Archive for May 2009

>IMG 1635 >Problem Solving and Solutions on a Tricky Exterior

We just finished shooting Goldmoor Inn (view old website) in Galena, Illinois–a beautiful property on a high bluff over the Mississippi River near one of the Midwest’s premier resort towns. Our task was to rethink how they represented the Inn visually and help tell the story of their spectacular setting.

The interior was easy because the rooms are very large with great views and they are beautifully appointed. The exterior was tricky. Since the inn overlooks the Mississippi, it’s hard to get a good shot with the grand river views and the castle-like architecture in the same shot. Also, the front of the inn has a expansive circular concrete drive that, in pictures, distracts from the beautiful facade. Also their current homepage image is not very warm or inviting and we thought it was a little “chilly”. We wanted to warm it up to match the reality!
BannerFrontPhoto2 >Problem Solving and Solutions on a Tricky Exterior

We suggested to Patricia (the owner) that we shoot a similar, wider view at twilight to work up the structure and create a mood of warmth and romance. A great solution I think.
After (Jumping Rocks) Image:
Goldmoor Exterior %286%29 >Problem Solving and Solutions on a Tricky Exterior

To solve the problem of integrating the river and building, Patricia rented a lift to take us up several stories high to catch both the river and the structure (see opening photo). That resulted in a good shot with both the river and the building. I would not recommend they use this as their PRIMARY image as this is not the prettiest side of the building but it gives a potential guest a great idea of how well this property is situated.
Here is the resulting picture from the lift:
Goldmoor Exterior %2811%29 >Problem Solving and Solutions on a Tricky Exterior

Then again, it might be argued that they use a picture that “sells the experience” and is less literal than the facade of the building.
This sunset river shot might be that kind of “experience” shot:
Goldmoor Exterior %281%29 >Problem Solving and Solutions on a Tricky Exterior

>blogafter >Rainy Day Solutions in Arkansas
 MG 5392 >Rainy Day Solutions in Arkansas

Clients often ask “what if it rains on my shoot??” Great question. After flying us out to your location, sometimes waiting for us for up to a year, it may seem like a disaster in the making. We’ve encountered dozens of situations like this over the years and we typically overcome the situation through creative lighting and exposure.

Last week we were in Hot Springs, Arkansas working at Hilltop Manor. The inn has a dynamite front porch and beautiful grounds. With a very tight schedule, we had a very small window in which to shoot the front porch – and it was raining with no end in sight. Strobe to the rescue!
We almost always light a porch shot anyway, but this one was a bit trickier because of the gloomy weather and the fact that we could not put our lights outside of the porch due to the rain.
We overcame the gloom by placing one strobe with a 20 degree grid spot off camera right, creating sun-like texture on the beautiful stonework. We had another grid spot on a strobe at camera right creating highlights on the chair seats. Camera left was a strobe firing into an umbrella, lighting up the left hand side of the shot and filling in shadows. All lights were gelled with a filter to emulate morning sun: Rosco Cinegel #3410 Filter – RoscoSun 1/8 CTO.

Propping and styling also played a role in perking up the scene. The evening before, Mark had asked the innkeeper to buy some red napkins – they make for a wonderful and “sunny” counterpoint to the green outside. The porch was also completely re-ordered and re-designed to create this shot to create a pleasant cadence of tables flanking the stone columns.

In post-production (using Photoshop) I used the contrast, vibrancy and selective saturation tools to make the background feel less gloomy.

Presto! From “Stormy Weather” to “Let the Sun Shine In”!