Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 28, 2011

Spring is in the air…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 6:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

.. as we reach the end of February – where does the time go !!

Anyway, over the weekend the sun was shining…
Kathryn and Ben Callaghan's detached bungalow near Killyleagh in County Down.
.. while we shooting at Kathryn and Ben Callaghan’s detached bungalow near Killyleagh in County Down.

The Storyline:

The couple bought the home over 4 years ago. It had previously been very rustic, so they set about putting their own stamp on by giving it a more urban sort of feel. In particular, they fitted a new kitchen and bathroom and replaced the fireplace with a simple hole in the wall. When it comes to soft furnishings, Kathryn enjoys picking up bargains in places like Dunelm Mill and TK Max.

So it was all hands onboard…
.. as even Simon’s mum was there to sort out the flowers…
The kitchen in Kathryn & Ben's detached bungalow.
.. and help throughout the day.

Lots of fun – but without a doubt, the Star of the show was Elizabeth, their 18 month old daughter…
.. who you wouldn’t believe, from looking at her here…
Kathryn & Elizabeth in the the living of their detached bungalow near Killyleagh.
.. had major surgery only 3 weeks ago.

Referring to me as “The Man” throughout the day – put a smile on everyone’s face – but what a wee dote…
.. who just loved it all.

Anyway, the days are still short – but getting longer – so looking forward to the month ahead, as we head down to Kilkenny and then over to the south of England.

Time to put the roof-rack on and look for a new assistant – as Spring is in the air smile


February 27, 2011

Eonvrye that can raed this rsaie your hnad.

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 12:24 pm
Tags: , ,

To my ‘selected’ strange-minded friends:
Only great minds can read this
This is weird, but interesting!

If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid too.
Can you raed this?

Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.
Azanmig huh?

Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

February 10, 2011

Praise is indeed bread to an artist.

Noticed we have been receiving a lot of ‘hits’ recently, from different parts of the world – so decided to check-out where they were coming from.

There’s been a lot of worldwide debate over the past few years about US-style interior photography (which is often extensively lit in a ‘glamorous’ movie sort of way) vs European style interior photography (which is all about ‘natural’ looking light). And also Real Estate photography (showing space and USP’s) vs Magazine photography (which is more about lifestyle and decor). Different markets, different clients, different trends – but some of these recent posts show that there is certainly a growing interest in some level of crossover which I applaud.

Really pleased to see that experienced photographers have been debating how we shoot interiors and seem to like what we are doing.
Praise is indeed bread to an artist.

By way of background, I’m Irish and am based in the north of Ireland but I went to college in Texas, so I guess I’ve been fortunate to learn from both sides of ‘the pond’.

Looking at some of these recent posts, it’s both interesting and encouraging to read what others are saying about us – below are some of the comments from 3 different forums – which we hope they don’t mind us recording it here, for keepsake when we are old(er) and grey(er).

These comments are not really about us – they are about interior photography – a field that is open to interpretation. Because everyone sees things differently and sees different things when they look at a picture.
Anyway, we’ve had an amazing decade but are still learning – so we always love to hear what other’s are thinking and seeing – especially when they look at our images.

The recent posts:

DPreview / Pro Digital Talk – Interior design Photography.

Hi folks
How are the Pros doing it? HDR? multiple strobes? ambient lighting?
I’m currently scratching my head here hearing all sorts of stories into which type of photography for interior/real estate images. A lot of the images I have been seeing online look very ‘lucis art’ but then I’m told that people want to see ‘natural ‘ looking images. I have been toying with HDRs but can never get windows to look anywhere near natural.

If you’re going to get into strobes, you would not use anything on camera, which casts short harsh shadows. You don’t want to take a picture of a room from the perspective of a light bulb. And you need some modifiers, with the least umbrellas, a diffuser, and perhaps a grid. But really you need to set up a bit differently than you are now. Someone like Ashley Morrison might use 7-9 strobes, but you could not find any evidence of them being there. Small flash heads attached to a power pack make that a little easier, and having a wide selection of modifiers and rigging at your fingertips. And a truck, or at least a Subaru.

On Ashley Morrison’s site, have a look at the Before and After images. They give you an idea of some of the ingenious ways that he uses strobes. Notice how he uses strobes to make window light for example.

Amazing stuff! I just love those images. That’s 20 years experience for you rather than 6 hours, lol.

All would do to study up on Ashley Morrison, who sometimes writes here and at LuLa. On his site, or his Vimeo feed, he has time-lapse videos of several of his shoots, and together they are a master class in setup, lighting, etc. He uses lights, several of them, but makes it look so natural.
Notice the attention to detail used in getting the arrangements just so. It takes all day and a team of 4-5. He’s only making it look easy, but it isn’t.

Bulletin / Forum – ufck photography thread the 3rd.

i’m trying to reverse-engineer some interior photos lately. not quite sure what type of modifiers are being used though, anyone has any insight? e.g:
Ivory with European Oak kitchen in Austin Baird's house near Holywood in County Down.

The sitting room in Sharon and Graeme Cleland's new-build house near Portstewart in County Londonderry.

High gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom.
i love love love this guy’s lighting, but can’t seem to get anywhere close via my umbrellas or bouncing the light off of walls, joints, corners or ceilings. no idea how he fills a space so evenly and without any blatant falloff or hot spots.

Have you considered that maybe he isn’t using any artificial sources?

He states that he does in all of his shots, which I believe unless he is the Jesus Christ of exposure blending.

Why don’t you just ask him?

