Architectural Photography: Making Photos vs Taking Photos
It's not uncommon for an architectural photographer to take a simple photo of a trophy case like this and call it "done."
This interior photo exhibited a lot of issues that can be addressed using sophisticated techniques and post processing. Commercial architects will appreciate the effort. There were two fundamental problems with this photo. A massive amount of reflection off of the glass prevents you from seeing almost everything that is in the trophy case. In addition, the firm that hired me for architectural photography services wanted to showcase the tile work surrounding the case. Because of the angle of view and the limitations of the 35mm camera frame, a significant part of the tile was cut off on the top.
When we shoot projects like this, we take into account the narrative the client is trying to tell and the field conditions present.
First, we shot a variety of exposures for HDR processing that address the difference in highlights and shadows. Secondly, we used a Canon Tilt/Shift lens that enabled us to shift the view vertically and still maintain a correct perspective. This is important whether we are doing interiors photography, exteriors, or landscape architecture so that we can avoid distortion or an effect called "keystoning.
In this case, we shot a series of images covering the full view of the scene from top to bottom. This enabled us to get the entire tile border surrounding the trophy case and stitch them together in post processing.
The next part of the process in "making" this photo was to address the reflection coming off the glass. Using a large (77" x 77") lite panel with black fabric, we took numerous exposures.
My assistant "slow walked" the lite panel across the scene as I took 16 different shots to block the reflection off of various parts of the glass.
All of these images were brought together resulting in this final image.
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