photography

10 Architectural Photoshop Tips

Post production photo editing is fairly common, particularly if you plan to use the photography in your home, share it with friends and family or put it in a photo album.  I do all my post production in Adobe Photoshop but there is similar software available which will do many of the following tips.  If you shoot with RAW images you will have more ability to adjust the photo, these tips are applicable for standard JPEGs.

1.  Save as

Before I start any photo editing it is a good idea to save the photo with a different name so you can always go back to the original if you need it in the future.  Normally I just add a letter to the end of the photo name this way it is filed next to the original and I can easily find which photo is the original.

2.  Rotate

Sometimes your photo may need slight rotation because the strong lines of the building are too straight.  It is a good idea to make use of the guides to check on the alignment with the photo’s edge, just click on the rulers and drag.   Another method of adjusting the alignment is using the ruler tool.   Rotate – make sure the horizon is correct or vertical is perfect.

Drag the ruler along the line you wish to be vertical > Image Menu > Image Rotation > Arbitrary
Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
image, Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba Spain, slight rotation counter-clockwise.  

3.  Crop

Composition is arguably the most important element of architectural photography.  I recommend cropping immediately so you are only working on and looking at the final photograph size and content.  Be careful to crop to a size that is proportional to what the photo will be used for, in other words, if you plan to print 4×6 photos the cropping should be in proportion or if you plan to upload to Instagram your photo needs to be a square proportion.

Spertus Museum

image, Spertus Museum Chicago, cropped into a square for instagram

 

4.  Defog

I only recently discovered this feature, which will save you lots of time mucking around with the curves and levels.  This function will remove the fog and haze in your photo and can make a big difference.  Below if the suggested amounts however sometimes the percentage needs to increase.

Filter Menu > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask > Enter Amount 14%, Radius 40 pixels, and Threshold 0 levels

Stone wall in Turkey

image, stone wall Turkey, unsharpen mask set to 40%/40/0

5.  Contrast

The Brightness/Contrast allows for changes to the tonal range of the entire photo. The brightness slider expands or decreases the highlights or shadows while the contrast slider expands or decreases the tonal values in the overall image.

Layer Menu > New adjustment layer > Brightness/Contrast > Click OK

Prudential (Guaranty) Building

image, Prudential (Guaranty) Building Buffalo, brightness decreased and contrast increased

6.  Hue and Saturation

This tool is easily fine tunes the hue and saturation your photos.  The Hue slider will alter the entire photos range of colour, this is good for effects such as adjusting the photo from colour to black and white or effects such as sepia.  The saturation slider is great for making your photos more vivid or muted.

Layer Menu > New adjustment layer > Hue/Saturation  > Click OK

Scottsdale Arabian Library

image, Scottsdale Arabian Library Arizona, saturation was decreased and hue adjusted slightly

7.  Levels

The levels tool uses the histogram of the photo to adjust the tonal range of its brightness and contrast which is accomplished by selecting the black, white and midtones will be on the histogram.  A rule of thumb is the histogram should typically extend the entire width of the graph; however the image should be previewed while making adjustments.

Layer Menu > New adjustment layer > Levels > Click OK

Museum of Civilization

image, Museum of Civilization Ottawa, slider was taken in for both the white and black based on histogram 

8.  Curves

Curves are an intimidating tool however it is one of the most powerful tools for adjusting your photography’s tonal range.  The graph begins with a straight diagonal line which represents the image’s tonality, the upper right are the highlights, the lower-left are the shadows.  Adjusting the RGB can be done in several ways, I encourage playing around with the tool to practice how it can be utilized.  I typically use this when photographing white interiors; it is sometimes difficult to achieve a crisp white when the majority of the content is white.