The highlights are clearly coming from the windows, which leads me to believe that either A he isn’t using much artificial lighting and it’s very bright outside, or B he is blasting some really high powered sources through the windows and doors. The bounce in the room all looks very natural to me, which is obviously the goal, but I think the best way to get natural looking bounce is to use natural bounce. Would he have the budget to have some 5-10k HMI sources placed outside? If that’s so he’s still probably using something else for the one with the giant window (unless it’s a crane), but that one also looks like it could easily be entirely natural.

Thinking something along the same lines outside of the windows or just natural light on bright sunny days.

I actually found a before/after page of his:
they are definitely all lit from the inside. this dude is pretty big and does international assignments all over the place so I would not be surprised if he had the budget for some serious lighting. it’s also impossible to squeeze that much dynamic range (outdoor sun to interior shadows) in one shot out of any camera unless the natural lighting is perfect and you aren’t directly facing any windows – if you were, you’d get some serious light bloom around the window frame.

Flickr / Real Estate Photographers of America™ – A Master At Work: Ashley Morrison.

Each of us has a few favorite photographers that we admire. Ashley Morrison is a high-end interior/advertising photographer from Ireland who sometimes posts images on Flickr. He is a true artist and gets paid handsomely for his creativity and hard work by clients who know and appreciate his work. If you go to his website, you can view some of his “before and after” images. I’m sure that many REPA shooters will be inspired and appreciate viewing the links below, plus his many other YouTube videos.

Love his pricing page.

This is great – thanks for sharing!

I’m a big fan.

I’m interested to see and learn about the lights and specifically the modifiers he’s using.

I think that Ashley is pretty secretive about his lighting and techniques. From what I can tell from viewing some of his videos, he uses a lot of available light with large reflectors to create soft shadows, bounced monolights, sometimes adds warm CTO strobe lighting through exterior windows to simulate window light on gray days, large diffusers on windows to soften hard mid-day light, an occasional grid-spot, and exposure blending. I do know that he uses a Mac, CS3 and a P-25 Phase 1 camera.

What makes you think he is secretive about his lighting techniques? Have you tried asking him?

In any case, I imagine he uses the usual truckload of strobes, hot lights (spot and flood), and light modifiers (snoots, grids, barn doors, gels, scrims, silks, Cinefoil, etc.), and that his use of this equipment would vary widely depending upon the subject and his client’s needs.

I believe that he only uses a Phase One digital back and that the “camera” is a pre-digital-era Hasselblad Flexbody (basically just a bellows; the shutters are in the lenses).

If you want to get an idea of what kind of lighting kit interiors photographers typically use, try this Luminous Landscape discussion:

David, I probably should have used a word like “reluctant”; yes I did ask him. You’re right, we all use the same basic lights and modifiers etc. Back in the late 90’s, when I retired from school teaching, I hired myself out on a per-diem rate as a photo assistant to several Boston location commercial photographers for a few months and am very well aware of what professional commercial shooters use daily. These were pre-digital days and we were using 4″x5″ view cameras and 30-pound Elinchorme strobe power packs. I’ve experienced the same equipment being used by different shooters and was amazed by the slight variation in use and the difference in light “quality” achieved by different shooters. Using a giant sheet of translucent “Rip-Stop Nylon” duct taped to a giant picture window can create a soft /directional light quality that cannot be matched by a commercially made softbox or umbrella. These are some of the nuances that some photographers have discovered that make their work a cut above the rest. From my experience with working with commercial photographers, I found that they are the shooters who really know and study light quality and this made some of them stand out amongst their peers. Some people think that if they own a hammer, a saw and can pound nails, they are a carpenter. The same is true in photography. Studying the work of others that we admire, much can be learned that could make a difference in what our images look like.
I’m not sure if he is using the H’Blad Flexbody or the Arcbody or not. He mentioned the Phase One P-25. If he is using one of the H’Blad bodies with rising and fall movements, it’s an incredible tool that is the next best solution to using a view camera for perspective control.

I hope I did not over-step my boundaries here by using their words – but if I did, I will remove them.
In the meantime, ‘Thank you’ all for your kind words – they mean a lot to us – as we work very hard at producing these sort of images, for our clients to use.

February 2, 2011

A Sea Breeze.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2011 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 22 to 27 in the March 2011 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Sharon and Graeme Cleland's new-build house near Portstewart in County Londonderry.
.. on pages 22 to 27 – featuring Sharon and Graeme Cleland’s new-build house near Portstewart in County Londonderry.

Lead home – and it looks absolutely stunning !

“25 Beautiful Homes is one of the most successful magazines in the homes market. Its enduring popularity is thanks to the fact that it provides readers with 25 stunning homes to browse through in every issue. With page after page of wonderful photography and fascinating stories, the magazine is full of ideas that readers can transfer to their own homes, making it both an entertaining read and a useful sourcebook.”

So a Huge ‘Congratulations’ to Sharon and Graeme – and a massive ‘Thanks’ to everyone else who worked on this one.

February 1, 2011

Heart of the Country.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2011 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
Pages 90 to 102 in the March 2011 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Maureen and Darius Graham's farmhouse near Broughshane in County Antrim.
.. on pages 90 to 102 – featuring Maureen and Darius Graham’s farmhouse near Broughshane in County Antrim.

As always with this magazine, the images look stunning, especially the double page spreads.
Thirteen pages too – so very pleased and great to see.

Anyway, congratulation to Darius & Maureen once again…
Maureen Graham in the sitting room of her farmhouse near Broughshane in County Antrim.
.. your home in the Heart of the Country looks amazing – so thanks for everything and enjoy the magazine.

Marie, Mandi & Ashley @

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