Sunday, November 19, 2017
Oct 13 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder
Project Location: Orlando, Orange County, Florida

If you’re an architectural photographer, then you see everything through the lens of your camera.  You can’t help thinking about whether the things you come across in your daily life will make good photographs.  The basics of composition are always with you.  You’re constantly taking photos with your eyes in which you keep trying to create a balanced image.

Balancing Color

This idea of balance is a complex one and can be applied to colors as well as silhouettes.   In terms of color, you create a balanced photo by making sure that no one part of the photo is too heavy in terms of color.  For example, if you were photographing a vibrant sunset but the bottom part of the photo was full of dull colors because the sun was setting over a patch of earth, then you would have a lopsided photo.  But if you were photographing the sun setting over water, then the reflection of the sunset would likely make sure that the bottom part of the photo was also equally vibrant.

Balancing Silhouette

In terms of silhouette, the idea is to make sure that no one part of the photo is too “busy.”  If you’re photographing a living room, for example, you wouldn’t want to push all the furniture over to one side and have the other side be a blank slate.  Even if the colors of the furniture and the colors of the wall are equally vibrant, you’ll still have too much going on on one side of the photo and not the other.

Breaking the Rules of Composition

Sometimes, however, it helps to break the rules in some way.  You can create distinctive photographs which are not completely balanced, which break the rules of symmetry but are beautiful all the same.  The Western aesthetic is to keep everything balanced but the Japanese aesthetic is about asymmetry and fully capturing the beauty of that one thing, whether it’s a great view from a window, a gravel path leading up to a door or a striking piece of vintage furniture. 


Contact us for more information about architectural photography which conforms to and breaks the rules of good composition.

Oct 10 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder
Project: Taylor Morrison- Fiddlers Creek

If someone told you that architectural photography's sole purpose was to ‘tell a story,’ you may have to think a little harder on that one. Or, maybe not.

After all,  when you see the results of a true professional, one who is able to capture the color, the angles and the setting, he has succeeded in creating a form of narrative expressing all the attributes of the home.

Fiddlers Creek-Lazio

And that’s not an easy thing to do: the web is littered with bad house photography; this, because that all-important “narrative” was dismissed as unimportant. Instead, fledgling wannabes---and maybe a few master builders, too!--- grabbed their cell phones, or view-finder snapshot camera, to quickly point-and-shoot in order to get their half-a-million dollar, customized home ‘out there.’


What’s needed before that first ‘click’ happens is an understanding of the home and its site. And, no, the subject may not always be that ‘pretty’ or easy to convey. Problems can, and do, present themselves in even the best designed and constructed homes.

Fiddlers Creek-Lazio

As such, it’s up to the architectural photography to do some ‘problem solving’ in scoping out the exteriors and interiors. No doubt, a priority list will be made before the shutters begin their magic. How can a small bathroom, for example, still draw the viewer into it? Can an interior shot utilize the outside landscaping to create the right ambience, even though the house sits on a small lot?

Finding the right architectural photographer means finding comfort with their portfolio of residential spaces. Generally, their work shows they are excellent communicators and well-versed in setting the right shutter speeds, F-stops, lens selections and all of their other quirky techniques necessary to create that Narrative.

Fiddlers Creek-Lazio

Contact us. Discover how our ‘practiced eye’ can move your  commercial construction project, or residential home, into the realm of showcase properties.

Oct 07 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder
Project: Ryland Homes, tampa, Florida

Sometimes, people think that architectural photography is bound to be dull or dry because it doesn’t contain any human subjects.  You’re just photographing an empty home.  So it’s bound to look, well, empty.  However, this is completely untrue because there are many examples of things that are inanimate but which come alive within a photograph or a painting.  There’s a long tradition of painting still lifes and landscapes, none of which are necessarily alive.  Still, there are still lifes and landscapes which are full of life.

Ryland Homes- Shetland Ridge

Imagining the People Who Live in the Home

Architectural photography can also be full of life.  This happens when you consider the model home as something that has been built by and for human beings.  It’s a structure which has been lovingly constructed so that people will be able to make it their home.  To make an architectural photo come alive, you have to imagine that people actually live in that home.  Maybe they just stepped away for a minute but will be right back.  And you’re just taking a photo in their absence.

