Senior Living by Atria

A few weeks ago I spent two long days shooting an assisted living facility operated by Atria Senior Living. They had just completed a major remodel and wanted to create new promotional material.

April Ernst (Marketing Redevelopment Specialist) flew in from Kentucky and we got straight to work. We had already corresponded over a set of scouting photos I made a couple of weeks in advance, and we had a pretty solid plan for the shoot. We wasted no time but got straight to work!

Shots ranged from the relatively simple, like the shot of the “Bistro” above (one light, minimal styling) to the relatively complex, like the shot of the main living room that headlines this post, above. Here’s the un-lit “before” photo:

A lot of furniture got moved for these photos! And, as in the living room shot above, there was a lot of supplemental lighting going on, as well.

Because Atria is pursuing a LEED certification, most of the existing light fixtures were compact fluorescents, which meant that Alan Vance (photo assistant and Gaff Tape Wizard) had a LOT of gelling to do! Ordinarily I prefer to either dim the lights, or just change out the bulbs for 15-watt tungstens, but many of these lights were either specially shaped tubes, or used pin-and-socket fixtures that we couldn’t replace. So, the ND gels were applied in nearly every shot.

Even the can lights are gelled in this shot of the Bistro Kitchen

Here’s a few more before-and-afters:

Main Lobby; Alan gelling the sconce lights

...which allowed us to light the scene to this result

The Salon started about like this...

...and became this.

Pedicure Room, with natural light, and no styling....

...we transformed to this.

With this much going on in every shot, a good team is essential. April handled much of the styling, with input from me when I felt that the camera was “reading” things differently than the eye. And Alan was literally a blur:

When he wasn’t wrestling furniture, schlepping my gear, or (endlessly) gelling lights, he even climbed a tree to pull branches back.

Yeah, I felt kind of guilty about that one.

Here’s a few more from the project. Enjoy!

Overlook Lounge

Overlook Deck (no lights, no gels...and STILL Alan found a use for some Gaffer's Tape!)

Dining Room

While wandering around in the early evening twilight, capturing a few off-the-shot-list exterior details, I ran into Ilene, and her rescue dog Tiffy. She posed for an impromptu portrait, with which I’ll end this post.

8 responses to “Senior Living by Atria

  1. Thanks for the before and after shots. Very good to see. Does your e-book cover how and when you gel lights like in the above shots?

  2. I was also curious about how/when to gel lights. I’ve heard of using gels over the flashes but not the actual light source.

  3. The book touches on gels but not extensively (it’s not something I’d recommend getting into in a big way for real estate photography). Chapter 13 has a few examples of how/when to use gels either correctively, or creatively.

    I’m not sure if you’re asking about gelling light fixtures, or strobes, or both, but here goes:

    Reasons to gel existing light fixtures would be when they’re
    A) too bright, in which case an ND (Neutral Density) gel will cut the light by a fixed number of stops. ND 6, for example, is 1 stop.
    B) wrong color. Some of the older compact fluorescents, for example, can be a horrible sickly green color, in which case a “minus green” (or magenta) gel will correct it back to something approaching daylight. With the added benefit of cutting the output a little, just like an ND would.

    Reasons to gel your strobes (or hotlights) would be
    A) when they’re too bright. The hotlights I was using on this shoot didn’t have dimmers, and in one case I couldn’t back the light up enough to reduce it’s effective power, so I ND-gelled it.
    B) when they’re the wrong color. Again, the hotlights I used on this shoot (Dedolights) are daylight-balanced, and so I had a half or full cut of CTO on them for nearly every shot, otherwise they’d have been way too blue and not blended with my strobes very well.

  4. Thanks Scott. I’m envious. You have Dedolights!! They are terrific.

  5. The blending of ambient and supplemental light is seamless in most of your shots. I would really like to see some setup shots just to see what modifiers besides gels you used. Thanks.

  6. I see. The thought would be to gel a compact fluorescent magenta rather than the lights green because of the ND affect on the lights. You using a color meter?

  7. Craig, you could do it either way, but it’s a lot easier to gel the light source that’s contributing the least to the overall scene, rather than trying to gel everything else to match one little problem light. Perfect example is a kitchen with fluorescent under-cabinet lights – you wouldn’t try to make everything else (strobes, existing window light, ceiling fixtures, etc.) match the undercabinet lights; easier to fix those so they match everything else.

    And no; no color meter. You can eyeball this stuff.

  8. Brett, the modifiers are pretty basic; umbrellas, barn doors, gobos.