Layer Menu > New adjustment layer > Curves > Click OK

Guggenheim Museum

image, Guggenheim Museum New York City, curve adjusted to increase the highlights and make building more white

9.  Shadows / Highlights

Unlike many of the other tools in photoshop the Shadows / Highlight tool will adjust strong backlighting or areas washed out from over exposure separate from the rest of the picture.  Practice adjusting the different slider options to see how they will affect your photo.  Be sure to click on ‘Show more options’ to get full use of the tool.  Be careful to use this tool lightly since it can easily result in an artificial

Filter Menu > Convert for Smart Filters > Click OK > Image Menu > Adjustments > Shadows / Highlights

The Beekman

image, The Beekman New York City, the shadows and highlight sliders were adjusted to suit (some deletion of adjacent buildings using the clone tool)

10.  Correct Morie Effect

Moiré pattern typically occurs when a repetitive lines or dots occur in a tight pattern and thus create a third pattern.  for example, horizontal or vertical wood slats, frit patterns on glass, sun shades, fences, and so on, the repetition exceeds the camera’s sensor resolution.  How much morie effect you will encounter in your photography has a lot to do with your camera and lens design, it is a common issue with digital SLRs.   A few tips to avoid the issue while shooting is to increase the pixels per square inch, shoot in RAW,  change the angle or distance you are shooting from.  If morie effect still occurs it can be corrected or reduced in post production.

Use the Lasso tool to select the morie pattern > Filter Menu > Blur > Gaussian Blur (do not to use the defog tool it will likely more the morie pattern worse)

New Amsterdam Pavilion

image, New Amsterdam Pavilion New York City, increased Gaussian blur to 1.4 pixels

 

These tools all have their place in post production photography but it is important to to learn when each tool is needed, you will not need to use all of them.  It is also best to spend time to perfect your photographing skills to reduce the amount of post production work necessary,  No Photoshop work is the goal.  So do not over do it and try to use these tools to subtly help improve your photography not drastically alter it.

 

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Try HDR for your Architectural Photography

HDR is an awesome photo technique so if you haven’t tried it in your architectural photography you should. 

I am going to give you the 101 on HDR. 

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a post-processing method of taking a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.

HDR compensates for this loss of detail of overexposed and underexposed areas in a photo by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and stitching them together to produce a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas in computer software during post-production.

The reason HDR creates such amazingly realistic photos is because a single image uses only one shutter speed and one aperture setting however the human eye does not process images the same way.  Your eyes move and adjust the light as required and does a lot to process an image accurately.  So even with the best equipment getting an accurate representation of what you saw is difficult.  HDR stitches all the images together – a trick to accurately represent and image.  Many times HDR is exaggerated in post-production – this effect is no for everyone or appropriate for all pictures so balancing the effect with your desired outcome is where the challenge lies.  Some examples of HDR from www.stuckincustoms.com:

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What you need:

1.  MANUAL CAMERA

A camera which can be put into manual mode, likely a DSLR or SLR, because you will need to be able to adjust your exposure (I have the Canon 4Ti which is an inexpensive camera with lots of features).  Most DSLRs have Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) which allows you to set the exposure easily and the photo will take the photos and adjust automatically.  If you are not sure check your camera’s manual.  Some of the newest cameras have an HDR feature but this does all the work for you and you will have no control over the final output – do a comparison to see if you are happy with the results.  Also, I would recommend taking the photos in RAW+JPEG but if you are low on memory or can’t shoot in the RAW it is fine (Shooting in RAW just gives more post production control).

2.  TRIPOD

A tripod is important to maintain the exact same shot with different exposures.  There are so many tripods out there and the price range is significant the Manfrotto 410 is an awesome tripod because of all the leveling features and stability but there are less expensive tripods on the market.  For the purpose of HDR you just need to keep the camera still so a basic tripod and you can adjust and straighten your photo in post-production.  It is also recommended to have a camera remote (canon rs-60e3) which prevents the camera from shaking when you press the shoot button.  If you are traveling and want to pack light just use the timer on your camera so you press the button and there is a short delay before the camera goes off.

Manfrotto tripod

3.  POWER & MEMORY

Taking HDR is requires taking multiple shots for every one photo, usually 3 or 5 but if you are very particular or need a really perfect image you can do more with less exposure range between them.  Thus you will be going through your batteries and memory 3 or 5 times faster, something to prepare for if you are taking a trip.  Note:  if you are planning a trip soon try this technique before you go so you don’t miss a great photo.

4.  THE SUBJECT

The image should not be in motion, repetitive motion is fine for example a waterfall but people walking will result in ghosting – which can be a cool effect but may not be what you want.  If you are shooting architecture this shouldn’t be a problem.  Also, you will likely see the most noticeable improvement in photos where the subject has with lots of color, HDR can be used for monochromatic photography however I found the benefits less apparent.

