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Author Topic: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!?  (Read 42243 times)
Lust4Life
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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2009, 09:55:25 AM »
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Agree with your Father's perspective - just like in landscape photography - one must be able to "feel" the spirit of the scene, then try to capture it where others might feel it.

I was looking at Jeffrey Jacobs site this morning - really like his work - on the News tab, clicked and opened the file - from reading Jeff's comments, and those here on this thread, I'm becoming convinced that lights are just an essential part of the equation of a good architectural shot (OK, alone with an assistant or two).
http://www.jeffreyjacobsphoto.com/news.asp

Jeff's work is among my favorites.

Hmmmm.
Jack

Quote from: TMARK
I don't shoot architecture, really, but my father is an architect and an artist who has shot his own stuff for years.  He gave me his old Sinar P and RZ.  He started shooting his own work because he was disatisfied with most of the shooters he worked with, mainly because they "didn't get it".  What they didn't get, the "it", was the import of the structure, th history of how a society organizes space, and consequently what makes the building/plaza different.  If you can understand that, understand the building's significance and place in history, and what's new, you can find the essential truth of the building/site, and shoot it.

The problem seems to be that most people don't understand Modernism in a deep way, not just its history, but its impact of society, and thus societal choices in how space is organized, which is obviously architecture.  Once you understand this history, Brutalism makes sense.  Post Modernism makes sense (as much as it possibly can).  Then you can know the essential truth of the site, and shoot accordingly.  

I also agree with what everyone else is saying about the business side, and lights.  Look into a big silk and a couple of Ari 2k fresnels.  You can light the side of a building very nicely with a big silk.  Interiors strobes and HMI's.

Good luck.  I think most of teh work will be on the business side.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 09:59:05 AM by Lust4Life » Logged

tetsuo77
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2009, 10:04:47 AM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
I have a long history of shooting landscapes and really enjoy it (http://www.shadowsdancing.com), however I do not find it a profitable venture.

Ive become quite interested in Architectural Photography for two reasons:
   Beauty of the structure/s
   Capacity to generate revenue in a hopefully more predictable manner than Landscape Photography

Given
Im 63 and retired software developer on SGI platform.  I have a long history in digital image capture going back to the days of the Eikonics arrays.
I currently own:
Hasselblad H3D11-39MP
28mm, 80mm, 150mm
RRS Ultimate Omni-Pivot Package on Gitzo Carbon Tripod

Im seeking suggestions/direction about:
   Equipment required to do the best of work
   Successful methods of marketing my services - seek architects, developers, high end realtors?Huh??
   Other ideas Im not aware of to ask yet

I feel I have enough energy to start a new career and I want it to be a profitable one - thus Architectural Photography seems a natural transition to me.
I have been experimenting with local structures, some of the condos on the beach here in Naples, FL are beautiful, and find it fascinating but different than Landscpaes.
Hoping my knowledge of HDR might allow me to focus solely on Natural Light rather than getting into a menagerie of lighting setups.
I want to do this solo, not with an assistant.

Observations from folks actually earning a living from Architectural work and shooting digitally would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jack

Two of the most highly regarded architectural photographers nowadays, mainly because of the magazines and practices they work for:
Hisao Suzuki, the photographer for "El Croquis".
Christian Richters, most prolific architectural photographer of The Netherlands.
For all the rest of your questions, you have been quite answered.

The HDR is usually not the solution for architectural work. It ruins the space, and is something architects are definitely not looking for.
Think as an architect, not as a photographer.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2009, 10:51:48 AM »
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duplicate post
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 10:02:25 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2009, 10:53:30 AM »
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Quote from: marcwilson
Great blog Kirk.
Out of interest in regards to simple 2/3 shot flat stitching...what are your overriding reasons for using stitching over a single wider image.?
less distortion, larger files. etc?

Marc


Thanks Mark, yes larger files, less distortion, and also composition and the architects vision. Many spaces and structures are linear (or vertical) in design and feel. Walk into a space with an architect, they focus on details and visually pan the space to see how volumes relate. The long rectangle fits that linear vision. Going really wide with a standard lens and frame you end up with allot more ceiling and floor or sky and street. If you just crop a DSLR super wide shot you end up with a pretty small file. Flat stitching gives you an easy file size solution and elegant alternative format. Flat stitching is super simple, level the camera, lock down exposure and white balance, shift expose, shift expose. CS4 renders flat stitches flawlessly in seconds (if they are shot right). It couldn't be simpler. In that way digital has been very liberating (you could do flat stitching with a view camera and film, I did, but it was a pain) and a regular part of my aesthetic and work flow.

