Homestaging: Is it really necessary?

I’ve always wanted to do a before and after blog post of an empty unit vs a staged unit but 90% of the time, the unit is already staged or fixed up when we’re called since the client doesn’t want to have to pay twice for photos. Recently, i was fortunate enough to be able to do this and i’m glad i am able to visually show you the difference. There are so many units for sale in Vancouver that as a photographer, our job is to best represent the unit to prospective buyers. Unfortunately not everyone is gifted in seeing an empty unit and being able to visualize it as a livable home. This is where a stager comes in handy to help future buyers visualize if the unit is a good match for themselves. They’re also there to show you possible scenarios on how the unit’s space can be maximized whether it’s using all 3 bedrooms as bedrooms or converting one of them to a office/personal space/exercise room/children’s playroom/storage. As you scroll down the photos, you can judge for yourself whether the staging was an added value or not.

Unit for sale: 101 22nd street, West Vancouver

Realtor: Franco Diligenti and Sarah Cabianca

Home stager: Sharon Biro of SmartSell Staging




_MG_9971-HDR-Edit _MG_9980-HDR-Edit_MG_9989-HDR-Edit


101-West-22nd-05-Web 101-West-22nd-04-MLS


_MG_0001-HDR-2-Edit_MG_0026-HDR-Edit_MG_0035-HDR-Edit_MG_0011-HDR-EditBEFORE: PATIO

101-West-22nd-07-WebAFTER: PATIO



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Boundary Bay living

Beach season is upon us and one of my favourite residential areas to photograph during this season is in Boundary Bay. Aside from being located by the beach (Centennial beach), this community is unique on its own because all the houses are quaintly distinct from one another. I’ve been going back here a few times for the past month to photograph a few of the houses for LivingSpaceImaging and the house that i’m featuring on this post is unique because of how the owner was able to maximize the size of the property. It’s actually one of the smaller houses i’ve photographed in terms of square footage but because of the layout and open concept (which i am a huge fan of), it makes the property seem bigger than it is. Take away the fireplace and i can also imagine this house somewhere in the Philippines or in Asia.

244-66A-St-15-Web244-66A-St-16-Web244-66A-St-02-Web244-66A-St-12-Web244-66A-St-11-Web 244-66A-St-09-Web244-66A-St-18-Web 244-66A-St-06-Web 244-66A-St-03-Web244-66A-St-13-Web244-66A-St-20-Web



Client: Christina Watts

Address: 244 66A street Delta, BC


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A feel of downtown living in South Granville

The apartment i photographed last week for LivingSpaceImaging was 4 months in the making. The seller, who also happens to be a contractor, turned an old apartment into a modern showroom worthy downtown apartment. Too bad i don’t have photographs of the unit before the renovation so that the stark contrast of the before and after can be seen. The unit is located in 1405 West 12th in Vancouver and if you search the address, photos of a moderate looking building will come out – it’s not old and falling apart but it’s not also modern with glass windows throughout the building. You can just imagine what the original units must have looked like with just seeing the exterior of the building. As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” because this 2 bedroom apartment is definitely a gem in this building. Not only that but being in the 12th floor has its advantage since from the unit you can see a 180 degree view of Downtown up to West Vancouver.


Client: Shane Gray

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A cozy entertainment pad in Downtown Vancouver

The listings that i get excited about are the ones that seem like they were taken out of Pinterest or interior design magazines, and I am happy to share that this is what i exactly photographed last week for LivingSpaceImaging. Prior to meeting the owner, I had a small chat with the realtor (Chris Burns) who reiterated that he wanted to have as many photos of the unit as much as possible to properly represent it. It is a 1 bedroom apartment and typically around 10 photos will suffice to capture the entire space but he wanted double the amount and at the back of my mind, I was about to push that maybe 10 would be enough already or else he’ll just be receiving double images of the same angle of the apartment.

Once we stepped into the apartment, that initial thought disappeared because this little space had so much character that i could have probably stayed for another hour, just appreciating the amount of work and detail that was put into this living space. What’s also surprising is that the owner of the unit who has lived in it for 3 years is not a professional interior designer. I was able to chat with her a bit and she explained that she designed the unit in such a way because “she loves to entertain and have guests over”. This was also her testing ground if there was money for her to earn in flipping apartments or houses. I have no doubt that this unit will sell quickly and that she can make this hobby of hers a career. Oh and aside from the wonderful interiors of the unit, this apartment is located in 1189 Melville which even makes it more appealing since it’s situated in the Coal Harbour area of Downtown Vancouver.



Client: Chris Burns



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Recreating an ad

Just wrapped up a Business Management course i took at Langara College and our final assignment was to recreate a commercial advertisement. Here’s a short description of the advertisement that i chose to recreate.

