Mike Kelley: Where Art Meets Architecture

How To Photograph Real Estate, Architecture and Interiors Tutorial with Mike Kelley

After years of perfecting his unique "light painting with speedlights" technique, Mike Kelley has quickly become one of the most sought after architecture and interior photographers around. Mixing artificial light, natural ambient light, and high powered strobe light, Mike's images create a hyper realistic mood that has become a staple in the commercial and advertising world. Unlike traditional techniques such as single long exposures or high dynamic range renders, Mike's light painting technique allows him to have the most amount of control over every light source seen in his images. It is only after you have seen Mike's before and after examples that you can really appreciate just how impressive his work truly is.

mike kelley real estate photography

Fstoppers.com has teamed up with Mike Kelley to produce Where Art Meets Architecture, a 7 hour long digital download on how to photograph real estate, architecture, and interiors. In this photography tutorial, Mike will explain each and every technique he uses to produce his stunning images. The full photography tutorial is broken down into three chapters, each covering the tools necessary to succeed in the different niche markets within the field of interior photography. So no matter if you are an experienced photographer or have never taken your camera out of auto mode, Mike will teach you the most basic steps to get started as well as walk you through some of his most complicated photo edits. From simple on-camera Real Estate photographs, to twilight exteriors with 20 layers of Photoshop, this tutorial will help you get on the fast track to making your photos of homes and architecture look as good as those seen in publications and commercials.

What is covered:

how to photograph real estate homes

Real Estate Photography: In the Real Estate section, Mike will teach you everything you need to know about this genre so you can kick start your career and start producing images for real estate agents, listing agents, and general property management. All of the basics will be covered in this chapter including:

  • How to get started with minimal gear
  • How to bounce flash effectively
  • Using natural light to your advantage
  • Properly composing your frame
  • Choosing the correct focal length
  • How to retain exterior window views
  • Two, three, and four light setups
  • Correcting pincushion and barrel distortion
  • Fixing converging lines in Photoshop
  • Creating a final image completely in camera

 
In addition to "building your foundation", Mike also talks candidly about how he found success in the real estate market, and how you too can build a money making business shooting properties for sale.

mike kelley photoshop
Architecture and Interior Photography: This chapter focuses on how to create photographs for higher paying clients like architects, home builders, interior designers, and magazine editorials. With the ground work already laid down, Mike focuses on streamlining your workflow and pushing your images into actual works of art. While on location at an actual architect's personal home, Mike walks you through eight flagship images from initial capture all the way through the final photoshop editing process. We have also included a full Photoshop PSD file of a twilight exterior images so you can follow along as Mike teaches every step in creating his signature look.

  • Mike's Twilight Exterior Technique
  • Advanced light painting and compositing
  • Tethering to an ipad/iphone
  • Using scrims to control reflections/specular highlights
  • The "Moody Interior Twilight Shot"
  • Faking warm sunlight
  • Staging furniture for strong compositions

 

mike kelley how to photograph interiors

Commercial and Advertising Photography: In this final section, Mike takes you on the set of two commercial spaces and demonstrates how to produce perfect images for restaurants, hotels, wedding venues, resorts, and other commercial clients. Emphasis will be placed on meeting your clients needs and lighting images according to the use of the space.

  • Creating twilight images while a restaurant is open for business
  • Incorporating people into your photography
  • Lighting multi room locations
  • Replacing details in Photoshop
  • Lighting large banquet halls
  • How to create an inviting atmosphere

 
Additionally, Mike will also cover the business of commercial and advertising photography including how to market yourself, how to build residual income through image licensing, finding and maintaining clients, and pricing your work.

mike kelley tutorial

*All refunds are outlined in our terms of service 


"‘Where Art Meets Architecture’ is the definitive workshop on shooting Real Estate, Architecture, or Interior images. What you learn in this 8 hour workshop is what many photographers dream about...By the time you are finished with this workshop, you will feel as if you have the tools you need to complete any job in this niche of photography."

-Anthony Thurston, SLR Lounge (read full 5-Star review here)

 

Not familiar with Mike's work? Check out this short Fstoppers Original we did with Mike as he photographs an exterior twilight shot in Arizona. Read the full original post here.

Below we ask for honest reviews from THOSE WHO HAVE PURCHASED THE TUTORIAL. Anything that is not a review of the product will be deleted.

Download this 8 Hour Tutorial
$299.00
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76 Comments

I bought the video and it's well worth the price. It's great! However, I wish you included the files so that I could practice the Photoshop stuff.

Patrick Hall's picture

All the files from every house/room? You did get the exterior house files right?

I have only one file, Twilight Photoshop Document.psd, which does a great job of showing how Mike used layers to create an image. I was hoping there would be other files so that I could follow along as he does his Photoshop demonstrations.

