Let’s face it, taking exterior shots of homes and condo complexes for real estate photography is challenge during the winter months. The trees are bare, if there isn’t a fresh coat of snow on the ground, you are stuck with grass that is a pure excuse for green, nothing is really blooming to ornament the property and set off the home. It’s kind of like trying to do a fashion shoot with models who haven’t had their hair or makeup done.
In this case, a twilight shot can really add some punch to a listing. This is most practical in houses, where the home owner can turn on all the lights during that critical period called the “blue hour”. The house is all lit up – and BOOM! The warmth of the home shines through and the winter landscape issues are obliterated.
This is harder to do in something like a condo or coop complex because we can not control the lighting in each and every unit, so creating a great twilight shot can be rather challenging. However, by changing your focus from the light coming from the interior units of the building to the entry lights that go on reliably once the sun starts to set, you can often achieve some compelling photos. You aren’t going to get the silhouette of the complex i this case. You would need the cooperation of all the owners with front-facing units, which is very hard to do. The object, in this case, is to capture the mood of the building. If it is modern, you want to see that. If it is deco, or nouveau you want the photo to reveal that style. A great deal depends on the type of lighting that the complex has, but in some cases such a shots can be very effective.
The above shot was taken of a pre-war condo complex in downtown White Plains. I hadn’t planned to be onsite so late in the day, but an issue with the keys kept me there longer than I anticipated. I took advantage of the opportunity when I saw the small lamps that decorate the complex entry switch on. The graceful wrought iron that is characteristic of a prewar period really stood out against the darkening sky. The time-frame for such a shot is very, very narrow. Maybe 20-30 minutes maximum at this time of year. But I think the photo was very worthwhile because it really captured the charm of this pre-war building that has lovely landscaping in the warmer months, but was suffering from the winter blues in January.
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