I can’t help it, I love houses
OK, so I love looking at houses. I’ve lived in several. Thanks to my father’s career in the Navy, we were often moving somewhere new in the world. All these years later, my wife knows each of those houses by name. She knows what made made each one special to me, and which of them in particular I was sad to leave. I tell her about a grand archway leading to the courtyard of the converted coach house from the 19th century. I describe elaborate, high ceilings of another with its Victorian style veranda, a work of architecture in metal and glass. On swelteringly hot days here in the Languedoc region of France, we fantasise about my tales of cool and airy rooms of the timber framed Scandinavian home! And yes, as I recount some of these tales, she sometimes rolls her eyes!
Houses through the lens
What an album I’d have if I’d photographed those houses. Or would I? No doubt, the photos would have been good enough to remind me of their features and be a partner to my tales, but the time of the DSLR was not upon us in my youth. As a professional property photographer, I feel lucky to be doing something I love. I approach each shoot with my own mix of equipment, photography experience and a passion for property. I use a professional camera, a variety of lenses and a comprehensive range of lighting equipment. Part of this fabulous profession is to wander through properties and really look at them. And that’s exactly how I start each shoot – with a wander.
Capturing their character
From experience, I know which angles are going to work best for which shots. I also have a knack for seeing facets of the property that get missed when you’re too familiar with it. I can see its potential, its appeal. The tempting view of a pool through palm fronds, the impressive beams that have been lovingly restored, the summery bowl of fresh, juicy mediterranean fruit. You get the picture (excuse the pun). After the shoot comes the post processing which, I am keen to emphasise, is not all about photoshopping. To me, enhancing images with too much touching up is misleading. My preferred approach is to use a special technique in digital photography. Broadly speaking, it’s more to do with taking several photos of the same shot, each one with different settings, and then layering them together. This technique increases the tonal range of a photo and hence gives a greater depth of detail. The result is photos that very closely resemble what you would see with your own eyes if you were wandering around the property in person. My aim is to capture the character of the property, to reveal its allure and charm. If I can create a feeling of what it might be like to be inside that property, to experience the very best of it through the photos, then I’m happy.