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

Hi, this comes with spanish subtitles?

Hi I am actually currently watching this video .. im only about 2 hours into it.. and all I can say is WOW. I am just shocked that this even exists. ITS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR. Some of the quick photoshop tricks were worth the cost of the video alone. Its like a little present from God. Im have a degree in architecture and studied interiors for years around the globe but recently turned photographer and now my own photog corp of 3 years. Im kinda done ... or at least tired of portraiture. I miss my roots and passion with design and really wanted to combine my latest skill set of photography with my educational background. I wanted more control than I get photographing an unpredictable toddler or newborn. I have much of the equipment listed but am missing some pieces which I plan to get like that awesome sauce cam ranger. Really .. I am so elated with what Ive seen so far.. I expect it to just get better from here but I couldnt contain my happiness and needed to write a big THANK YOU to Mike and Fstoppers for creating this easy to find.. get.. learn from.. video. I cannot wait to learn more and see what I an create for myself and my business. Ill keep ya posted!

Juan Carlo Guzman's picture

wondering if a crop sensor camera would be work for this , to get started i do have some equipment but i don't own a tilt shift lens and the wider lens i own is a 28mm f/2.8 ? since i live in Miami I think the real state business down here is pretty big so I think i can make it... I'm willing to buy this tutorial, please let me know if a tilt shift lens is a must cause i don't have one...Thank you so much !!!

Mike Kelley's picture

Hi Juan, nope, a tilt shift lens is definitely not necessary for real estate photography and we go over how to deal with not having one in the video. You may want to upgrade to one as you become a more successful photographer but at first it isn't required at all.

Is this tutorial available on a dvd set or just a download link?

Hi Mike, Karen héroe forma New Zealand, Do I need to have some knowledge on Photoshop before I can use this DVD? I am studying photography and I would like to home building photography, thank you

Hi Mike,
Thanks so much for sharing this . As a semi pro who's already covered some interiors for hotels & spas , I have been booked for a very high end property development . The job has gradually developed into pressure to re produce the composition , lighting & look of images the client already has had done by very high end cgi company.. All very wide shots, high ceilings & of course sun streaming in on 3rd 4th floors where it couldn't in reality .. .( dratts to cgi and clients expectations now).. didn't feel confident in delivering anything like that polished style.. ( not my experience at all) Major panic .. Watched loAds of tutorials then found this.. Wasn't sure it would teach me anything more than I,d already picked up but WOW ...how wrong I was .. After 2 intense days watching this, I've learnt buckets.! . Can't wait to get practicing practising , goodness take me years to get your skills together , especially in Photoshop .. but already sleeping better .. Feel confident that not only can I deliver some polished high end developers images but hopefully now improve on their lifeless cgi !! Looking forward to it now.. Especially a twilight shot of the outside( cgi guys missed that trick! Lol)
Its a fantastic tutorial and you deserve much success for sharing your approach.
Silly question but when you are lighting all the individual areas with speed light/ grid etc.. If you have main flash bouncing off ceiling on through umbrella for lighting whole interior for more daylight interior shots do I need to fire that alongside or can I just highlight areas with no other flashes firing?
Wondered if you've got any tips for mimicking sun through windows streaking across floor or furniture if on 3rd floor and can't place lights outside?
As I said intense couple of days & will be going back over it all more than once. ( the sky editing thing still confusing me)
Take care & thanks again.
Louise Paige

Aleksey Zozulya's picture

Just spent all day watching this and playing around with the included PSD... looking forward to trying it myself as soon as I get radio triggers for my flash. otherwise I have all the necessary gear. (admittedly that tilt shift looked great... maybe after a few paid gigs) if i'm just getting started is is better to get "cheaper" PW Plus X or splurge on the Plus III or go all out on mini /flex...

jason passarelli's picture

I would it be possible to share how your iPhone was tethered ? And if jailbreaked maybe a link or how to. Thanks guys love the work

Marla WJ's picture

Thanks for this, Mike! Love your work *and* teaching style (not everyone who's great is also able to impart their knowledge in a clear, easy to understand manner). I'm ready to finally combine my 3 loves - Photography, Architecture & Interior Design - and ready to buy this course! I have two questions: 1) Will I also be able to view this on my iPhone? and 2) Can a pretty novice Photoshop user get started with your Ps techniques? Thanks for your help.
Wishing you continued success!

Simply put. Worth it! Didnt buy a new lens or gadget for this traning DVD. The lessons learnt is highly transferable to landscape photography too. Massive improvement on skills on interior photography, lighting and post production. I have some questions but not sure where the correct forum I can post. Eg. An interior shot of the kitchen where Mike preferred a more tighter shot rather than going wider. That composition had a little of the floor but the frame was mainly covered with chairs, bench, wall, cabinets and ceiling. Mike used an F8 for this. Is F8 enough? and where did he focus? was it 1/3 from the bottom of the frame?

François Guillemin's picture

I just finished the video and I learned tons of things so useful. Thank you!
I was wondering what zoom range you set on your flash when you use it on a stand or when you walk into a room or outside?

Mike Kelley's picture

Hi Francois, thanks for the feedback! When using flash I usually just zoom to the widest for general use and if I need something tighter I put a grid on.


Is there a discount code for this product? I am interested in purchasing it.

Hello Mike, can the Tutorial or DVD be purchased from Europe? Thanking you in advance.

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