amazingly talented creative director at Gabby, ran the shoot. It was the second time I did a location shoot with him so I already knew this was going to be a good one. The results certainly didn’t disappoint! We spent nearly the entire day taking out the existing furnishings and brining in new furniture, accents, a mounted elk head, and even multiple dogs. Every aspect of the shot from staging, to lighting, and composition were scrutinized and thought through. This was for a full page ad in Veranda Magazine, one of the premier home design publications in the country. It was an expensive ad and it had to be attention grabbing to make a return on that investment. I appreciated the trust placed by Chris and the entire Gabby team in me to execute their vision. The finished product came out in the February 2017 issue. Take a look and let me know, did we accomplish our goals?

I had a little fun with Chris as he was orchestrating the shot!

I had a little fun with Chris as he was orchestrating the shot!

Final image. Space was left at the top and bottom to accommodate the logo and copy. This final image is a composite of 8 individual images 14 total layers in Photoshop for a 1.2GB file!

Final image. Space was left at the top and bottom to accommodate the logo and copy. This final image is a composite of 8 individual images 14 total layers in Photoshop for a 1.2GB file!

Alexander Modern Homes - Florence AL by Tommy Daspit

Twilight exterior of the front of the home. There's a lot of dramatic exterior lighting on this home and I wanted to make sure I captured it in a way that really conveyed how it looked in person. This is a composite of 13 total exposures. The sky was not replaces but I did green the lawn and added trees where the leaves had fallen off. 

I love working with Alexander Modern Homes and Riverworks Design Studio in Muscle Shoals. By far they build some of the most unique homes in Alabama!  This home in Florence that I photographed in October is no exception. The Frank Lloyd Wright (the only FLW home in Alabama is also in Florence) influence is unmistakable. 

These homes pose unique challenges from a photography standpoint. The materials, angles, shadows, and light are like nothing else I photograph. It’s my job to capture the vision of the architect, workmanship of the builder, styling of the designer, and details by individual artisans in a way that move a potential client.

It all begins with a conversation with my client. What do they want to showcase? What are the aspects of the project that are unique? What are they going to be doing with the images? Based on the answers to those questions, and taking into account the clients other marketing materials, I start to formulate a shoot plan. Whenever possible I like to scout the location ahead of time. This way I know where the sun will be, what areas need to be photographed at what time? Given this was about 2.5 hours away I relied on scout images the builder (Rusty Alexander) sent me and an app called Sun Surveyor. This allows me to see where the sun will be virtually and is a huge help in planning. Once I’m on location I walk through with the client to talk about what and how we’re going to shoot (my amazing assistant Crystal is hard at work setting up the gear). Then as were shooting I work with the client to refine each image. They can actually follow along with an iPad in real time. The end goal is to provide my client with images that they can use to promote their business. Images that will convey their professionalism and quality. I take this responsibility seriously and I hope that comes through in the quality of images I provide!

The doorbell played "The Jetsons" theme. I thought that was so awesome!

The builder really focuses on the custom railings with custom wood from a local artisan. The bench is made by that same artisan. A central courtyard is one of the main features of the home. I looked for a way to tie in all three elements in a manner that accurately conveyed the feeling of the space. 

Another angle on the same space showing the benches, railing, wood, and stone work. I loved the abundant light and angles of this home. I could have spent several days there for sure!

Master bedroom. Note the under cabinet lighting!

Master bathroom. The lighting accents of this space just really ad some amazing touches.

Loved the kitchen so much. The strong contrast to the dark wood and white cabinets, the sleek lines, the natural light and the added light accents just made for an incredible space! The huge walk in pantry is in the large wood cabinet.

The large windows off the kitchen open to the large rear patio area with grill and pool. So perfect for entertaining!

