Making Photos vs Taking Photos: Distracting Elements
The difference between a dynamic architectural photography image many times gets down to fine details. As an experienced commercial photographer in Minneapolis, I put myself in my client’s place when I review project photography images I submit. Once I complete the final editing of my architectural photos, I frequently let them sit overnight before sending them to the client. This gives me the chance to review each image (and the project in total) several times during the course of an evening at home as well as the next morning.
Architects and those involved in interior design want pristine final images. I look for unwanted or distracting details in photos and do my best to eliminate them. I go by the rule, “If your eye goes to it, take it out.” In other words, if my automatically goes to some flaw or distracting element, I re-edit the photo.
The photo of the dining room table with the framed piece of art on the wall behind it is a good example. I removed the lights reflecting into the glass of the art as well as a couple of spots reflecting onto the table top. I also removed the thermostat on the wall just to the left of the art. Finally, I thought the window glare reflecting off of the television monitor was distracting so I replaced it with the stock image of a television.
Similarly, I was hired to shoot a skyway in Downtown Minneapolis by a construction company that also is involved in architecture and real estate development.
The Marketing Manager for my client was onsite for the photo shoot. She loved the scene we were about to photograph but wasn't happy about the street light dominating the foreground of the view and distracting attention from the structure itself.
Again, using Adobe Photoshop tools, we convincingly removed the street light.
Dynamic architectural photography is much more than just “snapping a picture.” That’s why it is unreasonable to think a project can be photographed with a smartphone with it’s limited capacity and control. Likewise, just because someone owns a “good” digital camera doesn’t mean they have the skills and technique to create a strong image. Rather, a good photographer “makes” a photo by harnessing all of those variables.
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