While doing so, you can see exactly how that living room is a really comfy place for friends and family to hang out.  Maybe you can picture them sitting back in those chairs and warming themselves by the fireplace.  Does one of them have a cup of coffee on the table?  Are kids sprawled out on the floor with their coloring books and building blocks?  Until and unless you can actually see the family that lives in the home and imagine their dreams and aspirations, you might have trouble making your architectural photos come alive.

Ryland Homes- Shetland Ridge

Capturing Intention in Photos

At Grey Street Studios, we don’t just specialize in photographing architecture but also people.  The people may not actually be in the photographs but their presence is felt throughout.  This is why our photos appeal to people who are looking to buy a home.  A photo doesn’t just capture a place but also the intention behind the photographer’s actions.  

Ryland Homes- Shetland Ridge

Contact us for architectural photographs that will present your model home as an ideal place to live.

Oct 02 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder

If you are in new home sales you know how important the ‘big picture’ is to your prospects when selling your community. Guiding your clients through a beautifully decorated model home allows you to show- off the quality construction of the builder and elegant features and appointments that are included in the home. However, your buyers also want to know about the community and surrounding areas. The amenities, shopping options, restaurants, walking trails, club house, local golf courses, etc. are HUGE selling points, yet can be challenging to showcase. Many builders have come to utilize and rely on Aerial Photography to provide these images, however, if you want to really impress and provide your customers with the most accurate information, consider giving them the ‘Peter Pan’ experience…..Aerial Videography! 

Have you ever dreamed that you were flying? One moment you're safe on the ground and in an instant you’re soaring above the earth looking down at all the places and spaces you love... you know, like Peter Pan. That's the experience your clients will have with aerial videography!


A Helicopter Ride with a Twist

Aerial videography is the most advanced, effective and unique marketing tool available today to deliver that experience to your buyers. It allows them to literally experience the community from high above the ground! They will soar over the community and the surrounding areas to get a feel of the ‘lifestyle’ that YOU can provide them! If you’ve ever been on the Soarin’ ride at Disney World’s Epcot Center, you know how magical and breath taking it is to view the world from high above.

Generally helicopters have always been the standard for basic aerial photography. They allow a photographer to showcase an architectural showplace from a skybound view. A helicopter can rise high enough to photograph the lay of the land; but its lowest legal elevation might be too high to capture the fine details you want to showcase. Fortunately technological advances have vastly improved this aerial photography tradition and aerial videography is the wave of the future!


How does it work?

Aerial videography uses a remote controlled flying quad-copter, which is similar to a helicopter, only smaller, more advanced and less expensive to use. The quad-copter can dip, dive, maneuver, and soar like a traditional helicopter, but with its smaller size and mounted camera it can ease in low and close to capture images at a much closer range. Yet is still versatile enough to capture landscaping, natural surroundings, architectural elements, or a sweeping fantasy panorama.

The Photographer uses a Video Monitor to view exactly what the copter mounted camera is seeing in real time in order to find and frame the perfect shot. 

The Reserves at Alafaya

This method of Aerial Photography offers many unique advantages over traditional aerial photography to the New Homes Sales and Master Planned Community Development market.  Firstly, it is more cost effective than chartering a full sized helicopter.  Secondly, and more importantly, a helicopter cannot fly below 300-500 ft without risking safety and violating law, thus you end up with photography of a bunch of rooftops which isn't too appealing to the eye.  Just a little height makes a huge difference in a viewer’s perspective.  With the Copter Camera all footage can be captured from 20-200 feet off the ground giving much more of a birds-eye-view rather than the straight down view a helicopter or airplane. 

The still images are a great marketing tool to showcase the features, lakes, preserves and streetscapes your community has to offer.  The video captured is even more advanced providing the feeling of a bird flying through your community viewing each feature and amenity you have to offer a new homeowner!


Orchard Hills


The photographer remains in control, yet even that is somewhat of a high tech fantasy. He operates the remote controlled quad-copter from the ground, sending it to the perfect spot for the photos and video you want. The results are amazing—an extremely close range view, courtesy of a keen artistic eye with a technological spin. In other words, a bird’s eye view with a Peter Pan twist!

You may never be able to fly like Peter Pan, but when you view aerial footage of your favorite places on earth, it will certainly feel like a flying fantasy brought to life.

Grey Street Studios, Inc. Offers Low-Flying Aerial Photography and Video Services!

For more information on this amazing technology, contact Brian Swartzwelder at          727-STORIES (786-7437) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.