Tag Archives: District 1

I make a really really big photo

Due to my work as a contract photographer for airbnb, I get access to property all over the city. Taking advantage of this access, I take a few frames after the shoot if they have a wide view of the city. Once I get home, I stitch them together for really wide views of the skyline.

Here is one of Binh Thanh district from District 2’s Thao Dien Ward.

Taken from 15 floors

Taken from 15 floors

This one is from Bui Vien, the famous backpacker street in the Pham Ngu Lao area.

Taken from 13 floors

Taken from 13 floors

I usually shoot these images at around 20mm to 40mm focal length which doesn’t make for large images. The most they run is 15,000 pixels on the long side at most.

Which takes me to the most recent attempt. I read about the Brenizer method in portraiture  and thought I could easily do that for the panoramics that I have been shooting.

Boy was I wrong.

Luckily, I had an airbnb shoot at the Copac Building in D4 a few days ago. I had shot in the building before and knew that it had a stunning northern view of District 1 and Thu Thiem, which is where the city has grand plans to build the new CBD. After the shoot, the host was gracious enough to let me shoot a total of 42 frames from her bedroom window. However, I decided to up the game a bit and shoot everything at 100mm at f/16 which gave tons of depth of field and let me get some serious details in each image.

Once I uploaded them, I brought them up in Lightroom and went to the Photomerge tool (Photo ->Photo Merge -> Panorama) and let the computer do it’s magic slog through the images. An hour later, I was presented with a rather cool stitched image.

Lots of white all around

Lots of white all around

Then I looked at the dimensions.

40,000 X 6000 pixels.


Easily the largest one I’ve done so far. And handheld. No panorama head at work here!

Adjustments in Lightroom, an export to TIFF and some light NIK adjustments, some Content Aware and a final crop took another 4 hours.

Here is the whole image reduced to a reasonable size.


And here is a 100% crop from the image. You can see the black box where I cropped it.

Talk about some serious detail.

Interested in some stupidly huge photos? Check out this link.


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airbnb property in District 2

I am a huge fan of airbnb. My wife and I constantly use it whenever we head out of Ho Chi Minh City as we love the homely feel of airbnb properties. In all honesty, it comes down to this: I like waking up and drinking my morning coffee without the rigamarole of getting dressed.

The service is also one of my regular clients. I’ve worked as one of their verified photographers in Ho Chi Minh City for the past few months. What that means is that once I take photos of a property, it becomes ‘verified’.

For a guest looking to book a place, it gives them the assurance of what they see is what they get as it is airbnb approved. For the host, it ensures that their property is documented by a vetted professional photographer which, according to airbnb, can mean up to 2.5 times more bookings. And, it’s free to the host.

For me, I get a nice steady gig of a few properties a month along with a chance to check out some places in town I can recommend for friends heading my way. I also enjoy meeting the hosts who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Each property has its own personality and I enjoy the challenge of being able to represent them in photos. For instance, a recent place in District 1 on Tran Quang Khai street. While located in a block style apartment complex, the apartment definitely has a personality of its own.

The living space for Cuongs pad

The living space for Tylers pad

The living space has a couple of repurposed colonial window shutters that serve as the base for the coffee table and work table. I love the cushions that dot the seats.

Old furniture

Old furniture

I also love the old furniture. As a plus, he has given me the address to the warehouse where he bought the stuff!

airbnb property for Tyler

The guest bedroom

airbnb property for Tyler

The master bedroom

Both bedrooms are nice and airy with huge windows bringing in tons of natural light which is great for a photographer. Once again, tons of those lovely cushions that I really love.

What’s also nice about working with airbnb is that they want a natural look to the photos. While I still did some post in photoshop, it’s pretty much what it looked like in camera.

If you are interested in staying at Tylers place, you can click here. You can also stay in each individual bedroom and still use the great living area by clicking here and here.


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