Making Photos vs Taking Photos: Addressing Multiple Issues With Architectural Photography
Creating outside the box architecture photography images is much more than snapping a picture. As a Minneapolis commercial photographer, I use multiple processes and techniques that photographers with limited experience can achieve. Although smartphone cameras have dramatically improved they can't achieve anywhere close to what we can produce when we shoot architecture project photos.
Expanding the Field of View
The above shot of an X-Ray suite at a clinic is ok. However, a lot of information is missing above and below the 35mm frame. This includes ceiling and floor detail. To overcome this obstacle, we use a Tilt/Shift lens that allows us to shoot upper, middle, and lower sections of the scene separately while maintaining perspective and intersecting lines. In post production, these images are stitched together using specialized applications to form a vertical panorama.
High Dynamic Range Photography
We also shoot for HDR which allows us to capture all of the light values from dark to light. The result is that detail information in the shadows and in the brightest parts of the image become visible. The entire image can be balanced. This is a technique used by many architectural photographers. In this case, we shot 4 images at each level (upper, middle, and lower) at 1-stop exposure differences from light to dark.
Secret Sauce and Removing Distracting Elements
Once the HDR and panorama stitching is complete, we're left with an image that is "almost" where we want it.
The HDR processing results in an image that is somewhat flat in color and lacking some contrast and sharpness. Although the image looks good overall, wrinkles in the vinyl pad are somewhat distracting. Using several settings in an application from OnOne Software, I add contrast, tonality, and color. In addition, I use Photoshop to remove the wrinkles in the pad with the content aware tool. Here is the final interior photography image:
Options: Adding People
Some interior designers and architects want people to appear in architecture photos to add scale and human content to an image. I try to give my clients the option to use a photo with or without people. After finishing the initial set of photos, we inserted a person and took some additional shots.
Using the same processes, we can create an "a" version of the final image including the person.
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