Speed of light: Capturing the parade homes for all to enjoy

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Photographer Heather Telford grew up in Provo and now lives in Spanish Fork with her husband and four children.

Before guests trek their way through each Utah Valley Parade of Homes entry, photographer Heather Telford captures them in all their staged-to-perfection glory. Heather has been the official parade photographer for three years.

Because most builders need every last second to finish their home, Heather’s job is done the week prior, or sometimes the opening day of the event. With the homes spread throughout Utah County, she makes sure each one is camera-ready in sequence so she doesn’t have to drive inefficiently back and forth.

Just by looking at the beautiful images of million-dollar homes, Heather’s job seems luxurious. The reality is that she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and races from home to home until she captures the last room.

“This year I literally finished the last home just when the sun was setting,” Heather says. “I hadn’t eaten all day except a Slim Jim in my purse. There is no time to stop or I run out of light.”

Heather uses equipment specific to interiors including prime lenses and full frame cameras. Because she is known for her natural light aesthetic, she is on a race to soak up every ray as she photographs the parade. Afterward, Heather custom edits around 100 images per home and then the images are used to promote the parade on the UVHBA website and social media.

“Heather makes the parade look as beautiful and enjoyable as it actually is,” says parade organizer Amber Hutchings.

Her favorite room to photograph?

“I love kitchens,” Heather says. “I think they are the dreamiest, and because I am a mom to four young kids I live in my kitchen, which makes me more drawn to them.”

The hardest areas to capture are the smaller bathrooms which require lots of ducking and creative maneuvering to get the shot without appearing in the mirror.

Millhaven’s American Fork home, “The Jordanelle,” was Heather’s favorite this year.

“The main floor layout was so open and airy, and I loved the way the decorator used light wood to tie in soft colors,” she says.

If you didn’t get to see the parade in person, Heather’s imagery is the next best thing.

Photos of all 33 homes are available on the Utah Valley Parade of Homes Facebook page.


Take-home Tip

If you want to take beautiful images of your own home, Heather suggests to shoot the areas with the most light flooding in. If you do need to use a flash, she suggests diffusing it to take add softness and give things a more warm, welcoming vibe.

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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