Using People for Architecture Projects in the Age of Social Distancing
One of the challenges of shooting architecture photography projects during the COVID-19 pandemic involves the best and safest way to use people in photos.
On the one hand, marketing directors and marketing managers for architecture firms and interior design firms want to use people in their project photos to show scale, function, and to add a human element to the images. On the other hand, they don't want to be responsible for putting people at risk for their health and safety. Several of my clients have asked me how I address this situation.
My solution is to photograph individuals separately and edit them together in post production using a variety of Photoshop editing techniques.
The corporate architecture project we shot for a client included several images using multiple people to populate the scene. First, we photograph the scene completely empty so we can get all of the detail and luminosity correct for the final image. This involves shooting on a fixed tripod and slow shutter speeds to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene.
We then placed my assistant in one of the chairs, exposing just for him and focusing the camera directly on him.
Then we added one woman on the right as she walked down the corridor. Again, we changed camera settings to get the exposure and focus on her.
Next, we asked the second woman to walk down the other side of the corridor as she pretended to be talking to the other woman. We shot several exposures to make sure we had them lined up together so they looked like they were in conversation.
Although it appears as though the pandemic may be coming to an end there is a good chance some of these protocols will be in place for a long time.
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