Thomas Grubba: Real Estate Photographer of the Month

February 6th, 2008

As I described in an earlier post, once a month I’m going to choose a real estate photographer of the month from the PFRE real estate photographer directory. My criteria for selecting will be the photographers work, the way the work is presented on their website and their participation in PFRE and the PFRE flickr group. This month I’ve selected Thomas Grubba of Oakland, CA.I think Thomas stands out in all the selection categories. I can always recognize Thomas’s images with their distinctive delicately, smooth lighting style when he posts in the flickr photo discussion group. His web site is a wonderful collection of beautifully presented images and if you frequent the flickr group you will see Thomas’s helpful advice all over.Thomas works with a pair of Nikon D2X bodies, a Nikon 12-24mm, a 18-200VR and up to 10 SB-800s. He says he only needs to go above 5 strobes for those difficult to light view properties. Thomas says that he carries 6 pocket wizards for backup but currently is exclusively using the SU-4 optical slave mode on the SB-800s for triggering.Thomas says:

I feel extremely fortunate about how I started in this business. My career as a real estate photographer started as a fluke or unknowingly being in the right room at the right time. I started doing photography in 1989 and graduated from a technical photography program in Michigan (similar to the program at Brook’s Institute) in 1992. I then moved to Tucson, AZ where I assisted almost every photographer in the city for 6 yrs. There came a point where I was tired of capturing my life and wanted to live it, so I sold my photography equipment and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 to pursue another path in life. Fast forward to 2005, the husband of someone I was working for who happens to be a Real Estate agent was reading a photography book at lunch. I mentioned that in a former life I was a photographer and if he needed any tips on photography I would be happy to help him out. That went from me teaching him the basics about photography, to me shooting some listing for him, to me being hired at the primary photographer for one of the biggest RE companies in the SF Bay Area. That was 3 ½ years ago and I have yet too look back…”I have worked for some very well known architects and designers in the area which came about through my real estate connections, but it doesn’t happen all that often. I like shooting for architects and designers though because I have a lot more time to create the images I want and can spend more time in post processing.”

Thanks Thomas for the background interview and all your participation in the PFRE flickr group.

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6 Responses to “Thomas Grubba: Real Estate Photographer of the Month”

  • Thomas,

    Great work!!! Nice website also.

    I do have one comment, if you will. On your website where there are two vertical images next to each other, I would place a thin grey (to go with your site) between the two vertical images for clarity and composition. When I saw the first image that was that way, I was confused. When I saw that there were actually two images, it was still difficult for me to look at the images separately and fully appreciate them individually.


  • Congratulations Thomas!
    Great site and even better work! Inspiring.

  • Thanks Gar, I do need to restructure the detail page. It looks really confusing to me as well.

    Thanks Greg!


  • Absolutely stunning images.

  • Terrific work. I wonder if I could persuade Thomas to move to Santa Fe.

  • I love Santa Fe, do you have enough work there?? 🙂


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