Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer for Jen Brinkman’s photography class that she teaches at Mt. Hood Community College. This is the third year that I’ve done it. For the class, I go over architectural photography basics and lighting techniques. We usually do a demo and then I give a prepared presentation on daylight lighting, tungsten lighting, and Photoshop techniques. Architecture photography is one of the more difficult disciplines to learn. Long exposures, depth of field, color balance, mixed lighting, and perspective are just one of the many things you have to think about when taking an architectural photograph. I know it’s taken me many years of trial and error to be at the point where I can at least teach the basics.
Due to some technical difficulties with my laptop, I had to improvise my presentation that I had used the past two years. I’m so glad that happened because the experience was so much better for me and I hope for the students. I went through my web portfolio (BOOK 2) and talked about my experience with each shot. Why I took it, how I lit it, when I scouted it, how I predicted the weather, and so forth. During the two hours, the students would ask me questions ranging from technical details to business practices. Since everything was so candid, we went over a lot in the two hours I was there. At the end of the lecture, I briefly went over some gear I typically use and my general lighting approach. Good times!
In case any of the Mt. Hood Students missed some of the links I mentioned, here they are:
USNO Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table
This is a great web tool to figure where the sun will be (azimuth) and at what height (altitude). I usually set it to 30 minute intervals to create a smaller chart and make sure you have a compass that has the degree marks on it with you. Any sporting goods store will carry these.
NPPA Cost of Doing Business Calculator
If you want to be a photographer full time and professionally, you must use this tool every year. Knowing your CODB will help you establish your day rate. Once you calculate your overhead and how many shooting days a year you’ll do, you’ll then realize every time you shoot something under your Overhead Cost for a Day of Shooting, then your are losing money. It’s that simple.
Professional Architecture Photography – By Michael Harris
This is an excellent book on the basics of architecture photography. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants learn more about the subject.
I’m definitely looking forward to more teaching in the future .