Alexander Modern Homes - Muscle Shoals AL Architectural Photography by Tommy Daspit

Twilight exterior of the front. From the huge windows, amazing exterior lighting, to the landscaping, everything about this home made for a tremendous twilight opportunity (I especially loved the translucent garage doors)!

Twilight exterior of the front. From the huge windows, amazing exterior lighting, to the landscaping, everything about this home made for a tremendous twilight opportunity (I especially loved the translucent garage doors)!

A couple of years ago I was looking to expand the diversity of my portfolio. I wanted to have some more modern luxury homes in my book. Surprisingly there aren’t a large number of those in Birmingham! So I searched far and wide and came upon Rusty Alexander and Alexander Modern Homes in Muscle Shoals. I reached out to him about photographing some of his projects and thankfully he decided to give me a shot! Now two years later I’ve photographed all of his projects and we continue to work together. Each one of his builds takes a considerable amount of time to complete but the finished product is nothing short of phenomenal. Everything about them is of the very highest quality and style. They work with architect Phil Kean and have their own interior design firm, Riverworks Design Studio, run by Rusty’s wife, Lisa.

This month the Alabama Home Builders Association did a profile of Alexander Modern Home’s unique business model for their quarterly magazine. They featured many of the images I’ve created of Rusty’s projects. This home got the most attention and it even got the cover! I will say that it was a good choice. This home is one of my all time favorites. There was so many incredible image possibilities. We spent two full days there and I could have shot for a week. It was hard narrowing down the shots we were going to do. Every room was unique and full of possibilities. With the help of Lisa, Kayleigh, Rusty, my assistant Crys, and the rest of the Riverworks team, we narrowed down the shot list. We then worked to style, compose, and prop each shot. On some images we spent as much as an hour working out the styling, lighting, and composition.

I think the end results of all that time and attention to detail speak for themselves!

The Home Builders Association of Alabama did a story on Rusty and the Alexander Modern Homes team. They used a lot of images from this shoot including the cover! I'm very proud to showcase their amazing work!

The Home Builders Association of Alabama did a story on Rusty and the Alexander Modern Homes team. They used a lot of images from this shoot including the cover! I'm very proud to showcase their amazing work!

Lisa said that they actually designed the rest of the house around the stone sink in the powder room. The antiqued mirror made for quite a challenge for this shot (notice that you don't see the camera).

Lisa said that they actually designed the rest of the house around the stone sink in the powder room. The antiqued mirror made for quite a challenge for this shot (notice that you don't see the camera).

There's really no one else in the state building them like Rusty!

There's really no one else in the state building them like Rusty!

Behind the scenes of the panoramic view of the living room and main kitchen. I used a Canon 24mm TS-E (Tilt Shift) lens.This allowed me to take a series of images from left to right and "stitch" them as a panorama. Tilt shift lenses are a must for architectural photography. They allow control of horizontal and vertical lines.

click on thumbnail to view larger image

Willow Homes Craftsman - Birmingham AL Architectural Photographer by Tommy Daspit

As with most of my images, this one is a blend of strobe and ambient light. I really liked the quality of light and shadow being created by those fantastic plantation shutters. My assistant Crys is actually outside with a large strobe on a light stand shooting light into the window. This allowed me to embellish the natural light and give it more contrast.

Another great house by Willow Homes and Willow Design but this one was a little bit of a departure for them. Until this home in Crestwood area of Birmingham, I’d never photographed a home of theirs outside of Homewood. It’s great to see them expanding beyond their niche market and into Birmingham, Mountain Brook, and beyond! Wherever it is, I’m always thrilled to work with Jason, Katherine, Allison, Lizzy, and the entire Willow team. Every project has great portfolio opportunities for me and I love seeing them grow as a company! This Craftsman inspired home was no exception. I loved every aspect of this project but I must say that the master bathroom and kitchen were some of my all time favorites. I am super jealous of the matte finished appliances. They just look amazing and are much easier to maintain than stainless steel. Then there’s the contrast of black and white for the master bath. I’ve never seen a tub like that and how it all came together with simplicity and class is so impressive!

Silde back and forth to see the straight out of camera image and final edited image

Each final image is a composite of multiple images. I blend ambient images with ones lit by my strobes. In this case I have a strobe outside the left window to add contrast to the natural light. There's another one behind the camera filling in the foreground. In Photoshop I remove anything that distracts from the finished design and balance the colors with a calibrated reference target.

click thumbnail to view larger images

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.

See more of my commercial interiors portfolio.

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.