Mike Kelley's Where Art Meets Architecture 1

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 7 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.

Download this 7 Hour Tutorial

Two Additional Tutorials!  

Since the release of Where Art Meets Architecture 1, Fstoppers has produced two new tutorials with Mike Kelley (WAMA II and III). These tutorials are MUCH more advanced and focus on very specific elements of the architecture photography market. If you are just getting started with real estate photography, lighting, and post production, we highly recommend watching WAMA 1 first, but we have also bundled all of the tutorials in this series at a discount if you want to learn everything Mike has to teach.  

View the sales page for WAMA 2 Here.

View the sales page for WAMA 3 Here.

*No refunds allowed for bundle purchases.

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.

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Previous comments

Yesterday I purchased Mike's architectural tutorial and wonder why he/fstoppers did not settle on a $797 or even a $997 price point. The techniques will generate many times the investment. So if anyone is concerned about the price, I would submit that nothing is more valuable than the investment in education, and this is real a bargain.

I've been fumbling around with real estate photography and realize now it's time to get serious with some serious tools he provides. I stayed up most of the night watching the entire series and have created a shopping list of some missing items. I can't wait to approach it from this new perspective. Fun stuff!

I note that good proficiency in Photoshop is needed. I am not very experienced with PS and have some work to do in that area. Just working through parts of the example took me way more time than it did for him. So if you're like me expect to sink some extra time in post-processing until it becomes second nature.

I also thought the video was very well produced, and it would be great to have info on what cameras were used to do the video, mic, lighting, editing software, etc.

Terrific work, guys! I'll be posting results on the FB page.

any tips on how to resize the videos for mobile devices?

I just finished watching the entire series and wow learned so much. I was very hesitant in spending $300, but well worth the money. I already use professional SLR with multiple strobes
and do most of my shots for real estate and most of my work is done in camera with little Post Processing(expose for the ambient Light and fill the rest). But occasionally I come across an incredible property, that I will use your techniques on the Architecture level photography
and raise my expertise to another level.

There has been many times where the interior of the house was challenging to hide my flash in the frame , or get the light in specific areas of the frame, but your technique just opened up a completely new opportunities. You have taught me so much in this video that I have been trying to figure out myself over the last several years. Your video explains step by step what you need to do, especially in Photoshop. This is the first video that explains to you step by step what you do on site and exactly what you do in Post Processing to tie it all together, thank you for sharing your secrets, you make it also so simple to understand and follow.

As a bonus in the video is what impressed me is your marketing ideas,, I am a real estate Broker that shoots my own homes that I sell and I take that extra time to create a breath taking images of my clients homes, because I have a passion for Photography, I know the money shots that sell homes and I do better photo’s than 95% of the real estate photographers in my area , because I don’t blame the photographers because of time vs Money. This gets me at least 10 new listings a year because of my marketing and photos. A lot of what you talk about marketing is what I use in my business but really added some incredible ideas that I am going to incorporate right away. Thank You

Hi Mike, many thanks for the video series, very good value and a great learning tool. Just one question. In the twilight tutorial, you hammer home the importance of bracketing, do you bracket your flash pops as you go around the property?

Mike Kelley's picture

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the kind words, glad you found it beneficial! To answer your question, the only think I bracket is shutter speed - I don't bracket the flash exposures on exteriors.

Hi Mike!

Further question about the bracketing thing: On the twilight shot, you start with iso 200 f8 ss 1/5.
That's the exposure that you will be using during all the pictures taken with the flash? And every 5 minutes you take two brakets of 3 shots with just ambient, without flash? -2, 0, +2? After taking a bracket, do you return to your starting exposure to continue the flash thing?

thanks in advance!

First, let me say these videos are amazing! Mike is an engaging speaker and provides detailed information than anyone can follow. I am new to real estate photography so these tutorials were exactly what I needed to learn how to make my photos better. He takes you step by step through everything you need to know.

The down side of my experience has been that the zip files in Chapter 2 were empty! I've notified the email address that they were empty, but haven't heard back yet. The package was expensive so I'd really like to get the whole set of videos without having to repurchase the package. For those of you purchasing, you only have 120 hours to download the packages, so make sure you buy when you have time to download the files. After you download them, check every zip file to make sure you have all the files. Is it worth it....YES IT IS! Would I buy it again? Yes!

I sure hope this email helps me get the files in Chapter 2.

I would delete the empty Zip file and download again if you haven't already. Mine all came through just fine.

Update! Within hours of my post. Fstoppers came back with another Chapter 2 download. Good news for future purchases...customer service at FStoppers is alive and well.

Patrick Hall's picture

Thanks Carolyn, the Fstoppers office is only 3 people so sometimes it takes a few days to respond especially if it's a weekend or holiday. I like to think we are pretty efficient for such a small staff.

some great hints and tips there for photographers!

This was one AMAZING course. I literally got chills of excitement and didn't sleep for days thinking of how excited I am to try these techniques. As far as the price, well to each their own, but I thought it was worth EVERY PENNY. I cannot say enough about how much is shared on this tutorial. Thank you Mike, so much.

Patrick Hall's picture

Don't advertise that you will lose sleep after watching this ha. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thank you for producing such a great tutorial. As a novice i just have a question. Is it possible to achieve anything near these results using only Lightroom?

Patrick Hall's picture

Unfortunately LR will not allow you to do what Mike does. Lightroom only lets you tweak a single file so you are left with a fake HDR process. You can pull out shadows, preserve highlights, etc, but you will not be able to layer multiple images like Mike does.

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