How Mike Kelley Photographs High-End Homes: Behind the Scenes Episode Four

Where Art Meets Architecture 2 Behind the Scenes continues today with episode four. In this episode, we rent an incredible home in Beverly Hills to live in and photograph for four days. 

If you can remember back to episode two when we photographed the Venice Beach home, we were having major issues finding high-end homes to photograph for free. Because we were in L.A., when a homeowner heard "video production," they immediately assumed it was for a giant publication, TV show, or movie and wanted an absurd amount of money. We found the "tree house" on Air BnB for $750/night, and the first line of their listing said "no photo or video shoots allowed." After explaining our project and offering to stay in the house for four nights, the owner finally agreed to let us shoot there. 

The house itself wasn't very nice. Everything needed to be updated, and the doors, walls, and windows all had gaps that let air in. Luckily, the weather in LA was perfect and we didn't really want this location for the home itself; we wanted that view, and it was spectacular. We were the second highest home in Beverly Hills, and we looked down on some of the biggest celebrities' homes. 

The first night we were there, our buddy, Dylan Patrick, came by to hang out, and we ended up putting him to work. For the first lesson, he held the Flex Light that was lighting Mike. For this shot, Mike showed how you can replace a sky when your subject is backlit. 

For the next shot, Mike zoomed in much farther than he normally would to enhance the view in this bedroom. 

You can learn more about the full tutorial here. Make sure you subscribe to our Youtube Channel for next week's episode. 

Log in or register to post comments


Casey Wrightsman's picture

How much is that house worth? Such an amazing view!

Lee Morris's picture

I think the owner bought it for less than 1 million and he fixed it up enough to where it is habitable but still not that nice and zillow said it was worth 8 million I believe. I think he was about to bulldoze it and build something nicer up there.

Casey Wrightsman's picture

Dang talk about a profit

Patrick Hall's picture

There is a house coming up soon where the guy bought the land and built a house for $1.4 million I believe and sold it for $7-8 million 6 months after completion. He had someone interested in it and the owner didn't want to sell it so soon so he threw out a "holy shit, I'll take it" offer and the potential buyer bit instantly.....on closing day he told the original owner he would have paid another million over the final price. Crazy amounts of money!

Chris Himstedt's picture

Roller coaster footage made me laugh.

Mike Mantucca's picture

I love watching these. Doesn't matter what tutorial its for, they're always great.

Lee Morris's picture

Thanks for the kind words Mike. So glad you're enjoying them.

Michael Kormos's picture

Ok, $1mil homes aren't exactly "high-end". Time to move your production to NYC guys, and film some $80+ mil billionaire's row condos :-)

Patrick Hall's picture

Oh I know. I keep trying to get Elia or Mike to get access to 432 Park Place to shoot either architecture or landscape.

Anonymous's picture

You have fun ....
Nice to see how it was done from behind ...
the photos looks super, great job.
But with what did you make the video from 5:52 .. all heads are out of focus and all is so yellow ..

Lee Morris's picture

All the bts footage was filmed with iPhones

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture

great as always!

Christian Berens's picture

CAN'T.... GET.... ENOUGH! I love watching these!
Looks like a blast!

Damn. That's a lot of "T's"

Lee Morris's picture

I'm proud and sad to say that the 4 "t"s didn't make it into the tutorial