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No question, buying a camera and learning how to use it has been one of the best investments
I think I've ever made.
Photography is one of the meta skills I think every creative person has to cultivate, you
know, it teaches you about light, and composition, contrast, color; all these things that are
linked to our experience of, not only architecture, but the world.
I think it's helped me see the world more objectively, you know viewing it through the
lens of a camera, it's just a really valuable skill set to have in your toolkit.
So, I'm not a professional architectural photographer but I've learned a few things having shot
a lot of architecture over my professional career.
So I wanted to share with you some of the mistakes that I made when I was first starting
out so you don't have to make them to.
One of the underlying style elements of architectural photography is maintaining parallel lines
in your image and especially parallel vertical lines.
So to achieve this you have to keep the focal plane which is basically your camera sensor
in here perpendicular to the ground plane.
Now, once you tilt the camera you start to introduce a forced perspective in your image
which creates converging lines rather than parallel lines and it also tends to make the
building look as though it's falling backward, which can admittedly be a good thing if it's
exaggerated or that's the effect that you're going for, but if it's just subtly off it's
sort of a tell that you're an amateur.
So the pros use tilt shift lenses for perspective control which allows them to physically move
the lens by tilting and shifting it.
Now this corrects the distortion right in the camera it bakes it into the image.
But those types of lenses come at a really steep price.
You can also correct for this in programs like Lightroom Photoshop or even Snapseed
on your phone.
Once you get used to correcting for it you'll probably start to notice it everywhere.
Now correcting this in Lightroom is really simple and I'll show you how.
Okay here we are in Lightroom I have this photo of this church in Quebec City and I'm
just going to show you how to correct the verticals.
We're in the develop module I'm not going to go through any of - all of - these settings
at this point I'm just going to keep those as they are.
And I'll go to the transform panel here and you'll see I'm off level and also my verticals
are converging.
So there's a couple of ways to do this: the first way is just to choose auto and that's
gonna make its best guess and you can see here it's corrected our verticals.
If we come over here to the grid our verticals look pretty good there still converging just
a little bit and then our horizontals, it's pretty close again.
The other way you can do this is you can choose purely vertical.
So here it looks like it corrected our verticals a little better, you can also choose level
which doesn't look like it did a very good job.
The vertical looks good but the horizontals here look a little tweaked.
Now the other possible way that you can do is guided and so we'll choose a couple of
verticals here - you pick your vertical lines in the image - and you can be as precise as
you want to be here I'm just getting it roughly close.
And then we'll choose our horizontals like this, you can see it gives you a zoom box
so that really pops it into place.
And if you had more horizontal lines - I don't have a lot of horizontal lines here that I
can work with - but if you had more you could adjust this with more granularity.
One last thing I want to mention and this is sort of a compromise solution because when
you're doing this it's modifying the pixels so it is destructive in some sense.
That is the compromise when you use a tool like Lightroom or even Snapseed's tool it
will distort the image and the pixels in it.
So you'll want to plan for this because you're gonna have to crop the image in crop it in
like this.
You're losing a bunch of information on the sides which is fine actually because I think
it actually just focuses on the subject of the photo even more.
White balance has a big influence on the feel of your image whether that's warm or cool
and it can be tricky to get right if you're mixing light between inside and outside.
Now this is another thing that once you start correcting for it in your images you'll start
to notice when people don't white balance their images.
So you've probably seen the classic white balance mistake where an interior has a really
orange or yellow or green cast to it.
So daylight, incandescent light, and LED lighting they all have different color temperatures
and they each introduce a different color cast into your image.
So changing the white balance allows you to correct for this and it allows you to choose
which one represents the scene most accurately.
So I sort of view it as an artistic decision in my workflow as I'm editing the image in
Shooting your images in a RAW format will give you the most flexibility to change things
in post but you can modify white balance even if you're not shooting RAW.
If you're shooting on your phone just hop into an app like Snapseed and give it check
what the auto white balance feature does for your image you might be surprised how much
more polished it starts to look.
Using a tripod rather than hand-holding your shots allows you to push your camera's manual
settings exactly where you need them, say that's a long exposure for a low-light environment,
or to focus stack, or to blend multiple exposures of a scene to capture a higher dynamic range.
Let's say you're shooting an interior room which has a window with lots of exterior light
coming in.
If you were to expose for the interior the window area would be just way overexposed
And if you were to expose for the exterior - for the window - the interior would just
be way under exposed.
