I had the amazing opportunity to photograph an incredible private estate in Coral Gables, Florida. At over 40,000 square feet, this is certainly one of the largest residences we have ever photographed. Particularly challenging because of its scale and our limited access to the property, we created 40 images over the two-day shoot for our client.
For a project of this size, and with only two days to shoot, I needed to develop a shooting and working method which was efficient in terms of my approach to lighting and composition. Bold washes of light and utilization of the designer’s built-in lighting design were balanced with the natural ambiance of the south Florida late afternoon for most of our interior images. Where and when I could, I used smaller, focused lighting instruments to highlight architectural and decorative elements, such as in the dining room, as well as the grand foyer. Look at the ceiling above the iron chandelier in the foyer, as well as the wood detail in the dining table for examples of this approach. For our hallway shots, most of the light is natural as it softly accents the incredibly theatrical light thrown from the chandeliers to the ceiling. Our exterior photographs were all about the architecture, sculpture and unbelievable sense of space this property affords. Crisp, Florida sunlight brought out the lush greens and warm hues of the stonework.
Dramatic images for an architectural photographer are often created with the tools of our trade… finding the harmony between design, form and the 3-dimensional space within a camera frame, and creating drama with strobe units and accent lights. That is generally my shooting philosophy. However, in this case, I will humbly say, it was all about the subject. This assignment illustrates what good design can do for photography, and not the other way ’round.
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