Realty South

2210 Wedgewood Rd - Vestavia Hills Real Estate Photography by Tommy Daspit

This was the first time I got to work with Jennifer Harris from Realty South here in Birmingham. We are both members of BNI (a business networking group) but different chapters. Her’s meets on Wednesday mornings and mine on Thursdays. One of the rules of BNI is that if you can’t make the meeting you need to get a substitute. Since I’m free on Wednesdays I often substitute at her group. As an aside, if you own a business or are a sales professional, you should join a BNI chapter. It has done wonders for my business.

Jennifer was listing the home of one of another member of her chapter, Bruce McMillan business coach. The home was beautiful but posed a special challenge. The entire back side of the home was floor to ceiling windows. The view was great and she wanted to show it off. The problem is when photographing that situation you run into something impossible for the camera to handle. If you get the exposure right for the inside the view out the windows goes pure white. Photographers call this being “blown out”. Get the exposure right to see the beautiful view and the inside will be really dark. The camera simply doesn’t have the ability to capture the full range of tones the way the human eye does. Sometimes this is a good thing. If the view outside the window isn’t very attractive then you might not want to draw attention to it. This was not the case here.

To deal with this dilemma many photographers turn to a technique called HDR. This stands for High Dynamic Range. Instead of one photos they typically take three. One is exposed for the outside, one for the inside, and one in-between. Then those three images are composted in Photoshop. If done right this technique can sometimes give good looking results. Often though, it produces weird and unnatural looking images. The colors can look garish and shadows that should be there aren’t. Overall it can make the viewer get the feeling that things were heavily Photoshopped or “filtered”

The technique I use is different. I take the time to light the interior so the exposure inside closely matches the outside. Sometimes this can be done with one light (a high powered flash unit) but often it requires two or more. Time and care must be taken to make sure the lights supplement the natural light. The image needs to represent the light that exists in the home. I will take this into account in deciding where to put the light and if I need to modify the light in anyway. This process takes longer. It’s harder to do than just shooting a three shot burst. For me though, I think the results speak for themselves. 

Take a look at the photos below and see what I mean. 

To learn more about this home see the full listing and contact Jennifer Harris at or 205-965-1129

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28 Spring St Birmingham AL Real Estate Photographer by Tommy Daspit

This is a great home in Mountain Brook (Crestline Village) that I photographed for Susie Denson of Realty South. It’s one of those homes where the view from the curb is a little misleading. It looks great, but you would think there isn’t much to it. One might think that it’s just a cozy little bungalow. However, once inside it would be forgiven if you thought you were in the TARDIS (for all you Dr Who fans out there). This house is bigger on the inside. Much bigger. This is a good illustration as to why my services can be so valuable. By creating images that are high quality and attention grabbing, people flipping through listings online are more likely to pause and take a deeper look. From there, it’s my job to compose photos that illustrate the size and feel of the home accurately. I don’t use super wide angle lenses that distort rooms, making them look larger than they actually are. Rather, I use composition to show how rooms are connected, how the space really feels, and convey the true nature of the home. It’s much easier to go in a just start banging away, randomly, with deceiving, stretched views. That’s why it takes me longer to photograph a home. I take time to analyze the light, the angles, and what features best showcase the home. My style isn’t for everyone. I get asked if I can shoot those super wide shots. I politely explain that doing so doesn’t help sell homes. Rather, it makes potential buyers feel tricked. That’s not a good way to build trust, and when buying a home, trust is very important! I was recently photographing a home and the owner asked if I used that technique. I told her no, and my reasoning. She was very relieved by this. She told me that she found a home online and fell in love. It was THE one. However, when she walked in the door it looked nothing like the photos online. The listing agent used super wide photos that made things appear bigger than they were. She turned around and walked out in tears. Not exactly a winning strategy. 

Take a look at my photos of this home below to see what I can do. Let me know what you think. Does this house seem tiny? Or do you get a feel for the true size that it actually has?

Interested in a great Mountain Brook home? Go here to see the full listing and tell Susie hello for me!

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Learn more about my Birmingham AL Real Estate Photography

Susie Denson - Realty South 205-870-5420

3364 Hermitage - Mountain Brook Real Estate Photography by Tommy Daspit

This beautiful upscale home in Mountain Brook was photographed by Tommy Daspit, a Birmingham, AL Real Estate Photographer.

This fantastic house in Mountain Brook was a little bit of an unusual situation. It’s not on the market, yet. I was contacted by Regions Trust to photograph this home as part of an estate. The home isn’t for sale but maybe in the future. They wanted to get the images created while it was still full of really nice furniture. That way when it is for sale it won’t be empty. Photographing empty homes might seem easier, and in some ways it is, but the end result is not the best. People don’t like looking at empty rooms. It’s hard to get an understanding of size and space without some reference point. The furnishings not only provide that reference but also tell a lot about the feel of the property. That’s why I love working with agents and architects that pay to have a property professionally staged when empty. The presentation is just so much better.That in turn makes my images look better!

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1024 Navajo Trail - Alabaster AL Real Estate Photography by Tommy Daspit

I get a call from the always enthusiastic Melanie Siow of Realty South. She’s got a house in Alabaster that needs to be photographed and she needs lots of photos. It’s got an amazing back yard. It’s huge, flat (a rarity in this area), and there are tons of beautiful flowers. So of course I’m thrilled to shoot it!

When I get there the home owner tells me how excited she is that I’m photographing her home. She says that she’s a fan of my work and can tell which listings are mine as opposed to other photographers! She tells me that I have a distinct style that she loves. How cool is that! I can honestly say that this is a first and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t disappoint!

The home is a modest three bedroom, two bath ranch but you can plainly see that they've put a lot of work into it. The kitchen especially has been totally modernized and has a great style. With that back yard this is a perfect home for a young family (I know my kids would go nuts out there).

So if you’re looking for a really nice home in Alabaster give Melanie a call! View the complete listing.

See more of my work and learn more about my Real Estate Photography services.

1333 Branchwater Ln - Vestavia Hills Real Estate Photographer by Tommy Daspit

Last week I was contacted by agent Susie Denson of Realty South. She needed me to photograph a home she was listing in Vestavia Hills and needed some great images. Having worked with Susie in the past, and knowing the quality of her listings I was very excited!

This home did not disappoint! It’s in a great neighborhood and had obviously been extensively renovated. The back deck and back yard was especially impressive. I would venture to say that it was one of the nicest back yards I’ve ever photographed!

My other favorite feature was the formal living room. Lights had been embedded in the crown moulding all around the room. This gave it a very unique look that I haven’t seen anywhere else. While it looked great in person it was actually quite the challenge to photograph. Getting the lights to show up in the image without the rest of the room looking too dark required quite the balancing act. I probably spent more time on this room than any other. I think the results speak for themselves!

This is really one of the things I love most about architectural and real estate photography. Each home, building, or business is very unique. Each one requires different photographic techniques and often stretch my technical and creative abilities! That’s why I love my job so very much.

Check out the photos below and you can learn more about this home on the listing page here!

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