I’m fond of wooden houses, and finally I got the chance to shoot one with a wonder-view in Zalaegerszeg. My customers are a young couple who’d been designing and building this house for 2 years to make it an exclusive guesthouse, a two-person, adult-friendly hideaway. With Bence we had arrived on Wednesday evening for the Thursday shooting, in order that next day after a quick site visit we would be able to take photos from sunrise to sunset by exploiting the best light conditions. However, upon our arrival the atmosphere of the evening interior was so catchy that immediately that day we shot a few photos of some spaces and the bath. So, we got to bed almost at 1 am.
Shooting in the autumn sunrise
9at least 30 square meters with a swing on it, about which I took several photo versions with and without a person, and also in sunset. I asked my followers in Instagram story which one they preferred, and the antitwilight sunset photo won by far. Before breakfast, the morning sun was shining into the East-direction kitchen, yet, in a bit different angle from what I’d have liked, so I used a yellow light foil on the flashlight, and I flashed into the kitchen from the garden. The sun would have been shining from this angle in the summer, so we needed this trick due to the late autumn schedule of out shooting.
Spaces and views
After out breakfast, we went on shooting interiors in daylight. Even with HDR technology it was impossible to harmonise lights in this glare in a way that I could both find the optimum exposure for the dark brown surface inside and the view from the terrace outside. Therefore, I applied flashlight on the darker surfaces inside so that they could show their textures nicely in the photos. It may not be so informative for a lay person, so let me show a before/after comparison what the photo was after being taken and after 14 photo flashes.
Quantity contra quality
We were being looked after by the customer couple all day, moreover, we were the first guests of the wooden house. I wasn’t surprised as they had built this wooden house having no cost cuts, so their expectations were extremely high regarding the photos, too. I love fiddling about my photos both on site and at home, and it doesn’t bother me to spend plenty of time on them to make really the best out of them. This is the reason why I am especially happy if a customer recognises a detail in a photo which would be hardly recognised even by professionals. Thus, instead of quantity work, the objective was to come up with 20-30 photos best showing spaces and their atmosphere. I build up all photos and compositions in a way that if a prospect guest sees my photo, their first idea should be that they would like to come here to relax and that they could experience the aura of the wooden house through my photos.
We carefully set all compositions and arranged all objects, and this way we spent approximately 30 minutes for a photo in average on site. Therefore, it is good to check all photos taken on my tablet, and I can show them to the customers immediately, so they can communicate on the spot if the composition is not exactly as they’ve imagined or if an essential detail is missing. I can filter all these issues with this technique, so they are not surprised at the handover of the photos.
The most crucial stage of our work
We had thoroughly planned what photo to take and when. Before the blue hour, in the golden hours of sunset we took off with the drone to see the most appropriate angle for the evening session, as our time would be limited. In the blue hour – depending on the season – we have around 15 minutes to take photos using the best lights, so all minutes matter. The house of the right neighbour was a bit close to us, so I preferred the composition from the right more proper so that I could rather show the vineyard and the garden of the left-side neighbour.
Sometimes I feel my photos a bit sterile, and I wish to see more human presence in my photos in the future. Therefore, for one of my golden hour photo I had asked the customer couple to stand in the terrace, hug each other and enjoy the sunset. I made then turn a bit to their side, thus, their perspective was better, and could reflect the atmosphere I wanted to depict. This may be my fave pic in this series.
After the sun had set, the blue hour arrived. One of my stands was in the terrace fixed, where my aim was to take a photo where we could have a look inside the house and at the terrace, and outside everything is in this blue light, so the mix of yellow and blue can give the atmosphere of the photo. Besides, there was another camera in the kitchen capturing photos continuously and automatically in every 30 seconds. In the meantime, I took off with the drone to capture my previously elaborated composition, and then I was running for the camera in the kitchen to catch some extra pictures in the sunset, which was one of the most spectacular ones that year.
We usually run up and down with Bence on the site, as we have 15 minutes with these lights, so we try to make the best out of it. I often think of what it might be like in Iceland, where you can shoot photos n the blue hours taking even hours. We shouldn’t run to catch the lights. Once I would be interested in such a long sunset. It can be a huge experience.
Outside it got totally dark, however I would have liked to take one more photo of the customer couple as they were nesting in front of the fireplace, and they were lit by the glare of the flames. Also, we couldn’t miss a detail photo of the bedside table, which was the last composition. At the end, Médi and Szabi (my customers) asked for a portray photo of them so that they could use it online to show who are the brains behind the concept of this wooden house.
In spite of the virus, we had enough orders this year, too. Yet, I daresay this was the most enjoyable shooting of 2020, where we are going to return, as the sauna is just being constructed now, which we might take some photos of in 2021.