Crime stoppers Creative: One in a series of ads and posters where the face of the subject would be partially obscured but the covering (in this case Hoodie) has become semi transparent to reveal the face and identity of the person. The images are very deep and moody with detail, monochromatic in gray tones . Lighting is crucial to the mood of the image. Photoshop work needs to be seamless and invisible. Background is out of focus. Talent is in late twenties/ early 30s Male and should look like he has something to hide. Character look OK but needs to look realistic. Boxer or fighter

A big THANK YOU to my model – Iain Marshall. 🙂

Here’s the sketch or visual of the ad

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 2.15.11 PM


Here’s my take on recreating the ad

BM Crimestoppers Isabella Sarmiento resize copy

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Skies painted with unnumbered sparks

It’s TED fever in Vancouver this week and although I do not follow the conference like other people do, I do try to keep myself updated with any art installation that they showcase in the city especially if it’s done outdoors. Having said this, I learned about Janet Echelman’s artwork when it was announced months ago that she will be installing her latest work – Skies painted with unnumbered sparks,  during the Vancouver TED conference which runs from March 17-21, 2014.

After researching more about her background and artwork, I was intrigued and told myself that I just had to make time to see this in person. Aside from that I wanted to see if all the hype would live up to the finished product. There were 2 things that intrigued me the most. 1) Its size – it’s 745 ft wide and suspended on air – particularly for this one, it is sandwiched in between the Vancouver Convention Centre and Fairmont Hotel. 2) Supposedly there was an interactive component to it wherein viewers can control the light being projected through their smart phones. And so i went with a friend, and braved the cold weather. The photos i took pretty much speaks for what I saw and experienced so to all my Vancouver friends, if you have the time, do try and check her artwork within the week since they take it down on March 22, 2014.

For more information about Janet Echelman and her artwork, you can read all about it on her website –

Janet Echelman 1 lowres Janet Echelman 2 lowres Janet Echelman 3 lowres Janet Echelman 4 lowresJanet Echelman 5 lowresAnd of course, we couldn’t help ourselves – we just had to have a selfie with it.

Janet Echelman 8 lowres

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Raffles Residences

Another throwback post to one of my work + play moments back in 2013. This occurred around the 2nd quarter of 2013 during my Australasia vacation and while I was in Manila I was hired to do a photo + video of 3 units being sold in the Raffles Residences Makati.

It was also my first time to step foot at the residential hotel since prior to 2013, the hotel wasn’t built yet. If you search the company website, words such as “luxury living” will constantly pop out. What will probably stand out for me from this hotel (aside from the impressive facilities) would be their friendliness and service. I would probably put them at par with the Shangri-la Resorts. I remember being asked 4 – 5 times if i needed help carrying my camera bag. I refused each time just because it would just be easier for me to carry my gear around since I am more efficient that way.

Location. Location. Location. Despite not having a balcony which i’ve started to become accustomed to ever since moving to Vancouver. One of the prime selling points of the Raffles Residences Makati would be its location and the convenience that comes with it. It’s similar to the Oakwood where the mall and all your daily necessities (and even more) can be found within a block’s radius. And since the units are fully furnished, all any buyer, guest or tenant would have to do is transfer their clothes and personal items – they won’t even have to transfer any kitchen equipment because these come with the unit. Lastly, the unit was furnished to reflect the Raffles lifestyle so expect a contemporary, modern yet homey feel.


For Sale: Unit 1711 Raffles Residences and Unit 1916 & 1917 Raffles Residences

Client: Vince Garcia / 

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Farewell to Le Gavroche

Here’s a throwback photo shoot to a few months ago for Le Gavroche. Such a shame that the restaurant closed down after just celebrating it’s 35th year last year. Chef Rob was also doing a fantastic job revitalizing the menu and turning it into a modern gastronomic French restaurant. Oh well, things change and hopefully we’ll get to see another restaurant by Chef Rob and General Manager Davina in the future.

Le Gavroche 5 Le Gavroche 7Le Gavroche 1 Le Gavroche 3

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A pleasant surprise

Once in awhile i come across listings where despite the outside appearance of the building, you’ll be pleasantly surprised on what you see in the inside. This is exactly how i felt when i photographed a 3 bed room apartment located at 1558 Harwood, Vancouver for Living Space Imaging. I even told the realtor, “Wow, this place looks like it should be in Kitsilano.” and he agreed. Another plus side to this suite is that it has a view of English Bay and is just a block away from the beach.


301-1558-Harwood-20-PrintClient: Jamie MacDougall

Post process: Darren Sutherland

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Spring forward

The 1st quarter of 2014 is almost done and we’ve officially switched to +1 hour in our clocks. This change also signifies a pick up in real estate photography.

Here’s a few photos of a 2 bedroom apartment situated in 1925 Alberni, Vancouver which i photographed for Living Space Imaging. The apartment was just empty when i photographed it but that didn’t matter because the hero of this listing was the 180 degree view of Stanley Park from English Bay to West Georgia.

1801-1925-Alberni-01-Web 1801-1925-Alberni-11-Web 1801-1925-Alberni-10-Web1801-1925-Alberni-06-Web1801-1925-Alberni-09-Web1801-1925-Alberni-04-Web1801-1925-Alberni-08-Web1801-1925-Alberni-05-Web1801-1925-Alberni-St-03-Web

Client: Tom Davis

Post process: Darren Sutherland

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