So professionals will usually expose for the window and bring the light level up inside
to compensate with supplemental lighting like strobes.
But if you're lacking that kind of professional gear - and you probably are since you're watching
this - you can simply lock off your camera on a tripod and take a series of multiple
You're going to bracket the same scene and then combine those bracketed images in Lightroom
or Photoshop to capture a broader dynamic range for that scene and a more accurate rendition
of how the eye actually experiences the architecture; that's what you're after.
Now I mentioned tilt-shift lenses as the standard go-to for serious architectural photographers
but most of us don't have the budget for those they're in the multiple thousands of dollars.
Most commonly you're going to want to use wider angle lenses for architecture but if
you go too wide you'll get lots of distortion it's just not gonna look right.
For interiors and tight spaces I'm usually using the 16 to 35 which is a zoom lens and
that's on a full-frame Canon 6d mark 2 now if you're using a crop sensor like a 70 or
an 80D you can pick up this 10 to 18 zoom for not a lot of money and for those cameras
the crop sensors it covers roughly the same focal range like 16 to 28 millimeters so still
fairly wide.
Now, I also have a 24 to 70 zoom for longer focal lengths longer focal lengths tend to
compress or flatten the image bringing the foreground and the background closer together.
Many phone cameras just have a fixed focal length I think the iPhone that I have is about
a fixed 28 millimeter so not too wide but it's not too bad either so if it's all you
have that's what you can use.
And there's also a host of sort of lenses that you can clip onto the top so if you don't
have the budget for a DSLR, check out Moment lenses for some good options.
Having a zoom lens for architecture is nice because much of the time you'll be working
with some kind of space constraint, having the zoom function allows you to reframe and
change perspective; a fixed focal length wouldn't allow you to do that.
Ultra-wide shots can appear unnatural so you don't want to capture only ultra-wide shots,
save those for when you're not able to get back far enough or you just don't have another
Use these to help tell the story of the larger building: materials, intersections, joints,
these are all the touch points of architecture and I like to use the 50 millimeter 1.4 for
detail shots.
It's fast enough to create some nice background blur which isolates your subject and it means
you can hand hold these detail shots and kind of move quickly from one thing to the next
you know pick up handrail, fittings, fixtures, materials, connections; capture all the things
that lend context, texture, and interest to your work.
The more you shoot the more you'll gain an intuitive understanding of how light affects
your final image.
Backlighting, front lighting, side lighting, and night lighting, all produce vastly different
Now I try to avoid really flat lighting situations where there's an even amount of light on the
subject coming especially from the direction you're shooting from now this doesn't allow
you to capture any shadow or texture because you're aligning your view with the light source
so you're not going to see any of the shadows.
You want to move around a space or outside a building and get a real feel for what light
is available and you want to always be aware of your aspect in relation to it.
Position yourself in a way that tells the true story of how the architecture is influenced
by and how it changes in varying light conditions.
Now this is an important one you want to get rid of everything you possibly can especially
in interior spaces and really focus in on your subject.
If your shot is of a workspace there's actually very few things you need to tell the story
of that space: computer, keyboard, chair, desk; you know that's probably it you want
to take out everything else.
Now when you take the shot have a peek at it on a larger screen if possible and you
really want to scrutinize it, it's completely possible you forgot to remove something obvious
in the frame, like I've left the lenses on shelves before or there's been a tripod in
the back corner that I missed until I looked at the image on a separate screen.
Now these are just a few tips to get you started and they'll go a long way to helping your
images look more professional especially the first two, focus on those if you don't know
where else to start.
But all of this is in no way a substitute for working with a professional architectural
photographer, they have better equipment, training, and they have connections to publications
which you probably lack.
Now having the skill of knowing how to use a camera and what all the manual settings
do is really useful because it can be a long time between when a project is completed and
when you're able to professionally photograph it and it's nice to have some high quality
images you can use in the interim.
And often the detailed photos that you take on your own - as you're on the site, the things
are finishing up - leaves flexibility in your photography budget for the person you hire
to capture scenes and perspectives that you're not able to get because of your equipment
Now links to all the gear are in the description below and they're linked up in the cards go
ahead and smash that like button below and help me out by sharing this around with someone
you know.
Is there someone who's not subscribed to this channel yet?
And tell me in the comments: what kind of camera are you using?
We'll see you again next time, cheers my friends!
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Architecture Photography Tips

1 Folder Collection
Henry 楊 published on May 24, 2020
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