Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 6, 2021

Full of Romance

Is the title of our latest published work which can be seen on the cover and in the February 2021 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 40 to 49 in the February 2021 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors and Living magazine.
.. on pages 40 to 49 – featuring Amanda and Keith’s renovated Grade B1 listed Victorian townhouse in Belfast.

Amanda and Keith stripped a double-fronted Victorian townhouse in Belfast to the brick to create their French romantic, shabby chic home from scratch.

Which I talked about us shooting here: Wow, I take my hat off to you Ashley!.

So once again congratulations to Keith and Amanda here…
Amanda Holly with her two sons Bailie & Oliver in the sitting room of their renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. for not only making it into this beautifully printed magazine but for also making it onto the cover too…
The cover of the February 2021 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors and Living magazine.
.. from Marie, Mandi, Stuart & me


February 4, 2014

Traditional Style.

Is the title of our latest published work March 2014 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
Pages 82 to 92 in the March 2014 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Davina and Ian Callen's cottage near Seaforde in County Down.
.. on pages 82 to 92 – featuring Davina and Ian Callen’s cottage near Seaforde in County Down.

“Davina and Ian let their love of craftsmanship and traditional cottage interiors gently style the home they’ve created in the heart of the Irish countryside in picturesque Seaforde near the beautiful Mourne Mountains in County Down.”

Which Marie talked about here: Understanding Interior Styles – at the time when we shot it.

Anyway, in my traditional style, this is just a quick note to say a big thanks to everyone involved here for their hard work – and congratulations to Davina & Ian once again, for making it this time into this beautifully printed Irish glossy magazine.

From Marie, Mandi & me @

September 15, 2013

Something old, something new.

One of the reasons we enjoy shooting homes is the fact that we get to meet great people – and also to work on a wide variety of homes.

This week we shot a stunning Irish cottage…
Janet and Ken Hamilton's traditional Irish cottage called 'Rose Cottage' in the County Down village of Greyabbey.
.. where the owners Janet and Ken initially bought the cottage as a holiday home – but loved it so much, they decided to move in permanently. They did some fairly major work to the cottage – the big things were removing the kitchen ceiling and taking it up to the rafters along with a new bathroom and creating an ensuite. Style-wise Janet went for an eclectic mix of vintage, original artwork, and a few more modern things.

Marie is the interior expert and she assures me, that that can be a tricky “look” to pull off – but that Janet did it to perfection:

She has done a superb job mixing wonderful old vintage items, with original artwork alongside a few modern touches.

So Marie & I had little to do here…
setting-up in the Living room
.. besides, re-arrange a few small things and then ask Janet to smile…
Janet Hamilton in the living room of her traditional Irish cottage in the County Down village of Greyabbey.
.. at the camera.

And it was the same throughout…
setting up in the kitchen
.. as they had also managed to create an almost naturally lit interior too.
So on my side, it was pretty much a case of pointing & shooting
The kitchen in Janet and Ken Hamilton's traditional Irish cottage called 'Rose Cottage' in the County Down village of Greyabbey.
.. with usually no more than one light being needed to add some sparkle.

Which was something new in something so old for me, as cottages like this can often be quite dark and therefore hard to light.

Anyway, just like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Janet and Ken for inviting us in – and we will keep you both posted in regards to which magazines it will be appearing in, over the years to come.

From Marie & me @

November 7, 2011

Good Cheer.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 7:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Is the title of one of 2 features we have in the Christmas issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine this month…
Pages 90 and 93 of the December 2011 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's Edwardian villa in the County Down town of Bangor at Christmas.
.. on pages 90 to 93 – featuring Sarah and Geoff Mitchell’s Edwardian villa in the County Down town of Bangor at Christmas.

“Sarah and Geoff Mitchell’s period home is bursting with festive spirit.”

And ‘Lessons Learnt’ being the other one…
Pages 144 to 147 in the December 2011 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Marie and Alan's 1950s cottage in Belfast at Christmas.
.. on pages 143 to 147 – featuring Marie & Alan’s 1950s cottage in Belfast at Christmas.

“Marie and Alan Scott’s home sparkles with cosy New-England style, perfect for laid-back Christmas celebrations.”

So a big thanks to everyone involved – good cheer indeed – and a very Merry Christmas to you all from Marie, Mandi & me

July 31, 2011

It’s a tough old job…

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 5:21 pm
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.. but someone has to do it – as the saying goes.

