Birmingham Commercial Photographers

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!

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See more of my commercial interiors 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.

316 Olmstead - Birmingham AL Architectural Photographer by Tommy Daspit

Mt Laurel Kitchen - Birmingham AL Architectural Photographer

It’s been a busy summer which is a very good thing for sure! So please excuse the tardiness in gettinging this shoot posted. Back in April I was contacted by The Town of Mt Laurel about photographing their entry in the Birmingham Home Builders Association’s Parade of Homes. (It won Gold btw) They needed photos for the web and print marketing of this project. Their latest campaign in B Metro was being built around this house. Of course I was honored and excited about the project.

The only downside was that the house was unfurnished. No furniture, art, or decorations makes it hard for me to create compelling images. So I asked my friend and super talented designer Nicole Shultz of Limerence Design if she could help out. She inturn enlisted Birmingham Wholesale Furniture to provide the furnishings. The end result is so much better than what I could have done purely on my own.

Just like the saying that the clothes make the man, so it is true with homes. The furniture, art, decorations, and staging make a huge difference in how it looks and feels. I especially love working with a professional designer who understands my needs, and the clients needs so we can make the best images possible. In that respect I wholeheartedly recommend Nicole. She was great to work with and I look forward to our next project!

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Galleria Signs - Hoover, AL Architectural Photographer by Tommy Daspit

Galleria Hoover AL Architecectural Photographer

One of the things I love about being an architectural commercial photographer is the variety of projects I get to work on. It could be a kitchen for a remodeler one day and an apartment complex for a real estate developer the next. In this case I was contacted by Integrated Sign and Graphic in Lexington, Kentucky. They designed, built, and installed the new signs at the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover. Daytime and twilight images of the exterior signs were needed. These photos would be used to showcase their work, to illustrate to potential clients what their capabilities were. It was my job to make sure that was done with the highest quality possible.

The mall is absolutely huge. There are many, many signs all around the property. Some face east, some west, some north, and some south. I had to plan my shots around the best time of day to get the best light on each sign. When it came to the night shots the window of opportunity for the best light with the illumination of the sign was very short. I had to make sure everything went right the first time as I could only do a maximum of two signs in an evening (it took two trips to get the ones they wanted).

I also try to include elements in the environment that give the viewer a sense of the space and life going around the subject. To make that possible I included the cars going by the signs in both the day and nighttime images. I used slow shutter speeds to capture the movement and presence of the vehicles without taking away focus on the subject. This way the potential client has a better understanding of how the public sees and interacts with the sign. After all that’s what they are ultimately for. If it can’t get the attention of the public passing by then it’s of no benefit to the business that paid for it.

Drag the sliding line to see the difference with and without the lights from the cars in the image.

By including the intersection and the lights of the cars passing by, I'm able to give Integrated Sign's potential clients a better sense of the signs placement in the environment as well as the amount of traffic seeing that sign. A photo of just the sign would be perfectly fine. However, including energy, motion, and context gives the image more life and allows the end viewer to connect to the subject in a more meaningful way. This is one example of how I go above and beyond to serve the needs of my clients.

While a simple static shot of the sign by itself would have satisfied the basic needs of my client it wouldn’t have been the best use of their resources. By considering my clients end needs and purpose for the images I’m able to better create images that tell their story. Ultimately that is my job. I create images for my clients that are compelling and show their potential customers what they can do for them. I help my clients grow their businesses. I take as much pride in this as I do in creating the images that bear my name and my reputation. Take a look at the images below and tell me in the comments if you think I accomplished that mission.

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To see more of my commercial architectural photography see my commercial exteriors and commercial interiors portfolios.

Walgreens - Birmingham AL Commercial Photographer by Tommy Daspit

Tommy Daspit is an architectural photographer in Birmingham AL

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a commercial real estate firm out of New York. They needed photos of a Walgreens in Alabaster. The images needed to be colorful, eye catching, and at the same time, demonstrate the customer traffic of this location. Of course I was up for the challenge!

I started the shoot in what photographers call the “golden hour”. This is the hour just before sunset and just after sunrise each day. So long as it’s not overcast this is often considered to be the best time of day for photography. The light is “warm”, hence the golden hour name, and the angle of the light is good for nice shadows and contrast. I continued taking multiple exposures as the light changed over the next hour and a half.

One of the challenges was to show the customers coming in and out of the store and cars in the parking lot. This is especially tricky when you’re not using models, but rather normal people going about their lives. If they’re recognizable in the image, and you’re using it for advertising, then you have to have them sign a model release form. This isn’t something we wanted to deal with so a technical solution was needed. I could just blur them in Photoshop but you end up with a photo that looks like it was shot by 60 minutes interviewing a mob informant. Not a good look. Instead, I set the camera to have long shutter speeds. This still showed people and cars there but they were motion blurred. This has the benefit of not only hiding their identity but also conveying motion and energy of the space.

The final images were actually a composite of many photos. I overlayed people and cars from multiple images to create the final vision. The sky was added from a library of skies to fit every possible lighting situation (if you wait for the sky to be perfect as you shoot the project you will be doing a LOT of waiting).

The end result was an image that showed the details of the building, customers patronizing the business, and colors that grab the viewer’s attention. I was able to check off all the boxes my client needed and they were thrilled with the results. Amazing commercial real estate photos aren’t taken, they are created.

 

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