Photo Technique

The Best Time of Year to Photograph Architecture

September_Architecture_Lincoln-Barbour_01

August is rapidly coming to a close and I am super excited for September. Why? You may ask. Because we are approaching the Autumnal Equinox and that means great light… all… day… long.

For the few weeks before and after September 22nd, the sun angle is right around 40˚ which is like Rembrandt lighting for buildings. The shadow lines are perfect. There’s just the right amount of low angle light during early morning and late afternoon. And in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer haze has cleared for gorgeous skies with all the plants and trees still pretty much green. You really can’t go wrong shooting in September. Check out this diagram to see what I’m talking about.

Here are some of my favorite projects that I shot in September’s beautiful light.

Even if you have already wrapped up your project, if it wasn’t captured in September, you really should shoot it again to see what an improvement the light at this time of year makes.

Fortunately, I still have a few spots open in September and if you’d like to book a shoot, click here to reach out to me.

Bonus Guide for Architects and Interior Designers

Want to know some easy ways you can improve your architectural shoots? Check out my handy little guide called: 10 WAYS TO MAKE AN ARCHITECTURE SHOOT BETTER. It’s a free download! Just enter in your full name and email and I’ll send it your way.

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Retouching the Oregon Home Cover Shot

I take a lot of pride in my Photoshop retouching skills. Mainly because I try really hard to make my shots not look like they’ve been retouched.

For architectural interior shots like this cover image for Oregon Home, I often do something I call, “Dropping in the Windows.” During the shoot, I’ll take several brackets that are under my main exposure. Later on in Photoshop, I will pick a darker exposure that I like the look out the windows and overlay it on the main exposure. I then hand cut out the windows using a mask and blend it together a little with the paintbrush. It’s subtle, time consuming, but the look can’t be beat.

The alternative to this is to do and HDR photograph or overlight the room with artificial light. I, personally, never like either of those ways look, so that’s why I do it the hard way.

Here’s time-lapse of the whole process:

Architecture – Design & Spirit

Earlier this year, I was invited by Newspace Center for Photography to teach an architectural photography workshop. I was very honored and humbled that they thought of me. I’ve done a few other classes/workshops, but this was a full day class and much more involved than what I’ve done before. The class consisted of a presentation on the basics of architecture photography, followed by an afternoon photo walk where I helped each student set up their shots and demonstrated how to use tilt-shift lenses. I then gave them all various assignments to shoot on their own and we met the following week for a review.

It was a really great experience and I hope everyone who took the workshop got something out of it. It was certainly great for me to go back to all the basics and refresh my memory. As they say, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.”

Here is a PDF of the presentation I gave at the start of the class. I thought it would be worth sharing

AIA Portland Architectural Photo Workshop

Portland Armory

Please join me this Sunday, October 11th for a hands on Architectural Photo Tour through the Pearl District of Portland, OR. This workshop is part of the AIA’s 2009 Architecture & Design Festival going on all of October in Portland, OR.

Pro Photo Supply is donating use of Canon and Nikon cameras with wide angle tilt-shift lenses for hands on experience on how to photograph architectural exteriors. You’re welcome to bring your own camera and lenses, too. I also recommend bringing a tripod.

The three hour class will be a walking tour starting at the AIA Center of Design at 403 NW 11th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209

The cost of the class is $25 and all proceeds go to the AIA.

Click here for more information and to register online.

Behind the Scenes – Portland Spaces Cover Shoot

Finally had a moment to breath and post this! It’s been a really busy year. I’ll have more on what’s been happening soon. But first, I’d like to present my first cover feature for Portland Spaces!

I Shot This!

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