Style: Property Photographer Thurso. Interior Photographer Thurso. Client: Flagstone Cottages, The Prince’s Redevelopment Trust.
It’s not difficult to think that you’re at the end of the world when you look out to sea from the coast in Castletown – look north and next comes the Arctic circle… Inspiring and on this day quite humbling, as the snow and sleet hit us in the face horizontally! Caithness, a land of many weathers and normally all in one hour, as was the case on this property and interior photography shoot. It first rained buckets, then snowed and then for just a short time hit us with the most stunning sunlight, very yellow and quite unique to the area with its high latitude.
We had been asked to photograph a property in Castletown not far from Thurso that had been redeveloped by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust. A mid terrace croft that had been two properties once in the far past, now knocked into one with a key feature of flagstones. On this occasion we had not done our usual research to see what it was we were photographing prior to arriving as time scales had been so tight – literally a 48 hour turnaround. Once a holiday let property we were hoping for something of an inspiration – especially with the Prince’s Trust involved.
We were not disappointed, the bedroom was a real inspiration in design, choice of colour which complemented the flagstone floor – the curtains in tweed gave the whole thing that real Dickensian feel! The sitting room large, with focal stove fireplace had beautifully restored floors and the kitchen dinning room was a picture from the past!
What of the shoot? I challenge to say the least. Windows are always an issue – the balance of sunlight to room light. In most places we adjust the exposure time and simply adjust the image in Adobe Photoshop later. Dark rooms are the issue – where there’s sunlight or dull sky – the dark room creates the need for long exposures – this then causes the usual ‘white light flair’ that escapes the window over the curtain in a poorly taken interior image. Then there’s the issue of the window being blown (that’s just simply pure white). We never allow flair to be shown in our images – its part of the post production process – we simply delete them as you cannot rebuild the area. So that old saying of get it right in the camera first comes to mind. As for the out side view if there’s one there – then you need to show it so a ‘blown window’ image is again discarded in the studio. This croft has very subdued lighting – in fact it bordered on very dark in the bedroom. You cannot simply use lots of flash – the paint work flashes and you change the colours in the room by light intensity – you need to find the balance in studio lighting that permits ‘introduced’ light at the same time as not changing the fabric of the room. High exposures with the camera can be used but then you get loads of noise in the dark areas – and I don’t care how good the camera is (we only use Canon EOS1 units) you get noise in the dark bits that way! A flash rig isn’t always good as you camera tries to expose on readings surrounding the device and not the flash light… need I say more! The shoot in some parts was the darkest we have ever shot, only cellars being darker! The option – banks of continuous lighting, barn doors and flags just for one room – taking ages to set up just for a few images. But well worth it! It’s a great room.
Key Words: The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, Flagstone Cottages, Holiday Let Photography, Holiday Cottage Photography, Caithness, Castletown, Thurso.
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