Architectural Photography. Urban Landscapes

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1 Architectural Photography Urban Landscapes

2 Who uses architectural photos? Designers needing to capture inspiration Firms needing to represent their work to future clients Stylists who use these trends to style other things/themes Home owners looking to sell their homes Magazines looking to advertise their homes/home décor items Architecture lovers looking for unique artwork Travelers wanting to capture their surroundings

3 What distinguishes architectural photography? Classic = true Classic architectural photography focuses on accuracy horizontal and vertical planes are perfectly level in order to underscore the quality of design and construction Technical accuracy and quality is essential because these images are often enlarged to enormous sizes Classic arch. photography avoids wide angle views since these distort the edges of the image and have light fall off (like a vignette) To achieve this, they only use top quality prime lenses (fixed focal length lenses) Straight lines are paramount (the most important) In classic arch. photography, converging lines and tilted buildings are the worst Modern equipment used to compensate for some of these issues are tilt and shift lenses (see youtube link)

4 What distinguishes architectural photography? Contemporary= play Contemporary architectural photography allows for perspectives that classic does not. Angled views, for example, are allowed in contemporary arch. photography Converging lines, too, are captured for effect Telephoto lenses are still discouraged, but if they have to be used, set them to the middle of their range (i.e.: around 35mm on our standard lens). This helps to minimize distortion Fisheye and action are also allowed; fisheye fully distorts the lines while human action or traffic shows life beyond the architecture

5 Main elements of this style Emphasis on shapes, textures, and form Light and shadows are used to highlight these elements It is essential to maintain accurate exposure in a variety of light conditions, so auto WB won t do it Bracketing for more accurate HDR exposure is recommended Shooting RAW (test first) allows you to capture the most information during the shoot You need to decide on distortion or purity of representation in each shot

6 Lens choices and consequences Classics use fixed focal length lenses (aka prime lenses) with maximum aperture. These create an even image from centre to corner with no light fall-off, so the entire image is evenly light and distortion free. Contemporary use prime as well, and sometimes wide angles and fisheye Zooms are discouraged in both styles because they distort and limit the view

7 Shadows and textures The direction of light matters because this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections. High levels of contrast can fool cameras into exposing the scene incorrectly, but shooters can easily overcome this by applying exposure compensation.

8 Reflections and glass Reflections add an extra dimension to architectural images and allow the photographer to create a canvas on which the building can be playfully distorted. Urban environments are littered with a multitude of reflective surfaces, so you ll never have to look too far to practice, for example: windows, water features, puddles and wet streets, sunglasses, rivers and modern art

9 Buildings don t move, but people do To add some unique flair to your images, consider human traffic in the context of the architecture To capture human traffic, you need a longer exposure and tripod or steady hand This can lead to really neat photos, especially because the primary subject doesn t move

10 Inside and out Architectural photography isn t restricted to the facia of a building Lots of classic work involves capturing the interior spaces

11 Oh, white balance White balance is essential in architectural photography. Sunrise and sunset cast low colour temperatures meaning mostly red-yellow hues. Inside modern buildings, fluorescent lights are common, so you may want to reduce the greenish effect by using a warmer WB Fully corrected WB with no colour variation can be desirable, but in that circumstance perhaps full black and white would be better Often in arch. Photography, the colour casts add a mood and style to the image, so use your discretion

12 Time of day Large structures cast shadows on sunny days (think of airports with large windows) Bright sunny days are effective for architectural photography because of the sharp shadows and deep contrasts that are cast are ideal for showing form, bringing out texture, and giving strong colour.

13 When night falls When the sun goes down a new form of architectural photographer can surface. To shoot a structure as a silhouette during sunset, position the architecture between yourself and the sun. Make sure the flash is deactivated and expose for the sky. If the foreground is too light set the exposure compensation to a negative value to darken it. This effect can produce particularly enigmatic results. Night shots can be very dramatic and atmospheric too, but remember to take them when there is still some light and colour left in the sky as this adds tone to the backdrop and help to illuminate details. Use a wide aperture and long exposure, and if your camera is supported you ll be able to employ a low ISO to ensure details aren t depreciated by noise.

14 When night falls Dawn and dusk offer amazing light, and cast buildings in such a way that they are hard to dislike You need to consider where you want to be at dawn/dusk do you want the light on the buildings perhaps casting a unique illumination, or behind the building adding to the surrounding effect?

15 Urban nightscapes Cities look different at night Night light can allow for light painting through longer exposures and moving light/moving camera Because of the long exposure required for these shots, tripods or other support for the camera is essential

16 Weather or not Unlike other forms of photography, exciting architectural images can be produced in all weathers. A church on a clear day may strike the viewer as pleasant but maybe a bit bland, revisit it when there s a storm brewing overhead or a mist rising from the damp earth and the results can be altogether more intriguing. By revisiting and shooting the same building in these various weather conditions, photographer s can produce a neat portfolio of shots

17 Devil s in the details Buildings of architectural merit usually include focal points so try cropping in close on these for frame-filling abstracts. You may want to shoot repeated artefacts that are littered across the exterior, for example; intricate brickwork or chequer board windows. Use a telephoto lens to zoom in close and don t forget a tripod to support those longer focal lengths.

18 Perspective & distortion The average building is far taller than the tallest photographer so there will inevitably be some element of distortion in an architectural photo, but this can be employed to create a source of tension within the frame. Simply position yourself as near to the base of the building as possible and shoot straight up. If playing with perspective isn t for you then stand further back and add a sense of scale to your image by incorporating everyday objects such as people, trees, transport and benches, etc.

19 The Plan for this shoot Meet here during p5 and travel downtown in cars (I can take six of you with me) You will have to pay for parking in The Exchange District Dress for the weather & for being outside for 2.5 hours (mitts, hats, layers of cloths, winter jackets, warm boots/shoes) At 3:30 (to be confirmed), we up with a local award winning architect to get some background on how architects use photography Then, we wander in The Exchange District and around looking for stuff you want to shoot This will count as two classes Shoot on Wednesday, process/production Thurs, class in lieu Friday.

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