5.  SOFTWARE

There are a number of software programs available to do the HDR post-production, I always use Adobe Photoshop but this is pretty expensive software, an alternate I have been hearing about is called Photomatrix.

For more research check out this review of HDR software Top 10 Best HDR Software Review 2012

  

OKAY – now you are ready to begin, it is easy

  1. Setup your camera on a tripod as you would for any photo
  2. Using the AEB function set three exposure levels appropriate to your setting with one begin the correct exposure (you can add more exposures as you practice).  You can meter the dark and light spots to find the right exposure range.  If you do not have AEB you will need to adjust the exposure manually after each shot but be careful not to move the camera.
  3. Take the photos, depending on your camera you will either press the shot button once or will need to do it for each shot.
  4. Bring your images into the post-production software and have fun, play around with the features and the light levels. The process will depend on the software you choose, if you are using Photoshop this YouTube video will help you see the process:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhnd1oNlqCU

13 + 2Untitled_HDR2

You will never say

“Well, you really had to be there” again

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Architectural Photographers that will leave you speechless

Hisao Suzuki Photography

Sometimes the architecture is the star of the photograph  other-times the architecture is the subject and the photograph is the showstopper.  Noteworthy  architectural photographers,  Ezra Stoller, Iwan Baan,  Lucien HervéJulius Shulman, Erieta Attali, and Hisao Suzuki capture architecture that will leave you speechless by the sheer fact that they are amazing photographers.  Architectural photography on occasion is so powerful in their representation their images will forever represent the building’s the photograph.

Architectural photography is an art which two-dimensionally represents the essence of the three-dimensional built form and the architect’s idea and vision.  We can aspire to their work and look at their talent not just as a mastery of technique but also a unique and insightful way they see space, light and lines.  Their photos and career inspire my architectural photography i hope you take a moment to notice the talent of this small collection of images which represent architecture in a magical way.

Ezra Stoller Photography

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Ezra Stoller was born in Chicago, 1915, but grew up in New York.  When he was a student he photographed buildings, models and sculpture. In 1942 he was drafted to work as a photographer for the Army Signal Corps Photo Center. Stoller had a long architectural photography career, working closely with Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Meier, Paul Rudolph, Marcel Breuer, I.M. Pei, Gordon Bunshaft and Mies van der Rohe.

Many modern buildings are known by the iconic images Stoller created due to his talent at visualizing the formal and spatial aspirations of modernist architecture. In 1960 Ezra Stoller was awarded a medal for his photography, the first time the American Institute of Architects awarded a medal for architectural photography.

Ezra Stoller’s photographs are published in countless books and magazines:

Ezra Stoller received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1998 and died in 2004 in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

http://www.esto.com/ezrastoller.aspx

Iwan Baan Photography

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Iwan Baan was born in 1975 and raised outside of Amsterdam, he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and worked in New York and Europe in publishing and documentary photography.

In 2005 he proposed that he document a project by OMA to Rem Koolhaas. The documentation of the construction and completion of OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) building and National Olympic Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron’s in Beijing led to his career in architectural photography.   Since he has photographed work by Frank Gehry, SANAA, Morphosis, Steven Holl, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Toyo Ito and Zaha Hadid.

His work is characterized by the portrayal of people in the architecture, the context, society and environment around architecture.

Books featuring Iwan Baan’s photography:

http://www.iwan.com/iwan_index.php

Lucien Hervé Photography

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Lucien Hervé was born in László Elkán, Hungry, and died in Paris at the age of 26.  Known primarily for his architectural photography of Le Corbusier.

“Lucien Hervé is one of the rare photographers to combine a humanist outlook with an architect’s eye. His characteristic style of cropped frames, plunging or oblique views, and pared-down compositions tending toward abstraction distinguish his work from that of his contemporaries.”

Books on Lucien Hervé:

http://www.lucienherve.com/

Julius Shulman Photography

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Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) was an American architectural photographer known for his photographs of the California modern architecture movement such as the iconic shots of the Case Study House #22, Frank Lloyd Wright’s or Pierre Koenig’s remarkable structures, have been published countless times.

