Office Environments - Birmingham AL Commercial Interiors Photography by Tommy Daspit

Click on image to view larger - Conference room at Office Environments in Birmingham. This shot was particularly difficult due to the large windows and all the reflections in them. I utilized several techniques to control them. The final image is a combination of multiple ambient and strobe exposures.

I recently photographed the newly remodeled showroom of Office Environments in downtown Birmingham. This is a shoot that I’ve been looking forward to working on and showing off for some time. When I first saw the remodel late last year I knew it was a project I wanted to capture. My residential portfolio is quite extensive but my commercial work is more limited. This is especially true for interiors. Fortunately for me one of Office Environment’s reps is in my BNI (Business Networking International), and we were able to work out a deal!

I really loved every aspect of this space. It’s in a historic downtown building and showcases some of the very best in modern office furniture design. As a Herman Miller dealer everything is top notch quality and style. It was my job to capture the feeling of this showroom and business in photographic form. These images would be used by Office Environments on their website, social media, marketing materials and advertisements. These images will represent them to potential clients and partners. I needed to make sure they captured the quality of not only the furniture, but Office Environments, and the great people that work there as well.

This was to be a little different as well because we did the shoot at night after they closed. This gave me a great opportunity to have some images with a very different look from the rest of my portfolio. Most images I create are done with a mixture of sun and ambient light. Night images take out the sun variable but add a new layer of complexity. There’s much more heavy lifting to be done by the strobes and I had to be careful not to make the images look too “flashy”. The resulting images are a blend of multiple shots blended together. Some are as few as three all the way up to the office overview which is about twenty. 

In the end with a lot of help from my assistant Crys and Blake Stringer from Office Environments we were able to pull it off!

Click Thumbnail to view larger images.

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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!

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.

Momentum - Commercial Architectural Photography Tuscaloosa AL by Tommy Daspit

Twilight exterior of the credit union headquarters. Twilight shots can be compelling attention grabbers. They're one of my favorite shots by far.

The marketing director at Momentum, a commercial builder based in Seattle, contacted me a little over a year ago about photographing a credit union they had built in Tuscaloosa. They liked my work but ultimately went with another photographer. Then something unusual and unexpected happened. A couple of months ago they contacted me again. They’d just finished building a headquarters for that same credit union, also in Tuscaloosa. This time they wanted me to shoot the project. Not that the other photographer was bad per se, the images just weren’t what they had in mind. Of course I was very happy to help out and appreciated the new opportunity.

I scouted the location inside and out when I was in town to photograph another project. I always prefer to see the space in advance of photographing it. This allows me to think through compositions, light, time, staging, and equipment needs ahead of time. Although not always possible, it does help things go more smoothly. In this case it was very valuable. The client and I were able to communicate at length to make sure we were on the same page. Given the distance and time zone issues between Alabama and Seattle, having that advance walkthrough was huge.

This was also a more rare case when we would incorporate people into more of the images. Momentum wanted to convey how the space was actually utilized and give it more of a “human” feel. We enlisted some of the credit union staff to serve as models. For some images we had them move and captured them as a blur to convey movement and energy. For others we had them interact to give a feeling of how the space was used. I was definitely tapping into my portrait and wedding photographer roots on this project!

The end result was one that the client was thrilled with! Here’s what they had to say:

Tommy was very accommodating to our client's schedule and was respectful of their work environment to make sure the he was not disturbing their work during the shoot. The finished images were fanatic!” - Jay-E Emmingham Marketing Director

Long corridors like this are especially tough to photograph. Getting the exposures and lighting balanced is no small order!

Dusting off my portrait photographer skills, we incorporated people into some of the images to give a feel for space usage and some human energy.