[attachment=17239:KirkG_2.jpg][attachment=17238:KirkG_1.jpg]
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 10:05:56 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
rethmeier
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2009, 03:44:33 PM »
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Christian Richters, most prolific architectural photographer of The Netherlands,is wrong.

He happens to be German,

Cheers,

Willem.
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Willem Rethmeier
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adammork
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2009, 04:00:01 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
I was looking at Jeffrey Jacobs site this morning - really like his work - on the News tab, clicked and opened the file - from reading Jeff's comments, and those here on this thread, I'm becoming convinced that lights are just an essential part of the equation of a good architectural shot (OK, alone with an assistant or two).
http://www.jeffreyjacobsphoto.com/news.asp

Jeff's work is among my favorites.

Hmmmm.
Jack


I'm  a professional architectural photographer from Denmark - I often have this talk with a good colleague and dear friend of mine about the difference in European and American architectural photography on the subject light. As we sees it, the typical European Architectural photographer will not use any lights - we are here talking photography of architecture for the architects - take a look in European magazines, and books and see the difference, a good start will be, as mentioned before, "El Croquis"

Space are created with light and shadow both equally importen - architects, at least here in Scandinavia would dislike to show a space the way it's shown here, it's no longer a space, but a very well lit product like a jewel for a commercial.

I'm educated and have worked as an architect before starting photographing 8 years ago, and you can count on one hand how many times I have set up a lamp in a space.

This is not for starting a war between European and american photographers and between right and wrong :-) we are just some architectural photographers here in Europe that are amazed over the amount of light that are used in classic american architectural photography.

Very best,
Adam
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2009, 04:20:22 PM »
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Quote from: adammork
I'm  a professional architectural photographer from Denmark - I often have this talk with a good colleague and dear friend of mine about the difference in European and American architectural photography on the subject light. As we sees it, the typical European Architectural photographer will not use any lights - we are here talking photography of architecture for the architects - take a look in European magazines, and books and see the difference, a good start will be, as mentioned before, "El Croquis"

Space are created with light and shadow both equally importen - architects, at least here in Scandinavia would dislike to show a space the way it's shown here, it's no longer a space, but a very well lit product like a jewel for a commercial.

I'm educated and have worked as an architect before starting photographing 8 years ago, and you can count on one hand how many times I have set up a lamp in a space.

This is not for starting a war between European and american photographers and between right and wrong :-) we are just some architectural photographers here in Europe that are amazed over the amount of light that are used in classic american architectural photography.

Very best,
Adam

I have been fascinated by that different approach to artificial lighting in Europe since waaay back in my early film days. Interested in the style, I studied some European magazines for insights and even volunteered to assist one who was shooting a home in my town. He used gels but never any lights. After that I tried out some of his techniques with Architecture Magazine (at that time it was the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects and I shot for them nationwide). The feedback I got from the editors was that the scenes looked "under-lit or amateurishly lit". They really wanted the more common American advertising type architectural photography. Now, being far better established in my own style and clients that want that, I largely just interpret thing the way I see them and that seems to be fine with most clients. That means allot less lighting than we used to employ, and generally using them for fill rather than main lights as we used to. I still bring a small truck load of lights (strobe and halogen) on all shoots, but use it allot less. Where we get into trouble is on small jobs that don't allow us to be there long enough to "be there" when the light is perfect and natural for all the views and have to force the light to work for us under time budget constraints. Two years ago this was less of an issue as work was plentiful, but in this economy small jobs are sometimes better than no jobs.


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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
rethmeier
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2009, 04:31:29 PM »
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I was going to mention what Adam Mork said in the previous post.
There is a difference in style between the US and European(Australian) shooters.
For myself , I do use lights occasionally,but most of the time,I use the available light.

Another point I would like to make that budgets have a lot to do with it as well.

I think there is a place for both styles and if one can master both they are home and hosed.

Best,
Willem.
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Willem Rethmeier
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Murray Fredericks
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« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2009, 04:35:11 PM »
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I find it hard to imagine lighting an architectural space.