The central courtyard. This angle shows part of the living room (the rest is behind me) and a guest bedroom. This was a very challenging image to create to say the least. There's a huge difference in brightness from the inside and exterior, not to mention all the strong horizontal and vertical lines. It took about 45 minutes to compose the shot, another 45 to shoot it, and about 6 hours in post production putting it all together. I think it was worth it!

View into the living room from the courtyard.

This is a three image composite. I wanted to show the connection of the bedroom with the courtyard without going too wide. To accomplish this I used a tilt/shift lens and shifted it from left to right in a series of images to create a panorama. I could have gone with an ultra wide angle lens but that would cause distortion and add a lot of empty space in the ceiling and foreground. I felt the shift and stitch method was the best option to more accurately represent the room.

Another key feature for Alexander Modern Homes is the remote controlled, retractable screens. Most of their homes are on a lake and the rear faces west. These screes allow home owners to enjoy their outdoor spaces in all sorts of conditions. We needed a shot that conveyed how they worked within the space. We decided on a shot with them halfway up to better show how they worked.

Alexander Modern Homes recently added these Manta outdoor umbrellas by Tuuci as part of their offerings. I've never seen a more impressive, and solidly constructed outdoor umbrella. They are expensive but you can really see a major difference in style and craftsmanship!

Builder - Alexander Modern Homes

Interior furnishings and design - Riverworks Design Studio

Architect - Phil Kean Design Group

Railings and Benches - Robin Wade Furniture

Umbrellas- Tuuci

See more of my residential photography portfolio.

Gabby Catalog - Birmingham AL Interiors Photographer by Tommy Daspit

This shot is a blend of strobe and ambient light but mostly strobe. That allows me to more precisely control the color, shadow, and depth of light. Even with strobe the goal is to create an image that looks natural and truly represents the feel of the space.

This shot is a blend of strobe and ambient light but mostly strobe. That allows me to more precisely control the color, shadow, and depth of light. Even with strobe the goal is to create an image that looks natural and truly represents the feel of the space.

A few months back I did a photoshoot for Gabby, the luxury indoor furniture line of Summer Classics. They wanted me to shoot their upcoming “Illuminate” catalog images. These weren’t the individual item shots done against a solid white background. Rather, these are what are called “Cadillac” shots and vignettes. I was to create the images that would show the furniture, lighting, and accessories in use and in a space. My job was to give the catalog viewer a better sense of how the items would come together in a real home. This is very similar to an interiors shoot that I might do for an interior decorator or designer. Now that the catalog is out I can share some of the images we created (see the catalog here).

For two days we took over the home owned by Jana and Danny McEachern of J&D Farms, in Gadsden. The Gabby team took out most of their furniture and replaced it with the catalog pieces. Each vignette was carefully crafted and staged by the amazingly talented Chris Hutchens, Gabby’s creative director. He really appreciated one of my favorite pieces of kit, my Camranger and iPad set up. Normally, the photographer gets the shot basically framed up and the designer goes back and forth to look through the camera as the shot is being arranged. Move a couch, go look through the lens, move it again, go look through the lens. On and on this goes. It can be a little less that ideal. With the Camranger I’m able to set the camera up, turn on live view, and hand an iPad to the designer. They can see in real time as they move things around, add and subtract props, and know exactly how the shot will look when put together. It has totally revolutionized the process. We can now get more shots in and the results are more inline with the artistic vision the creative team has!

I loved working with the entire Gabby team. The opportunity to collaborate with so many talented creative minds, with a great setting, and fantastic subject matter is amazing. It’s why I love what I do for a living so much! Be sure to check out the December issue of Veranda Magazine for a shot I did with Gabby for a full page Ad!

A capture from the catalog. It never gets old seeing a caption and page number along with your images! Again, this is a blend of strobe and ambient exposures. The chandelier was added from a separate image in post.

Chris is doing some finishing touches on the styling while I'm getting a color reference target shot. I'm triggering the camera from the iPad with the Camranger. The graycard I'm holding will be used in Lightroom to set the color temperature. That way the colors of the products are accurately represented in the final results. The chandelier was added in post on this image too.

