Feeling Grateful

I woke up this morning to an email from an owner of the home we recently shoot at:

"Hi Aga

Thank you so much for sending me and my wife these beautiful pictures of our kitchen and family room. They are amazing.

You and your team did an outstanding job.

We really look forward to seeing these photographs also as prints and possibly in a magazine or two.

Thank You again.

Sincerely, Stan."

That just made my day! My pleasure, Stan:-)

Marketing for Architects AIA panel discussion

Next Wednesday, May 17th, AIA SF hosts panel discussion event "Marketing for Architects and the Future of Architectural Photography". As the AIA website describes, the panel "will explore the role that architectural photography currently plays in the dissemination and promotion of architects' works."

"Traditionally, highly specialized formal architectural photography was the preeminent means by which architects displayed and promoted their finished projects, typically disseminated through print periodicals and books specializing in the presentation of the built environment. However, with drastic changes in technology resulting in improvements in computer-generated renderings, the increasing importance of the Internet, and major changes in the publishing industry, the role that formal architectural photography has played has been changing; and it is the goal of this discussion to explore these changes and to help architects gain a better understanding of how they can use photography for their marketing, as well as to assist architectural photographers to gain a better understanding of architects’ needs in the current economic and technological environment."

The panelists are a diverse group consisting of representatives from architectural firms and the publishing industry. To see panelist bios and to register, visit the event page: http://www.aiasf.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=962034&group=

Social hour starts at 6pm and yes, you will likely find me by that wine table:-) Hope to see you there!

Cuban Connection

Not really a news but I wanted to share this. It made my heart sing!

During my visit in Havana back in January I stayed at a private house. I became friends with our gracious host, Magali, who prepared our breakfast every morning. She noticed I carry a nice camera and towards the end of my stay asked me to take some pictures of her place to promote it on Airbnb. I do not think she was aware I do architectural photography professionally! My Spanish is limited to asking for directions and ordering a beer and her English was not much better either lol!

In either case - I thought it would be a really nice "thank you" gift for her hospitality and I took few images of the apartment.  Nothing fancy - just an ambient light as I was on vacation and traveled light. After receiving the pictures she sent me this email:

"Qué lindas, qué lindas, qué lindas  están las fotos!  No sé si alguien que reserve por ellas se arrepienta cuando llegue a casa, parece otra.   Son bellas.  Yo las miro y vuelvo a mirarlas y me parecen una obra de arte.  Creo que lo son…"

Translation (thanks to AHL): "I love them, I love them I love those pictures! I am afraid that when someone make a reservation for the room based on the pictures would be disappointed when they arrive here, the house looks like a different place. Amazing pictures,  I see them once and again, each of them a masterpiece,  I really think  they are..."

It absolutely made my day! To make someone so happy with my photography is all I can ask for.

Casa Magali

Best of Houzz

I came back home last night from a photography trip of Cuba to a wonderful surprise: I was awarded a 2017 "Best of Houzz" badge in Customer Service category! I could not have been more pleased. Equally next to delivering high quality work, customer service is my top priority and I am thrilled my efforts were recognized. Thank you to all my customers for wonderful reviews and to the Houzz team for the award!

IDG meeting

Big "thank you" to Carol Woodard of Interior Designers Guild (IDG) who invited me to their meeting in Santa Clara today! It was lovely to meet everyone.

I had an opportunity to introduce myself to IDG members and give a little talk on what to look for when hiring an architectural photographer and how to successfully collaborate with one. Hopefully gave my listeners some valuable tips on the subject:-)

 

NARI Meta Gala

Congratulations to all 2016 Meta award winners! With the record number of entries this year the competition was really serious.

Meta Gala was held at Palo Alto Sheraton on December 14th - a fun evening of celebration.

I am extremely excited for my customers, Studio K Kitchens and Designs and Timeline Design, winners in several categories!. It was extremely thrilling whenever my images would come up on the screen with winning entries! I hope to have even more of those next year!

Excellence in design

I have to apologize because this news bit is long overdue: Congratulations to Kristen Totah of Studio K Kitchens and Design, winner of 2016 Design Excellence awards (that's plural).

A project I photographed jointly for her and EBCON Corporation, won Kristen Gold in RESIDENTIAL category - both for Single Family Residence under 3000sf, AND for Kitchen. I could not be more excited for her!

Chopped winning team!

As announced ASID vs. NARI Chopped challenge took place last night, that is Wednesday November 9, in Monark showroom in San Jose.

With most delight want to report that NARI team composed of Charles Simms, Joan Slaughterback, Mike Judas and myself, won the trophy and crashed ASID team! Ok, ok... maybe not crashed.... they set the bar really high and their dish presentation (as worthy of designers) was beautiful. But in the end panel of judges decided that the trophy should go to NARI team!

Yeyyyy!!!!!

They mentioned that seafood was cooked "just perfectly" - and I am still gloating over the compliment as I was in charge of searing the scallops and shrimps. But I think what ultimately brought it home was the desert - berry turnover with whipped cream - prepared lovingly by Mike.

The whole evening was really fun with lots of great people and great food and I am sure there will be more joined NARI/ASID events. In the mean time looking forward to December NARI Holiday Gala! Hope to see you all there!

Getting ready for the Challenge

Getting ready for the Challenge

Joan and Mike planning the strategy

Joan and Mike planning the strategy

The NARI team. From the left: Charles, Joan, me and Mike

The NARI team. From the left: Charles, Joan, me and Mike

We mean serious BUSINESS!

We mean serious BUSINESS!

In the heat of the action!

In the heat of the action!

Final touches

Final touches

Results...

Results...

Joy of winning.

Joy of winning.

Trophy.

Trophy.

ASID vs. NARI Chopped Challenge

It's official: I am one of the chefs in an upcoming ASID vs. NARI Chopped Cooking Challenge! My participation has been announced publicly and there is no going back now...

I am one of four chefs on NARI team and we will need all support and cheers we can get!

Come and see me cook myself silly on November 9th, 5pm, at the beautiful Monark showroom in Santa Clara. It shapes to be a really fun evening!

Shoot anatomy - my version

Why does it take an hour to shoot a single image?
1. Finding the right angle (I prefer to do my homework ahead of time: scouting the location and review all the images on a large screen to find the best take before the actual shoot)
2. Nailing just perfect composition (fine-tuning the camera position and the exact view - those tweaks can take time but its essential. Best lit image will suffer if the composition is not just right!)
3. Styling - I am often sick of fluffing pillows and rearranging the chairs. Always the chairs... God bless my assistant for lifting the heavy furniture - but even the little stuff can be a pain - the flowers, the soap dish... It all matters.
4. Lights - an art on its own. If you are true to it, blasting the space with few strobes is a no-no. Read the space, apply the right tool... And make it perfect.
5. Did I mentioned packing, unpacking and moving all my equipment between the shots? Again - god bless you Aldrin:-)

And that's just the shoot. Post-processing is another beast altogether.
Why I do it all? Because I love it. And I love the results :-) Nothing more satisfying than a gorgeous end image.

Illustration - one more example of before and after - deceptively simple image from a shoot I did yesterday of a Woodside, CA, residence (sauna built by TB Construction): a scouting shot and a final image.

Look to Luxe Magazine, Nov edition!

I just found out the most exciting news: A work I have photographed for Studio K Kitchens and Design (design) and EBCON Corporation (construction) will be featured in Nov/Dec issue of the Luxe Magazine, San Francisco edition! This is absolutely thrilling for all involved! Congratulations to Kristen from Studio K and Erik from EBCON on this achievement. I am happy and grateful for being part of your team!