Just on a level of productivity - it must take so long, cost so much and result in so many less images being delivered to the client. (edit) I guess as Rainer says below the extra time goes in getting the natural light just right. If the natural light is not right I come back...

I was always told that the architect's lighting design was central to the overall design and the last thing that they wanted was a photographer 're-lighting' their work.

Digital has been a liberation in shooting architecure without lights. Particularly in harsh Australian light (probably similar to desert light in the US) where contrast is extreme.

HDR has a good role in this, but usually as a layer thrown in with all the other bracketed exposures of a scene to draw bits from as needed.

Murray
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 04:59:43 PM by Murray Fredericks » Logged

Murray Fredericks
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« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2009, 04:36:18 PM »
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Ha! - Willem,

I was waiting for you to speak up - you beat me to it...

Murray
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rainer_v
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« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2009, 04:51:54 PM »
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i want to underline what adam said. many people here in europe see architecture much more pure and from a mainly perspective
leaded view , with no flowers, toys, carpets, and even moving people in the shots ( although the last looks as a kind of fashion here too ). in america, since schoolman`s days, there is very often involved a very "livestyle" and illustrating vision.

in general i see  it very strange too how much lights and stuff is involved in the comments above. i usually go with one assistant ( there were exceptions but thats my usual way ...) , and i would have to count in years since i used last time additional lights. this does not mean that the productions have to go faster, but it means the focus lays on another point. i spend a lot of time for showing buildings in the "right" light, and i insist to get the amount of time from my clients which i think is necessary for that. and i usually dont come out with 20+ shots a day, although i could do some hundreds each day too, but they would look different.


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rainer viertlbck
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rethmeier
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« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2009, 05:20:19 PM »
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Another thing I forgot to mention:

There is also Interior Photography and of course IMO the worst, Real Estate photography.

With Real Estate photography every interior gets butchered with extreme wide angles and that photography has nothing to do with architecture.

Interior photography is a balance of interiors and life style photography.
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Willem Rethmeier
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« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2009, 05:40:42 PM »
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Personally, i prefer the European aesthetic... maybe with some luck we'll catch up in a few year

The first couple of shoots i did (for practice), i did with just ambient light... was told by some local architects when discussing the business with them and showing what i was doing, that i had forgotten to turn on the lights and light the fireplace.
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asf
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« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2009, 05:49:37 PM »
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Lights on or off, it's a bigger choice than it sounds.

I've been told by architects they like one way, only to be told by their PR dept they insist on the other way. More often than I care to think about.
It's a labyrinth. Find your style and keep going.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2009, 08:58:53 PM »
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"Find your style and keep going. "

It took me quite a few years to figure that out.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 09:03:37 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Pedro Kok
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« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2009, 09:41:09 PM »
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On the topic of architecture magazines (European for that matter, as I'm ignorant of the American side of things):

'El Croquis', as mentioned by Adam, is a fantastic magazine, though I find it relies too much on Hisao Suzuki's photos. I enjoy them, and his work has a distinctive and remarkable color pallet, but it does get a bit tiresome after several issues. There is some work from other photographers within each issue, so not all hope is lost.

Yukio Futagawa's GA magazines GA Houses, GA Document, et al. are also great reference. They span several decades, all photographed by Yukio and his son Yoshio. His photographic documentation is very meticulous, and has for many years inspired other photographers. On issues where american architecture is featured, it's interesting to see a foreigner's view.

Personally, I prefer '2G' magazine, as the photographer changes from issue to issue. In some cases they've been commissioned by the architects, on others by the magazine itself. The recent issue on Mies Van der Rohe houses is absolutely beautiful. The photographs from Hans-Christian Schink escape the norm; there are is no magic-hour images or perspective contortionisms, leading to a very respectful view of Mies' work.

Some photographers that I strongly suggest following:
FS+SG is a duo formed by Portuguese photographers Fernando Guerra and Sergio Guerra. If I'm not mistaken, Fernando's formal education is in architecture, but did a lot of street and travel photography in the early years. As a result, most of his work is with light cameras and if possible, without a tripod. They have been the main photographers of Alvaro Siza's work for some time now.

I discovered Hertha Hurnaus' work through 2G, and it's enjoyably exquisite. There's a certain irony and amusement in her work that goes back to  commercial and advertising roots.

Hagen Stier has a very bold modernist take on architectural photography, often inspired by subjects of similar nature. His images are brutal, clean and direct to the point.

