Hold on to your hats for today’s Project of the Week folks! California-based architectural photographer Evan Ramzi has been shooting architecture for less than a year and making the most beautiful work! This particular project — Del Mar Terrace Residence by architect, builder, and interior Designer Shape Build Inc. — was shot on spec and is just so lovely.
Evan has graciously divulged lots of intel about this shoot, his process, and how he gained access to shooting this dreamy home despite having a smaller portfolio at the time. I’ll let him take it away!
Evan kicks things off by sharing how he developed a relationship with his client Shape Build Inc. He explains, “When I first discovered this project, I had been feeling like my current portfolio was not the best representation of the work I was capable of. Much of it was developed in places where I had limited access to/time at the project, and I felt that I was starting to grow at a rapid pace and see architecture in more and more nuanced ways.
A recent mentorship session with Simon Devitt motivated me to be extremely proactive with my work; to develop my business not just through emails and mere chance, but by getting out there and making truly exceptional work and genuine personal connections in the process.
This was the first time the client and I had worked together. I stumbled across the project while scrolling through Zillow and, after doing a little research, I realized that the real estate agent was also the architect, builder, and developer of the property. His practice seemed relatively small and accessible, so I thought approaching him about photographing the home would be a great opportunity for me to make a meaningful connection with a talented individual and could hopefully be a great addition to my portfolio.
After some back-and-forth discussion, we agreed that I would photograph the project on spec, giving the client the freedom to decide whether or not to license the images after the shoot was completed, and enabling me to take full creative control over the images.”
Chock full of gorgeous directional and patterned light, Evan’s compositions are dimensional and show off the geometric forms of the house. His post-processing style is warm and restrained — it compliments this structure perfectly.
“What initially stood out to me was [this home’s] location,” Evan says. “Whenever I see beautiful work outside of the Los Angeles area, my interest is always piqued as it represents an opportunity for me—a photographer at the beginning of his career—to make a connection with a firm that operates in a slightly less saturated market.
Regarding the home itself, I’m really just a sucker for wood! What can I say?
I had the whole place to myself from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and was wonderfully supported (although sometimes with an eye roll) in the modeling and staging department by my girlfriend.”
Thank you, Evan’s girlfriend, for adding the scale and movement to this project that really sets it apart!
Evan tells, “At times, the weather/lighting conditions proved to be both challenging and serendipitous. By the time we arrived, the sun was already directly above the home, where it stayed until around 4-5 p.m. Since the property is surrounded with floor to ceiling windows, this had the effect of really flattening out a lot of the images, something I was not prepared to handle with the limited scrim I had on me.
I ended up using flash to create more shadows but felt underwhelmed with the results due to the lack of honesty that sometimes accompanies leaning heavily into flash frames. I knew I wanted to redo everything once the light started streaming in. By lunchtime, I was feeling a little anxious that I may not come away with images that were as powerful as I had hoped for. For that, I believe you need the cooperation of nature. Sure enough, once the sun got a little bit lower, everything opened up and the light-fueled adrenaline high ensued.”
Low, dreamy light acquired! Evan’s interior photos are plentiful in mood and depth. I appreciate his willingness to let certain areas of the image trend dark instead of blasting the whole room with light. It feels true to life and gives the visual interest that makes these photographs so special.
Evan goes on, “By 6 p.m., I had photographed everything I wanted to on the lower level of the home and was ready to head upstairs, where I suspected the light would start raking through all the windows. I was most excited for this hour of shooting but, against all forecasted predictions, the overcast came and swallowed up the sun for the remainder of the day.
Bummed out, I headed back down to the lower level where my favorite shot of the day was waiting for me to find it. It was something I felt, set up, and shot within a couple of minutes, unsure if it would be worthwhile to me later or not. The sun had been severely muted by a thick layer of cloud cover but was still subtly finding its way through. This caused a very beautiful, understated light to rake through the entirety of the lower living space.”
I love these tighter compositions of the beautiful staircase. Evan’s careful camera placement allows each element to have the necessary space to prevent from overlapping or feeling cluttered, while providing lots of repetition, movement, and shapeliness.
Here we see that warm light Evan was talking about streaming through the upstairs. The patches of highlights are just lovely.
In this quiet scene, Evan conveys time and place with the late golden sun streaming in and across the floor, casting shadows and highlights that add depth to the simple frame.
Heading back outside in the evening, Evan crafts some dreamy twilight shots. The yellow/blue color contrast is wonderful. Nothing feels overexposed or distracting. The colors are perfectly subdued without falling flat. Just awesome!
We’ll wind this down with Evan’s advice to new photographers tasked with shooting a similar project. He shares, “I think the most important advice I could give is to trust yourself. Self-doubt is natural, even for seasoned professionals but especially for newer photographers. By hesitating or failing to trust your inclinations just because you don’t have decades of experience, you only limit the work that you CAN do. Everyone has something to offer. There are plenty of seasoned professionals who are stuck in compositional loops and creative redundancy/burnout.
My background is in music: I’ve experienced the cycle of being new at something and elevating your heroes to a god-like status because of the quality of their work. Then you meet them, or maybe even work with them, and you realize that they are just like you. Many of them struggle with self-doubt and are overly critical of their work. Some of them may not be able to do the things that you can! All of them have learned, however, to embrace what they CAN do and that’s what makes them unique.
So, my advice is to trust yourself and push past self-doubt.”
An enormous thanks to Evan Ramzi for submitting this project to us and sharing so much about the shoot day. You rock Evan!
If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.