“The clarity of his work demanded that architectural photography had to be considered as an independent art form. Each Shulman image unites perception and understanding for the buildings and their place in the landscape. The precise compositions reveal not just the architectural ideas behind a building’s surface, but also the visions and hopes of an entire age. A sense of humanity is always present in his work, even when the human figure is absent from the actual photographs.”

Many of the buildings photographed by Shulman have since been demolished or re-purposed, lending to the popularity of his images.  His vast library of images currently reside at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Books on Julius Shulman:

http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/shulman-photographs/

Erieta Attali Photography

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Erieta Attali was born in Tel Aviv in 1966 and studied Photography at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.
Her talents are proven by her awards including Fulbright Artist Award in Architectural Photography, the Japan Foundation Artist Fellowship,  and the Graham Foundation Grant, Chicago.

Attali’s career as an architectural photographer began by working internationally, being published in various books of architecture and periodicals and being exhibited in major museums and institutions.  From 1992 to 2002 she worked in the field of Archaeological Photography.  From 2003 she has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architectural Photography at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.

Work of Erieta Attali:

http://www.erietaattali.com/

Hisao Suzuki Photography

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Hisao Suzuki was born in 1957 in Yamagata, Japan. He studied at the Tokyo College of Photography and moved to Barcelona in 1982 to observe the work of Anotnio Gaudi, where he still resides, becoming immersed in contemporary architecture.

Suzuki is currently the principal photographer for the architectural journal El Croquis.

“A photographer may take one of two stances: either demonstrate a work within its reality and its environment, or demonstrate the image of the work that the photographer himself has created. In Suzuki’s case the former is true, for his work is a true testimony and documentation of reality.”

http://www.nuaa.es/eng/hisao.html

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10 Architectural Photography Tips

We are always looking to improve our architectural photography skills to get the best architecture photos possible.  Here are a few ideas and tips based on my experience and research to keep in mind the next time you are visiting your favorite modern and contemporary architecture.

1.  Closeup vs. Far Away

Sears Tower closeup   Sears Tower from afar

When photographing buildings from closeup they can sometimes appear to be sloping backwards – sometimes this can be corrected in Photoshop however if possible try moving farther away from the building and use a telephone lens this will correct the distortion and result in much straighter lines.  Notice the difference in the two Chicago  skyscrapers above, the photo to the left is taken from a much closer with a wide angle lens and the photo to the left from a boat with a telephoto lens – the end result is dramatically different.

2.  Foreground and Background

Design Sight

Including an interesting foreground such as plants, people, or cars can help contrast the building lines and form.  A background such as trees, clouds, other buildings can do the same.  Be sure to keep the focus on the architecture by adjusting your depth of field.  The photo of 21-21 Design Sight in Tokyo by Tadao Ando is framed by textured vegetation which contrasts the strong straight lines of the building roof and glazing.

3.  Silhouettes

Istanbul Mosque

At dusk or dawn you can try having fun with silhouettes.  Some buildings have wonderful and distinct forms which can be understood even without all the details.  In Istanbul the beautiful mosques have minuets and domes that can be clearly read even as a silhouette, photo above.

4.  The Essence

Elevator

Capture the essence of the space.  This old and wonderful elevator in Prague was an accidental find – a photo without displaying its movement would not be the same. Experiment with shutter speeds to get the amount of blur you are happy with.  A few other ideas is intentionally overexposing or underexposing these can be great effects if done in the right space to capture the mood of the architecture.

5.  Lines

BCE Place - Toronto Architecture 2   Colourful architecture

Architectural photography is often about lines, angles, details, colors, shapes and materials and textures, exploit what you believe the most important element of the building.  To keep your lines straight be sure to turn on your camera grids on this is also helpful for following the Rule of Thirds.  Straightening out your lines can also be done in the post production phase (I frequently rotate and crop photos in Photoshop).

6.  Sky

machu picchu

A big blue sky is great but it can be boring.  On my trip to Machu Picchu I was disappointed when I awoke to a rainy overcast day however I realized this fog and rain added a lot of mystery and drama to my photo, above.

Clouds / Overcast / Fog / Sun – use light and its qualities to your advantage no matter what it is.

