ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Hurston Family, Cocoa Fl

This is going to be a long post with lots of images. Hey it’s not every day I get to shoot for a national television show!

Hmmm not sure where to begin with this one! I have been excited to share these with you but had to wait until the show aired and then well, I’ve just been busy with the workshop last weekend! I had heard on facebook about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition coming to Brevard.  I heard people could volunteer to offer their services.  I thought about checking into it but I had an ordering session the next day to prepare for and I forgot about it.  After my clients left the studio the following day, I checked my missed calls and had a message from a designer on the show!  She said that she had found my website online and was hoping I could be the family photographer for this episode!  Needless to say I was hoping the offer was still open as I was calling her back an hour after she left the message.  She gave me all the details, explaining that I would be working with the family on the first day,  after they received the big announcement about being chosen.  The Hurston’s would only be around for that one day before they would be sent off on vacation so I was warned it would be hectic and that I would have very little time with them before film crews stole them away.  Of course my next thoughts were “Where will I be shooting?” and “What time of day?”  Those of you who have worked with me know I’m picky about light!  As it turned out, I would be meeting them during their lunch (high noon sun, not good) and finding whatever location I could find within short walking distance!  Where would they be having lunch? In a neighbors house… somewhere… around their home… probably.  I kept picturing most Florida neighborhoods in my head, and wondering where we would ever find a good location with some shade in the middle of the day.  I was excited for this incredible opportunity and felt truly challenged (in a good, survivor-like way) by it’s limitations.

I asked my new assistant Kristi Webb to come with me (btw her blog entry/formal introduction is coming soon – she is way more than an assistant.)  She couldn’t make it so I asked her sister Wendi, one of my close friends.  Figured I’d keep it in the family.  Wendi and I headed out to Cocoa; I was so anxious to see where I would be shooting and calm my location-anxiety.  After we arrived we started scouting locations but found out that there was no firm idea where the Hurston’s would be having lunch (which neighbors house.) So, we just took our best guess, found a backyard that worked and had some beautiful light and tree cover (Thank God Cocoa has much more than just palm trees!)  The Hurston’s arrived and we were given their location. Yep, not anywhere near our favorite backyard.  It’s okay though, because that would just be too easy and this was my big challenge right?  So Heather, the designer who was working with me and was fabulous to work with, walked us over to the neighbors house around the corner and we met the Hurstons.  Of course what a sweet family- I mean you did watch the show right?  When I watched it with my family my husband was like, “Hey I know that guy!”  Mr. Hurston had spoken at the men’s lunch Dana goes to.

After the introductions we had to get right to shooting as time was scarce.  We headed outside into this neighbors yard and made it work.  Really I felt so relieved with the tree cover and the light filtering in. I won’t go into all the shooting details as I’m sure that would bore you but to make a long story short, my “small amount of time” was cut even shorter due to the schedule running a bit behind.  I had hardly any time with the family together and Mr. and Mrs. Hurston specifically.  After they got taken from me though, I was able to wait around and borrow the kids again later on.  I wish I had more time with the family, time to catch those more candid moments we all love, but I was very happy with all the results given my limitations!  I felt like I had conquered the challenge and I felt extremely honored to have been given the opportunity!! Big thanks to ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Sundays 8pm EST) and the Hurston family!

After our day was done, Wendi and I headed back.  I had to prepare the images right away for an online gallery much like my regular clients use. The design team then chose all their favorites and ordered tons of them. All different sizes, black and white plus color versions of EVERYTHING.  Then I spent a day retouching and preparing these images for print, sent the order over and the lab had them shipping back out to me the next day. My lab was generous enough to donate all the prints, totaling nearly $1000. I was literally walking out the door getting the car ready to leave when my Fedex guy pulled up and helped me load the big box into the van.  I delivered everything to Cocoa for the designers to frame for the home and bedrooms.  Obviously they would have lots of leftovers (which I hope the family got to keep) but they had to order extra since they wouldn’t know for sure what would work in the house until the day before the “Move That Bus” moment. I was supposed to come back after the house was all finished and walk through but due to scheduling conflicts I lost my chance!  I was sooo bummed! I knew that on TV they wouldn’t show everything or every wall and even if they did my images may or may not be clearly seen.  I’m waiting now for my package from ABC which should have lots of pictures of the inside for me!

