This months PFRE photographer of the month contest had a photo that really captured my interest. The photo was by Jonas Berg of Gothenburg, Sweden. Click on the photo to the right to see a large version of Jonas' contest submission.
What caught my interest about this image was how uplifting the light in the room was. At first glance you might think the windows are blown-out but as you look carefully, they aren't. Rather the highlights are carefully placed at the upper-end of the brightness scale. The whole wall of windows is radiant and that feeling extends to the rest of the room.
Another interesting aspect of the photo is that at first impression you might think that the reflection of the electrical cords in the oven door was an oversight by the photographer. A comment in the contest flickr group suggested that the cords should be cloned out. But if you look at the whole set of photos for this apartment you see that the bare electrical cord/exposed light bulb look is a subtle interior design theme that comes out of the fact that this is an apartment built in the early 1900's that has been remodeled so electrical fixtures don't look like they would if this were a apartment built in 2015.
After learning all the of above from the discussion in the contest flickr group I decided to get more information from Jonas on his style and technique. I asked Jonas about his equipment, workflow and style. Here are some of his answers:
I use a Phase One DF+ camera with an IQ260 back. I previously had a P25+ back but switched up for about 1.5 years ago and I have not regretted it for a second. When it comes RE photo shoots I often use Sensor+ mode and then get 1/4 as many pixels, ie 15 MP and It’s enough and actually feels better than P25 with 22 MP. I also get with Sensor+ a base ISO of 200 and a touch more tonal range.
I have a lot of fixed lenses 28, 35, 45, 55, 80, 120, 200. The widest I normally use is 35mm but if I have the opportunity to back off a bit I rather choose 45mm which is my favorite lense. 80 and 120 for details. I also have an old 50mm shift lens that I use on exterior photos. If I need to shift indoors I usually use a wider lens and crop in post because I think it works well and goes a little faster. A 35mm lens on my camera is approximately equal to 22mm on a fullframe 35mm camera but because the ratio is 4:3 against 3:2 the wide angle experience is not as strong.
I use CaptureOne as a RAW converter and in most cases, images are completely done there. I use Photoshop when I need to do pixel re-touching or in rare cases have to blend multiple exposures.
In Sweden the (high-end) real estate photos differ a lot from what I see in most other countries. We use less artificial light and don't do so much HDR and stuff like that. Maybe because we are short of daylight for long periods of the year and want everything to look natural. This reflects in interior magazines as well.
I work almost exclusively in central Gothenburg (Sweden's second largest city) and most of the buildings are from 1850-1965. For obvious reasons, it is also almost exclusively apartments and very few houses. Most apartments are also quite small, one, two or three bedroom apartments.
I think there's something you could call Scandinavian (or nordic) light . If you look in the Scandinavian interior magazines, you often see this type of images, often completely natural daylight. I think it has to do with that we have many famous architects and furniture designers who have had great influence on how we are decorating our homes. Light wood, bright, muted colors, etc. Of course, we also have a very special light this far north and Gothenburg is quite famous for it's raining and is gray many days a year (known as little London).
In addition to real estate photography I do some magazine work and some commercial jobs, most interior photo. I also do some architectural photography and I would gladly do more if only I had a little more time.
I have to say that I'm a new fan of this Scandinavian or Nordic light look! Thanks Jonas for showing us your work and sharing the Scandinavian style with the rest of the world!