Other photographers are strongly linked to their country's architectural output, such as Cristobal Palma (Chile), Duccio Malagamba (Spain), Nelson Kon (Brazil) and Paul Ott (Austria). The list goes on, but this might get you started.


As for myself, I still have a long journey ahead as a photographer. I find that this constant research keeps the mind open to new and different things, and helps me experiment on different photographic languages. If I find something that I'm comfortable with, it's time to move on to something different.


Cheers,
Pedro
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marcwilson
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« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2009, 02:15:45 AM »
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Also with Interiors 'lifestyle' photography as opposed to architecture, for magazines here in the UK (and Europe as far as i can tell) the trend is very much for natural lighting. Of course some artificial lighting is often used to suppliment the ambient but never to the extent that the rooms look lit. You can see the same in many advertising shots over here with the odd company whom still like their rooms/product to look lit really standing out...some think for good others for bad. So its room lights off pretty much everywhere you go, unless either an evening moody shot is required or the lighting has been designed as an intergral part of the space and needs to be shown.

I find it  really nice way to work as the 'lighting palette' is therefore already there (time of day, etc dependant) and you can then add a little here and there to complete it.

That said I've recently shot some work in a new shopping centre, tripod only, no extra lighting, during opening hours, and when the lighting in a space has been well designed, and fits perfectly with the 'architecture' it can all really sing.

Marc
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tetsuo77
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« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2009, 04:51:25 AM »
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Quote from: rethmeier
Christian Richters, most prolific architectural photographer of The Netherlands,is wrong.

He happens to be German,

Cheers,

Willem.


Yep. U bent juist. Maar ik vergat over het. Ik veronderstel hij enkel teveel tijd in Rotterdam, doorbrengt en distinctief als van pataat met pindasaus heeft. Toch?
Groetjes

Iaki
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tetsuo77
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« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2009, 04:57:35 AM »
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Quote from: Murray Fredericks
I find it hard to imagine lighting an architectural space.

Just on a level of productivity - it must take so long, cost so much and result in so many less images being delivered to the client. (edit) I guess as Rainer says below the extra time goes in getting the natural light just right. If the natural light is not right I come back...

I was always told that the architect's lighting design was central to the overall design and the last thing that they wanted was a photographer 're-lighting' their work.

Digital has been a liberation in shooting architecure without lights. Particularly in harsh Australian light (probably similar to desert light in the US) where contrast is extreme.

HDR has a good role in this, but usually as a layer thrown in with all the other bracketed exposures of a scene to draw bits from as needed.

Murray


Hye Murray.
Trust me, desert light is not that difficult.
In my [limited] experience, mediterranean light is the worst light ever for architectural work: it just washes out any colour you might ever think of, and takes so much prepping to get the shot right, that it will drive you nuts.

Completely bonkers.

God! I hate that light.
; )

On the contrary, Russia, Denmark or the Netherlands have much better natural light conditions to get spectacular shots.
As seen on magazines.

For instance: Black will most probably photograph as black in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but will have a distinctive moka hue in Barcelona.
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2009, 06:58:30 AM »
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Adam,

Would you share with me a few web sites for European photographers, other than what Pedro above suggested, that specifically indicate the "lightless" style you mentioned?

I'm afraid my "purist" approach to Landscape photography has predisposition me to working "naked".

As several have suggested, find my own style, and that may be it - Naked Architectural Photographer - think I'll copyright that.
(That's the image that would be naked, not me.)  

Jack


Quote from: adammork
I'm  a professional architectural photographer from Denmark - I often have this talk with a good colleague and dear friend of mine about the difference in European and American architectural photography on the subject light. As we sees it, the typical European Architectural photographer will not use any lights - we are here talking photography of architecture for the architects - take a look in European magazines, and books and see the difference, a good start will be, as mentioned before, "El Croquis"

Space are created with light and shadow both equally importen - architects, at least here in Scandinavia would dislike to show a space the way it's shown here, it's no longer a space, but a very well lit product like a jewel for a commercial.

I'm educated and have worked as an architect before starting photographing 8 years ago, and you can count on one hand how many times I have set up a lamp in a space.

This is not for starting a war between European and american photographers and between right and wrong :-) we are just some architectural photographers here in Europe that are amazed over the amount of light that are used in classic american architectural photography.

Very best,
Adam
« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 07:03:02 AM by Lust4Life » Logged

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