7.  Location and Approach

IMG_3440

There are so many buildings where the approach and procession to it is worth documenting.

Build the suspense – don’t give it all away.

8.  Night and Light

Prada - Tokyo     IMG_7852

Don’t be afraid to capture architecture at night, you will likely need a tripod but a building can completely transform from day to night and that night shot may be amazing.  Architects spend a lot of time planning what a building will look like at night.  These photos are more challenging my suggestion is turn off your flash and increase your ISO and aperture, also I also try to get these photos just after sunset when the lights are on but it is not complete darkness  – again a tripod is crucial for a perfect night photo!

9.  Abstract

Royal Ontario Museum - Toronto Architecture 2

You don’t need to get the whole building, editing can result in an abstract photo emphasizing architectural elements and strong features.  The ROM by Daniel Libeskind, above, is made of sloping jagged forms – I tried to focus on that aspect of the architecture only and cutting out all the other elements on the building.

10.  Unexpected & Dramatic

John Hancock - Chicago    Looking up Ginger's Skirt

Many times the most interesting architecture photos are when they are taken from an angle you would not expect or think of.  On the left is Frank Gehry’s ‘Fred & Ginger’ building in Prague when was looking at this building I was more interested in understanding how the glass was being supported but I soon noticed I was in fact looking up Ginger’s ‘skirt’ so i took advantage of the unexpected photo opportunity.  The photo on the left is the John Hancock Building in Chicago, I love the form of this building and the drama of standing at its base.

Resources:

Here are two photography resources I have found very helpful:

photo.tutsplus.com/

theartofphotography.tv/episodes/

Coming soon:

Tips on how to take a great PANORAMA and HDR photo

how to document your architecture experience

how to document your architecture experience…. video, photo, words, sketch, writing…

There are so many ways to capture your experience of architecture.  Each method offers different benefits as well as different levels of authenticity.  A photograph or video can be thought to come closest to reality however even they are subjective and are not exact replications after all photography replicates a 3-dimensional object in 2-dimensions and weakly represents movement and time, video can do that but still lacks documenting the many other senses we use to describe architecture (related topic:  How do we EXPERIENCE ARCHITECTURE).  So how can we authentically represent our architectural experiences?

Simple – we don’t…

There are two main filters our experience of architecture will go through before it can be documented:  our personal subjectivity and the media we choose to represent it

Subjectivity is our interpretation, understanding and opinion of space and architecture which can be highly influenced by the personal experience you have at that given time.  How we understand and perceive space can vary greatly from one person to the next.  Projects which create strong reaction, both positive and negative are successful, in my opinion, because they hit a nerve and force viewers to stop and think a minute.  Good architecture can make you ultra-aware of the space you are in and the moment so your reaction and impression of the architecture is just as important to capture as the architecture itself.

Selecting a media to document will edit what you can represent and how you choose to document the experience says so much about what your perception is.  Have fun and be creative with your documentation, exploring will help you learn and enjoy the architecture in a deeper and richer sense.  Here are some suggestions to help you think twice about just taking a photo:

VIDEO:

Helps to capture the sounds and movement through the spaces

SKETCH:

In colour or pencil, with pens or markers, Fast or slow, accurate or free, scribbles or lines, shaded or outlines

messy sketch, done fast, i like the curve of this building so i just looked at representing that moment in the building.

i took a bit more time with this sketch and trying to use strong continuous lines to describe the architectural details

PHOTOS:

Architectural Photography can serve several objectives, knowing what your objective is will produce a collection of photos that will be useful for you in the future and will help direct your photographic decisions while on site.

See my previous post:  The Intention of Architectural Photography

WORDS:

words that describe the space and how you feel – these don’t need to be full sentences
describe the materials, use adjectives

WRITE:

journal entries such as the ones I have posted online help recall specific moments that can be forgotten.

architectural travel entry: one

architectural travel entry: two

architectural travel entry: three

architectural travel entry: four

architectural travel entry: five

architectural travel entry: six

SOUND CLIPS:

Document your thoughts while you walking around (you can get an app for your smartphone, there are even programs that can transcript them for you.
Sound clips are also great to capture music or acoustic qualities

COLLAGE:

Use objects you have found to represent the architecture

  • this is a crude collage i made of a restaurant i went to in Prague, the waiter took us through a maze of small dinning rooms and corridors before we were seated. I still don’t know how we found my way out

OTHER:

I used a thick piece of lead to telegraphy the pattern of leaves from the concrete facade of this building.

