I was contacted out of the blue by a man who was close friends with a business acquaintance of mine and he was looking to have the holiday home he has in Dunfanaghy, Donegal photographed as all they currently had were shots they had taken themselves. He felt the house wasn’t being shown to its best by the images they had on the holiday home websites and needed something more professional to show the house at it’s best.
Unlike a lot of holiday homes in the area and generally, this property was decorated as a home. A lot of the local houses were empty buildings wtih very little in them besides the basic furniture. This cottage was used by the couple who owned it during the winter months as a second home and as such it was definitely like walking into someone’s home with rugs and paintings on the walls. The couple who owned the house hoped to consolidate the rentals into the middle of the year during the summer so that they could have three or four months over the winter months where the house would be theirs which would make it easier for them to get use of it.
The brief was to simply get a photograph of all the main rooms in the house, in particular the living room, kitchen and bedrooms. The owners had an idea of the kind of shots they wanted to get so we went from room to room looking for the best angles and trying to get images that captured the feel of the house being a ‘home’ rather than just another bare rental property.
From a technical point of view the majority of the images were shot using daylight or ambient light. In a couple of the rooms I used portable speedlights and bounced these off white walls or a large Lastolite popup reflector I had to add a bit of fill light into the darkest areas of the rooms. I didn’t want to over complicate the photos by using lot’s of lighting equipment and I wanted to keep the look of the images quite natural and casual. I used a wide angle 16-35mm F4 lens for a couple of the shots but I also used a 28-70mm F2.8 for a lot of the images I was maybe looking to focus on a small portion of a room or look through a doorway from a distance and blur the foreground or background. I also wanted to minimise distortion in the images as it always looks a bit unnatural having vertical edges of walls appearing to fall backwards due to the use of an extreme wide angle. I tried to keep the tripod as close to waist height as often as possible to help minimise distortion in the verticals too.
The house itself was lovely and the fact that it was fully decorated and lived in made it much easier to get interesting shots of the rooms. It’s always harder to get interesting photos of empty looking rooms as there isn’t anything to catch the viewers attention. The owners themselves were quite happy for me photograph sections of the rooms rather than trying to fit the whole room into the shot. For example in the shot below I had the camera on the tripod outside the room and was looking in past the door and focused on the bed. Again for a shot like this I kept the set-up very simple and had the large Lastolite reflector in the room behind the door to bounce some light back onto the bed.
This was a really interesting job, the clients and myself were both very pleased with how the images turned out. I’ve added some more images from the day below. Remember you can click on the images to view a larger version.