Architectural photography has always been a technical field and digital capture while adding options has also highlighted the importance of dynamic range, which was called latitude when we used to use film:
- Perspective control is important when the subject building can not be viewed from a position level with it’s centre. One example is avoiding the appearance of a wedge shaped building when you photograph it looking up from street level, unless of course that perspective is part of the brief, which it sometimes is and in a few cases it is even desirable to exaggerate this according to client requests.
- HDR photography stands for High Dynamic Range, in this case we make a variety of exposures from a fixed position and use software to combine them into a single image. This image will show highlights (perhaps light fittings) and shadows (like areas under tables or counters) in perfect exposure and the resulting image will display details that can not normally be shown in a single conventional capture. It takes some time and a lot of experience to shoot correctly depending on the individual scene being captured but the result is impressive.
- Reflection control is important when we need to avoid unwanted content in windows, mirrors and all kinds of reflective surfaces. This might include a photographer with a tripod or a piece of lighting equipment as well as objects in the environment like passing traffic or some other unwanted object. An experienced architectural photographer will spot these early in the process and use one of a variety of techniques to ensure they are not captured. Where it is impossible to avoid a reflection then post-production can add a supplementary image which is shot from a different angle or position to replace the problem area.I often shoot interiors and then add a second exposure at different settings and with a window opened to facilitate this.
- Gigapixel photography is when we shoot a grid of images and join the to get one massive file for very large reproduction. This is not as simple as it sounds at the camera and lens combination have to be set up to rotate around the correct optical point (specific to each lens) on a special rig. Done simply the result will often suffer from parallax errors, done correctly the image is a perfect rendition of the scene but with many times more pixels than the camera sensor has in a single shot.
All of this and other techniques were used to shoot the images in the architectural photography gallery above.
All images © Stephen Potts
Creative Commercial Photography Belfast