This week took us back to the Antrim coast again, to shoot a fabulous old converted coach house, The Shola. Which was originally built around 1860 and has been lovingly restored and extended by Mary & Arthur McAllister.
The sun shone throughout the day, which was great; however, the one image we needed it most for, was the exterior – to highlight the beautiful stonework.
We were determined to capture this… but as with most things in life, the simplest of things can often be the hardest.

In this case, the sun didn’t hit the front until well after 6 o’clock – and by that stage, it was starting to drop behind the big trees to the right…
Mary and Arthur McAllister's converted coach house near Portstewart in County Antrim.
.. so this one simple looking shot, actually took over an hour to capture.
However, to help pass the time while we were waiting, Mary very kindly brought us out a glass of red wine.
Yes I know, it’s a tough old job… but someone has to do it Smile

Inside, Mary & Arthur…
Mary and Arthur McAllister in the sitting room of their converted coach house near Portstewart in County Antrim.
.. combined the coziness of the coach house with stylish decor – and if all goes well, you should be able to see all the images printed in one of the leading interior magazines, later on, this year.

A tough one, but a lovely one – so big thanks to Mary & Arthur for making us feel so welcome and inviting us in to capture The Shola.

From Marie & me @

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.

January 25, 2011

How beautiful images…

.. can change peoples’ perceptions and feelings for their home.

A lot of the discussion at yesterday’s shoot was whether the owners of this very pretty cottage style bungalow…
Patricia and Christopher Abbott's detached cottage in the County Down town of Bangor.
.. should move to a larger house in order to get more space – or stay put and extend.

They’d tried putting their home on the market – but selling homes in the current climate is difficult, to say the least!!
After a while, people trying to sell their home can become very disenfranchised and disheartened.
They begin to wonder “what’s wrong with my home!”

So when a team like ourselves come along ‘out of the blue’ and tell them their home is gorgeous and we’d like to shoot it for a magazine – it often reminds folk why they fell in love with the home and bought it in the first place.

And then when they see our final images, which are all about lifestyle and atmosphere…
Patricia Abbott in the living room of her detached cottage in Bangor.
.. which is different from​ how the Estate Agency’s photographer’s picture below looks, which is more about showing the space…
.. they suddenly seem to look at their home with fresh eyes, remember the lovely times they’ve enjoyed there…
The kitchen in Patricia and Paul Abbott's detached cottage in the County Down town of Bangor.
.. and begin to feel happy with it once again.

Which this is actually something we’re encountering quite a lot, especially over the last few years.

And the upshot with yesterday’s shoot – well Yes, it very much looks like the Patricia and Christopher are going to stay put and extend.
They have remembered what a unique home they have and why they fell in love with it in the first place !!

Anyway, just like to say a big thanks to Patricia, Christopher and their daughter, Finuala…
Patricia and Paul Abbott's daughter, Finuala, in her bedroom.
.. for making us feel so welcome yesterday – and we hope you & your family enjoy your new found unique home, for many more years to come smile

From Marie & me @

January 28, 2010

Wow… wonderful indeed.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 2:31 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Wonderful Demonstration of Creating Interior Photographs.

For those that may not have noticed Jeremy Esland’s thread in the PFRE flickr group recently, I think it is worth posting here again. This before and after gallery is from The owner of the site, Ashley Morrison, specializes in interior and hotel photography. Ashley works with Marie McMillen an interior designer when shooting hotel interiors. While this is technically not real estate photography the concepts are very relevant to shooting and marketing real estate photography.

As Jeremy points out, “…there’s immense educational value in lengthy examination/dissection of these examples“.

Before & After

From a marketing point of view, this sequence of before and after shots shows that the difference between a casual snapshot and a carefully crafted and staged image is huge. This simple display is a powerful marketing presentation for why a client would want to pay top money for their services.

The other aspect of interior photography that Ashley and Marie’s before and after sequence illustrates is the impact of staging interiors. It is well known that a staged home will sell for more and sell faster than a vacant or unstaged home and Ashley and Marie’s before and after sequence demonstrates why.

Thanks Ashley and Marie for this great set of examples and thanks to Jeremy Esland for pointing it out.

For more on this visit: Photography for Real Estate… as this is indeed wonderful stuff 🙂

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