Making a quality architectural image is much more than getting the shot. Numerous decisions and actions are used in the process of taking the picture and creating the final image in post processing. Here is a good example from a recent landscape photo shoot for one of my clients, Peterson Companies. The project is located in Minnetonka, MN. The first photo is a capture based on what the camera's exposure readings gave me...a "one shot." As is typical with most digital cameras that tend to be high contrast, you'll notice areas of over exposure as well as some dark, almost black areas of under exposure.
To over come this issue, I shot 5 images at one stop increments.
To extend the field of view, I also moved the lens down and shot 5 more of the lower half of the view. This can only be accomplished with a Tilt/Shift lens or a medium or large format camera with movements.
Each set of 5 images was processed through HDR Efex Pro to reveal and properly expose all luminance values in the image. Extending the view "Beyond the Frame" by combining the upper half and lower half of the scene is critical to telling the whole story of this project. If you don't, you get the following acceptable, but somewhat lacking photo.
Here is what you are missing on the top and bottom of the view:
Processing the two images in panoramic stitching software (PTGui) creates a square image. And...ta da! Here is the final image!