So, did you watch the show? It aired a couple weeks ago but you can watch the episode here.   The house was absolutely amazing (there is a plane in their kitchen, seriously) and the Hurston’s were such a great choice.  You can see all the local vendors who contributed here.  (To see AGP listed, click on “lighting, rugs, art.”  Apparently artwork and rugs share a category. I’m not hurt. Not really. Okay a little.  On the show you didn’t really get the see the large family photos but there were a few noticable moments.

Again, I am honored and thankful for the opportunity. I was happy to be a part of giving to this family who gives so much to those in need.  I hope they will enjoy these photographs their whole lives, not only as family portraits but memories of a moment in time that blessings rained down, overflowing.  A different kind of flood.

Some highlights below…

Extreme Makeover Home Edition BusExtreme Makeover Photography

This is Wendi, helping me meter the light and exposure for one of our possible locations before the Hurstons arrived.

Extreme Makeover Home Damage

This is the living room of their old house. The water damage was extensive.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition : Water Damage And the hallway, where all the water ran down. They have a much better stairway now!

Extreme Makeover Home Edition - Hurston Family The Hurstons!

Extreme Makeover Home Edition : Hurston Family Brother SisterExtreme Makeover Home Edition : Big Sister Extreme Makeover Home Edition : Big BrotherExtreme Makeover Home Edition : Hurston Family, Cocoa Florida Extreme Makeover Home Edition Photographer

Wendi was also shooting for me a little and snapped a few of me shooting the Hurstons as well. A little behind the scenes…

Joe and Cindy Hurston, Cocoa Florida Joe and Cindy Hurston Joe Hurston, Cindy Hurston, Extreme Home Makeover The Hurstons Cocoa, Florida

I think maybe this was the one in their bedroom over the fireplace that everyone noticed. It was one of these in black and white. Such a cute couple!!

Extreme Home Makeover FamilyDieunika Hurston - Age 4 - Extreme Home Makeover Dieunika - Extreme Makeover - Home EditionJoe Hurston - Air Mobile MinistriesBack of Extreme Makeover Home Edition Bus by FastSigns

Wendi and I pretended to be all “sure we shoot for national television all the time” and then busted out with our “hey look at me in the front of the bus” whenever we had a chance.

Juliet Hurston

How cute is Juliet? And when she told me she wants to go to Flagler… sigh.

Juliet Hurston on Extreme Makeover Home EditionPeter Hurston

Loved these of Peter with his guitar on the “old” front porch.

Peter Hurston on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Cocoa Florida Florida Family PhotographyFlorida Family - Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Love these too. You’ll see the hands below and the feet near the end on the show over Juliet’s bed in her new room.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition - Family PhotographyExtreme Makeover Home Edition KidsExtreme Makeover Home Edition - Hurston ChildrenExtreme Makeover Home Edition - Hurston Family Cocoa FloridaHurston Family in Backyard

I could tell this day must have been a bit hard on the little one. All the cameras and people, trucks and vehicles everywhere. Was glad she got to have some moments to just be herself and have fun.

Extreme Home Makeover - DaughterExtreme Makeover Home Edition Backyard


Extreme Makeover FamilyExtreme Makeover Home Edition - Construction Cocoa, Florida I shot this when I came back a few days later to drop off the finished prints. It was truly surreal to see this house standing there.

What an experience!

Update July 2011: ABC sent me a few disks of interior pictures, unfortunately one of them my computers won’t recognize! So, I have just a few interior shots to show how some of the AGP images were used. Unfortunately the biggest prints are not pictured, but seriously how gorgeous is this house?!

Comments 2

  1. I met the Hurston in the 70’s when they enrolled their son in our Christian School. He shared his ministries desire, to manufacture units that supply purified water, to those in crisis. His ministry with the help prayers and support from so many, would eventually reach across the globe. Two of Air Mobile Ministries current locations include Hawaii and the U-Crain. They also provide food and clothes needed by those in crisis. Pease help support Air Mobile Ministries meet the needs of those in crisis.

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