$299 IS pretty steep, but then again, how much do you value YOUR time and effort to produce saleable material and artwork? I probably shouldn't be spending so much right before the holidays, but honestly, in this business, whether it's a lens, new body...tethering equipment, whatever, and I feel I need or could use it to make my job easier, or make better images...I get it and cut corners elsewhere. I've been waiting for this since it was announced (thought was to be a DVD) awhile ago, and will make those three bones back on my next shoot. If you want to learn to light paint like the pros...and produce all around exemplary polished images like Kelly, you got to learn from a pro like Kelly. just do it......IMHO....

Was looking at the price as I thought it was steep, but then decided to purchase it. All I can say is Wow!! Why did I hesitate at first? Mike you did a great job and I applaud to you and your work. Out side of my equipment, this was the best purchase so far!! Very Happy.

Patrick Hall's picture

The reception is actually pretty amazing!

This series will help photographers raise their game, attract higher end clients, and is well worth the price. Mike explains basic and advanced techniques clearly and with examples. Great job!

I'm shocked to see how many people are upset at the price figure. Can you guys not stop to think for a moment, what it has taken him to produce this kind of work? Hundreds and hundreds of hours in the field and in post. And don't forget the production value of the team producing this DVD. Mike's knowledge, time producing this video, equipment involved, production crew and hours involved, post production, DVD mass production. Thousands and thousands of dollars. We are lucky this is even an option to buy. It's an invesment. You don't buy this DVD to casually watch, you watch it to become better at your craft and gain clients in the real estate/architecture business.

Where can I see how big is the the digital download file?

Chapter 1 1.9MB
Chapter 2 2.0MB
Chapter 3 1.8MB
Chapter 4 2.0MB

Julia Kuzmenko McKim's picture

You're totally right! I went to a photography college overseas for 2 years and I spent well over $70K to study and pay my bills during those two years. When I see people complaining about paying $299 for a chunk of the best and tested information, that targets the very topic you may be interested in, I, like you, scratch my head.

Hey guys... I just finished the full thing and thought I'd say a few things about this video series.

First off. The price is fine. If anything it should be more expensive. With what you are going to learn from these videos you should be able to pick up a few real-estate clients in even a "lower tier" real-estate location that should pay the $299 with ease.

Second off. The quality of the video work is quite good. Wouldn't say it's the best I've seen, but it is quite good. Definitely good enough. It's great to see a well thought out, nicely paced tutorial that is also interesting to watch.

Third off. I really appreciate how the whole thing is approached. Mike carefully walks you through each bit of information and technique that you need to know, he tells you how to do it and why you should do it "his way."

Fourth off. If I had one request or critique it would be about the business section. While Mike covered a lot of the basics of how he rebuilt his business from the ground up, twice, I'd love to have seen/heard more details added in there. Maybe because I'm in the middle of trying to do it myself... :)

Finally I'd like to say thanks! This video may have changed my life forever. Time will tell, but I believe if I am willing to put in the time and work my tail off, this type of photography will expand my ability to create images that help my clients sell their homes more quickly. At any rate, the stuff I learned throughout this video won't hold me back!

Mike Kelley's picture

Hi Eldon! Thanks for the great review and kind words. I am glad you found it so useful. I too wish that I could have packed more into it, but of course we had to find a balance. I also wish I could share some big business 'secret' with you, but like anything, it was just a lot of hard work, late nights, and endless emails. So glad that it helped you out - and best of luck with the business!

Yup... I'm figuring out the hard work, late nights and endless emails part of it... :)

Thanks too for taking the time to reply, you have no idea how much that means!

Hi,

your work is amazing and I think that the price is absolutely worth it, although I haven't done it yet. After reading on fstoppers and your blog, i know that you don't like HDR much, but does this Tutorial show something about HDR? I live in a really low income area (but the good thing is, that there are NO real estate photographers) and people do not pay much for this service, so i cannot spend hours getting the perfect shots and only get payed $100. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to make quick and easy money! I want to deliver good quality for a reasonable price, but i cannot deliver top of the range quality for that. So that is a point which keeps me off from buying this tut at the moment, cause i don't know whether this is good for my situation. Can you help me with these concerns?

I cannot consider moving in the next few years, because finishing my Uni-Degree over here in Germany is the most important thing and I want to earn a few extra $, but still want to become better (hopefully as good as you are some day ;-))!

To come to the point: the trailer looks like you only do top of the range photography for top of the range products, but what about the average stuff? Does this get covered as well?

I hope you got my point and I would really appreciate an answer on that final question.

Keep up the good work, you are a legend!

T.J.

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