What are some essential tools for completing a successful architectural shoot?
A camera that has good dynamic range and can shoot in a RAW format (Sony, Nikon and Canon are all good options). A wide angle lens in the range of 16-35MM, a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger (known as an intervalometer) are critical as well. The more sturdy your setup is, the cleaner the shot. Invest in a tripod!
What do you think about when creating and framing a shot for a design project?
It’s always important to tell a story. Interviewing the design team to understand the audience’s intent is helpful. Otherwise, try to scout the scene ahead of time and observe how people move through the space and where they stop to congregate.
While most projects have an “overall image,” it’s best to capture the space as people would see it in real life. Our eyes constantly wander, so it’s critical to really think about picking the right position that gives a true sense of feeling, all while giving the eye a natural place to land. Typically, this is a place you would walk to, such as a desk, door or lounge area.
Is it possible to capture lighting design appropriately without post-processing?
If you only want to capture the luminaire, maybe. Most of the time, it’s impossible. The subtle contrast of well-executed lighting design is hard to capture without toning an image and adjusting contrast. Photographing a bright aperture next to a soft ceiling will often result in a fuzz effect, for example. This is a good place to layer in a second or even third image to create a crisp line that our eyes can see but the camera cannot capture.
Oftentimes, traditional architectural photographers will use a set of high power “fill lights” or photograph a space with an abundance of daylight to get around this challenge. Unfortunately, that doesn’t render the lighting design properly.