This summer, I photographed a private residence in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto. My friend had just renovated his house and agreed to let me shoot it.
For the main facade shot, I decided to shoot at dusk and use lighting on the house and landscaping. There was a decent amount of lights, but I added flash pops to brighten some areas, like the upper part of the house, the landscaping, and the driveway.
Shooting at dusk with lighting isn’t easy: adding flash pops takes time and the light decreases quickly. You really only have time for one or two shots.
I also wanted to photograph the backyard patio at dusk. Since it’s surrounded by trees, it doesn’t get much light during the day. Shooting at dusk would also bring out the nice lighting designed by the architect. I had to come back another day as there wasn’t enough time to shoot the patio and the front of the house on the same night.
I used the same technique as for the facade: a base exposure at dusk with added flash in key areas. Even if it was summer, I asked my friend to turn on the fireplace to make things a little cozier.
Moving on to the interiors, where I was able to take my time. Taking your time is key for interiors: setting up the room can be long, especially in an inhabited house. I moved furniture and things around for each image below. And then, I had to set up the lighting. All interiors are a blend of ambient lighting and strobes, with additional flash pops on key areas.
I loved the ambient lighting in the living room so much that I mostly used ambient in post-processing.
The second living room shot was more challenging as there were three spaces to light: the entrance, the living room, and the kitchen. I didn’t have enough lights to light everything at once, so I blended two shots together.
The kitchen image is one of my favorite shots. I love the colors, the wood, and the brick. It’s very different from what I’m used to shooting.
In this shot, I balanced the interior lighting to match the exterior and expose everything well in one shot.
The bedroom shot is mostly about balancing the strobes with the interior light fixtures and the outside light.
The bathroom was simply gorgeous. It seemed big, but bathrooms are always too small! The lighting was a little tricky due to reflections on the mirrors and the walls. There was also strong white balance differences between the main lights and the lights under the mirrors, which I had to fix in post-processing.
Shooting an entire house with lighting takes time if you want to achieve great results. But in the end, it’s worth it. This house in the Beaches was a great photoshoot and at least one shot made it in my portfolio!