Jones Orthodontics - Birmingham AL Commercial Interiors Photographer by Tommy Daspit

Dr Jones put a lot of thought and effort into making every part of his practice instill confidence in his patients. It was my job to capture that photographically. This image is a blend of multiple ambient and strobe exposures. 

Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a brand new orthodontics office in Pelham. Dr Jones has been a practicing orthodontist with another group for some time but this is his first venture out on his own.

Not having an established clientele, Dr Jones needs to attract new patients. To help do this he knew that he had to establish credibility. Every detail from form to function was carefully thought through in the creation of the waiting, consultation, and treatment spaces. The practice was very well done but if know one saw it then that work would be wasted.

Dr Jones contacted me about creating images to do just that. He needed photos for his website, social media, and marketing materials. Having been a small business owner, and having started up business from scratch, I could relate to the stress, apprehension, hope, and excitement involved. I was honored to help him begin his practice and to help him become successful!

This image was especially challenging. The long narrow hallway from the treatment to waiting room was difficult to light. Controlling the reflections in the office glass, balancing multiple color temperatures, ambient and artificial light made for some creative techniques. In the end I think it came together pretty well!

Dr Jones was especially proud of his office/consultation room. A lot of effort went into it's styling and build out. The glass wall and door were the biggest challenge of the shot. They were creating HUGE reflections from all the light sources. Capturing the detail in the office without these reflections required digging deep into my bag of photographic tricks. I attached a large black cloth to a background stand and used it as a shield to block light coming in from the side. I only had enough to do half the office at a time. So I photographed the right, then broke it down and reset up on the left. I then blended the images in Photoshop to create the final result.

Need an orthodontist in the Pelham area? Lean more about Dr Jones and his practice on his website and Facebook pages.

See more of my commercial interiors photography.

7 Montegal - Shoal Creek Real Estate Photography by Tommy Daspit

Doing a twilight exterior of a home this size brings some unusual challenges. I tested the absolute limits of the Camranger and my strobe's radio triggers!

There’s one home in the Birmingham area that stands head and shoulders above the rest in size, grandeur, and fame. It’s guitar shaped front yard, massive size, and hefty price tag have made it famous throughout the land. Built 20 years ago, this home in the super exclusive Shoal Creek neighborhood, is the largest in Alabama. It’s one of the largest in the entire country.

There are fifteen bedrooms in the main house, plus more above the horse stables and the guest house. It features a gym, theatre, pool room, a gazebo on the roof, several kitchens, several living rooms, several laundry rooms, a bar, and so so much more. In total, it cost the homeowner $30 million to construct.

Unfortunately though, because of its enormous size and price tag, it has sat on the market for quite some time (the previous photos didn’t help it much either). Now, a luxury auction company from Texas is set to auction the home to the highest bidder. They knew that they would need much higher quality images that what had been done before to entice the right bidders. I was thrilled when they contacted me to do just that. I knew that this home would be a challenge. The sheer size and number of photographic opportunities made it daunting. Lighting and selecting the best angles were key to showing off this home’s potential.

My assistant (and aerial drone photographer) Alan and I started shooting at 9 am. Other than a short lunch break, we worked non stop. The last of the gear wasn’t loaded into the car until 8:30 that evening. It was a long day, (my fitness tracker said I waked 5.9 miles, took 15,000+ steps, and climbed 22 flights of stairs), but I feel the end result was worth it. Hopefully my images will help sell this magnificent home once and for all!

The driveway alone was very impressive. I wanted to include some of the trees to give a sense of the distance and scale.

Doesn't get much grander for a staircase!

Looking from the main living room towards the entrance. All of the oil paintings, tapestries, and hand done carvings made this one a unique challenge.

One of several offices.

Most impressive home theatre I've ever seen by far.

See more of my architectural and interiors photography portfolio.