Professional Architectural Photography
Allinson’s Photography has been capturing our clients architecture at its best and delivering a high standard of professional architectural photography since 1990. In that time the clientele has been comprehensive and diverse in their needs, they include various professional firms and individuals such as; Architects, Lighting Architects, Property Developers, Contractors, Property Developers, Councils and Housing Associations, Newspapers and Magazines, Corporate Annual Reports, Marketing Companies, Advertising Agencies, interior designers, and Quantity Surveyors.
Architectural photography can be a very time consuming workflow beginning as a landscape photographer would with consideration for composition and lighting. The composition can be planned out at anytime but, with the exception of interior views the lighting is very often a waiting game choosing the correct time and weather conditions to photograph the building.
Our Camera of choice for architectural work is always going to be the view camera. in order to provide our clients with the most options, we have invested in a modern view camera system, the Cambo Ultima II. This one camera allows us to shot both large format film for best quality, or digital files when 36mp is enough or there is a need to save on the cost of materials.
The Composition of Architectural Photographs
Exterior architectural photography
Second only to choosing the correct viewpoint the most important aspect of any architectural photography is the photographers ability to control the perspective, in particular the vertical lines that are non-converging (parallel).
At Allinson’s we of course use a professional view camera. The View Camera has a long been associated with architectural photography and is always going to be the best equipment to deliver professional results as only a view camera allow for both the lens and the film/sensor plain to be tilted or shifted relative to each other.
When it comes to composition the view camera offers the architectural photographer precision control of focus and perspective in a way that no other camera can
Interior architectural photography
Sometimes natural lighting can also play a large factor with interior views of a building, particularly with the modern trend towards large glass walls and windows. However, in many instances it is of much less importance as we have so many more lighting tools available with small flash guns and portable studio lighting together with a selection of light modifiers. The use of well thought out and well balanced supplemental lighting can help set a mood or pull important details or features out of strong natural shadows. Of course when the client is the lighting architect or lighting engineer, we will often be working at night, or dusk with no additional lighting. In these cases it is the available electric lighting and it’s relationship to the building that is the main feature.
Post Production and Processing Architectural Images
More than in any other photography we can spend longer processing architectural photographs as we do on site shooting them.
While the professional use and method of working with a view camera leaves us less likely to be ruining the photograph by stretching and distorting pixels in photoshop to correct perspective etc. Photoshop still plays a very important part in modern architectural photography.
Dressing the photograph
When we started out in 1990 “dressing the shot” was always large part of your days photography. We always arrived on site with a broom to sweep up cigarette ends and a scrapper for the discarded chewing gum, we would even fix road markings with white and yellow tape. Today picking up the occasional crisp packet is often all that is needed as it is generally quicker to handled these items much more quickly in photoshop.
“Street furniture” will also get our attention and consideration when processing our photographs. when a lamppost or a public bin obscures a feature or takes your eye away from the main subject we will consider using photoshop tools to remove them, (However, even with this our first choice would be to fix it in camera by stepping to one side then using the camera movements to pull the composition and perspective back to where we want it).
Composition of the photograph
As a general rule the correct use of the view camera in architectural photography will mean that beyond cropping we do not have to adjust the composition in photoshop as the field of focus and perspective will have been controlled in camera. While these adjustments are possible in photoshop the stretched and distorted pixels can be unflattering and are most undesirable. This said of course, there are times, circumstances and budgets to consider in every individual commission and I can not deny these short cuts can be beneficial when seeking to develop some compositions beyond the cameras capability or simply when a client can not afford for you to spend time with a view camera.