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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.

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.

4700 Colonnade - Birmingham AL Apartment Photography by Tommy Daspit

This twilight exterior image of the clubhouse and pool took 7.5 hours to create, 47 individual photos, 54 total layers, and resulted in a 13GB file. The fire pit wasn't functional yet so I created the fire in Photoshop. This was one of the rare cases when I used the actual sky from that night.

This twilight exterior image of the clubhouse and pool took 7.5 hours to create, 47 individual photos, 54 total layers, and resulted in a 13GB file. The fire pit wasn't functional yet so I created the fire in Photoshop. This was one of the rare cases when I used the actual sky from that night.

One market I’ve been looking to expand into is luxury apartment complexes. I’ve photographed several nice, but not exactly high end, properties in the past. High end luxury projects give me more opportunities to be creative and to showcase the work of other talented professionals like architects, masons, and builders.

So when I was contacted by Joseph Holt at Kore Companies here in Birmingham about photographing the brand new 4700 Colonnade Apartments I was thrilled! I had seen it being constructed for months. You can’t miss it as you approach the 280 exit from 459 North. The location is perfect for people working downtown. I knew it would be a project that I wanted to photograph and seeing it finished confirmed that.

The clubhouse is stunning. Two stories with multiple lounge areas, coffee bar, game room, yoga studio, huge fitness center, conference room, pet washing area, pool, and a computer bar with iMacs! I could have spent all day shooting just the clubhouse. It was that impressive. Everywhere I looked there were potential images. I did my best to capture the highlights with a few details as well.

The model apartment and grounds didn’t disappoint either. With great lighting, fixtures, and finishing touches reminiscent of the luxury homes of Mountain Brook or Homewood, there were so many great images to be had. I started shooting at 8 in the morning and finished up at 8:30 that night. Even then there was so much more that I could have done. The property is simply amazing!

I was also excited that they elected to do a twilight exterior. After scouting our options I felt that the view of the clubhouse from the pool was the best option. I spent about half an hour just looking and testing different angles and compositions before deciding on the final positioning. The number of elements involved (the two story building, pool, fire pit, interior, grounds, and five story building in the background) made this one of the most challenging twilight shots I’ve ever created. In the end the final image was the combination of 47 separate shots, and 54 layers in Photoshop. The full image file came in at a whopping 13GB. Even with 32GB of RAM, my computer struggled to put this together. I started shooting at 7:00 and finished at 8:30. Creating the final shot in Photoshop took another six hours. In the end I feel that all that work was worth it. The client now has an image that will grab the attention of potential residents. It will help 4700 Colonnade stand out from the crowd and stand above their competition. This image will help Kore Companies be more successful. That’s ultimately my job. I help my clients be more successful in their businesses. It’s a responsibility I take seriously and think about when I’m creating images of their work. I’m proud to be a part of their success!

My assistant Cry with a gray card. We shoot a picture with this in the scene for each lighting condition. It's used as a reference in Photoshop to make sure colors are accurate. We have a ton of images just like this. One day I'll make a gallery of some of the best ones!

My assistant Cry with a gray card. We shoot a picture with this in the scene for each lighting condition. It's used as a reference in Photoshop to make sure colors are accurate. We have a ton of images just like this. One day I'll make a gallery of some of the best ones!

Me with my magic wand. Now you know my secret! Actually, I use a flash on a monopod to light just the areas I want to. I trigger the camera remotely with an iPad and the flash is triggered via a radio remote.

Me with my magic wand. Now you know my secret! Actually, I use a flash on a monopod to light just the areas I want to. I trigger the camera remotely with an iPad and the flash is triggered via a radio remote.

click and drag the slider to see the before and after on this image

If you’re looking for a luxury apartment in Birmingham be sure to add 4700 Colonnade to your list. If you’re an architect, contractor,  or investor with an apartment complex you want to showcase, contact me to discuss how I can help you be more successful!

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