Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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.

Sep 29 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder
Project Location: Chicago, Illinois

Everyone’s come across at least one photograph or piece of art that they’ve simply fallen in love with.  You may not always know why that particular landscape or portrait appeals to you so much.  It just does.  Maybe it’s the fact that the eyes of the woman in the picture look so melancholy despite the fact that she’s quite beautiful.  Or maybe it’s just the idea of infinity that you get when you look at the sea which reminds you of all the adventures waiting for you in the world.  Either way, there has to be something about the photograph that catches your eye, something that makes you pause and look at it harder.

Hunters Ridge-Kensington

Emphasizing Uniqueness

These are the kinds of photographs that we’re trying to take for you at Grey Street Studios.  Our aim is not just to produce cookie-cutter architectural photography of different model homes that always looks the same but to create a work of art that demands attention.  In order to do this, we take the unique features of each home, the thing that makes that home eye-catching, striking or distinctive and we emphasize that.

Hunters Ridge-Kensington

Creating a Certain Feel

The thing that makes your model home different from all others might be its location, its design or its interiors.  At Grey Street Studios, we consider both, the exterior and the interior of the home and we come up with architectural photographs that will embed themselves in the viewer’s imagination.  Of course, you want to emphasize the practical aspects of the home—its spaciousness, versatility, appliances etc.  However, you also want to create a picture of how the home will make a person feel.

Contact us for more information on architectural photography that will make your model home stand out from all others.

Sep 25 2014
Article by: Tampa Architectural Photographer Brian Swartzwelder
Project Location: Orlando, Florida

Today’s home builders and real estate companies continue to leverage the power of the web, particularly when it comes to custom home virtual tours. No surprise, in light of the array of tablets and smart devices used to produce the videos.

But therein lies a host of quality issues, particularly when attempting high-end buyers. Contractors, and agents, need to push aside conventional ‘point-and-shoot’ methods. What’s needed is a professional approach to producing Custom High-End Virtual Tours.

Standard Pacific-Bradford Creek-Chesapeake

It’s not a question that virtual tours are helping move properties. In fact, a joint study by Google-National Association of Realtors (NAR) points to the expansive use of the web “in home buying.” The takeaway? Ninety percent of the buyers searched the web throughout the “home buying process.”

But, and as noted on a LinkedIn the virtual tour videos can be a real negative to making the right impressions:

“...Slow download time and lagging video streams can lose otherwise interested prospects. In some cases the property itself forces awkward angles that make filming complicated and viewing uncomfortable. It’s simply true that virtual tours are not a good idea for every property. They are, however, a great idea for some.”

Standard Pacific-Bradford Creek-Chesapeake


Marketing to the high-end buyer requires an understanding of the demographic. For the most, they don’t want to waste time ‘shopping.’ They value well-produced tours that highlight the property’s site location while capturing the home’s exterior and interior features.

Often times, a builder will ask the videographer to focus on the main attributes of the home, be it master bedroom or kitchen. Always, it’s important to showcase the high-end home’s best features and create the ambience necessary to motivate viewers to follow up.

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