Creating an outside the box architectural image is more than just "snapping a photo. Thoughtful and process oriented architectural photography requires work that begins before the photo shoot extending past the day of photography to post processing.
We almost always receive marked up drawings from our client and, if possible, do a walk through of the project prior to shooting day.
Our general approach to project photography is to create a visual narrative around the project. The goal: create a portfolio of outside the box photos.When we create our shoot plan, we take into account angle and position of the sun. I use a valuable app to determine when to shoot. The specific angle requested by my client was particularly challenging because of the position of the building vis a vis the sun at this time of year. The main elevation of the building would be in the shade almost all day. Based on what the app told us, we decided to shoot late in the afternoon.
We set up and shot several images. First, we took one image based on the camera's meter reading.
In addition, we shot two more images in case we wanted to process the image in post using HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques. One image was captured over-exposed by one stop and another under-exposed by one stop. Here is the set of three images together.
We also shot several images to capture different traffic patterns to be used later. Finally, we took one photo to capture an arriving light rail train in the background.
Post processing involved numerous steps. In the end, it was not necessary to process the final image as an HDR photo because enough dynamic range existed in the photo. In part, this is because I use some of the best equipment available for architectural photography. My “go to” camera for this type of work is the Canon 5D Mark IV producing images that have some of the highest dynamic range numbers in the camera world. Adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom. The image was further processed in an application called On1 Effects. I use a combination of pre-sets and custom settings in this application to improved tonal quality and selectively brighten the building. Following, I use Adobe Photoshop to mask in portions of the sky, selectively add street traffic, and mask in the light rail train. The final remarkable image results! The architect's reaction: "Amazing!"