I like to collect all the tickets and booklets – they come in handy to help remember all the great places i visited and on what day.

The options are endless… it is your subjectivity and selected media that makes the documentation of your architectural experiences an artistic expression.

If you have any other suggestions please share it with us.

 

 

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The Intention of Architectural Photography

Architectural Photography can serve several objectives, knowing what your objective is will produce a collection of photos that will be useful for you in the future and will help direct your photographic decisions while on site.

Postcard photography: Visiting Modern Architecture

Many buildings have a particular view-point which is easily recognizable and widely documented.  This type of photography typically aims at getting a snap shot of the building from its most recognizable vantage point.  These photos do not require a lot of creativity but rather serve as a kind of proof that you visited the building.  Often people stand in front of the structure as further evidence of their presence.  These are fun and can be used in your slide shows or on social media platforms to show friends and family you were there.

 Visiting Ronchamp – there i am standing in front of the most notable angle of the building

Documentary Architectural Photography:

This is a method of photography where the photos sever to document the architecture in the most truthful means possible.  This type of photography would not implement any personal artistic expression but rather try to utilize as much technical skills to replicate the building’s specific design qualities.

Fred and Ginger by Frank Gehry, this photo represents what the building looks like in its context without any artistic interpretation.

Detail Photography:

This is an important type of photography for those who are very interested in the tectonics of architecture.  These photos focus on how materials come together and on the minute details that represent the whole building.  Mies said “God is in the Detail” these photos embody that principle.  I value these photos the most because they are very difficult to find and are not publically documented often.  They are typically more useful for architects or others in the industry for detailing ideas and should be catalogued well (for tips on cataloguing photos).

I really liked how this handrail felt – so I took a photo for my records

Collection Photography:

Some people enjoy collecting images of a particular architectural element from many different buildings sometimes from all over the world and compiling them into a collection.  Similar to a stamp collection, the architectural element is taken out of its context for review and comparison.  These collections are very always very interesting because they are so focused and by this repetitive comparison you can really begin to distinguish the minute differences in the architectural comparison.  I recommend trying this sometime.

In Peru I was fascinated with the different construction methods of the stone walls, here are a couple from my series. 

Journalistic photography:

This type of photography tells a story about the building.  It requires more attention to the architectural function and often the interaction of people in the space.  Journalistic architectural photography can humanize a building or do the opposite but it will require the photographer to be very conscious of how they want the photo will be interpreted.

As i walked under the building canopy and looked up the ‘skirt of Ginger’.  This photo represents that moment where the building transformed from playful to knotty. 

Artistic Architectural Photography:

Your artistic expression in architectural photography can be the most fun for those who enjoy photography professionally or as a hobby.  The architecture is the subject matter but the photo is really an expression of the photographer and not the architect (unlike the documentary style).  There are endless ways to be artistic with architectural photography however your interpretation of the architecture is the real purpose and at the forefront of the photograph.

This photo of Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, crops out much of the building and focuses on what i thought to be the most beautiful elements of the building: the slight curved wall composed colorfully stripping rammed earth and the long horizontal window. 
Next time you are photographing architecture think about the photos purpose….

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How to Catalog your Architectural Photography

Architectural photography

Now with all our digital cameras we can take hundreds or thousands of pictures while traveling and visiting architecture and if they are not cataloged well how can you ever find anything or make use of all those great ideas and inspiration.  These are ways I have cataloged my architectural photography which have been helpful and made it easy to find what I need when I need it.

By location:

This is fairly easy – starting at a large scale and working our way to a smaller scale.  I begin with a folder of the country and then subfolders of each city and often within this folder I will also catalog by building if there are a significant amount of pictures.  It is nice to put the date after the tiles so if you return to that place the pictures are separated by date.  See example below

Main folder:  Japan – 2008.03

Subfolder:  Tokyo – 2008.03.05 to 2008.03.10

Sub-Subfolder:  Prada – 2008.03.08

Subfolder:  Tokyo – 2008.03.20 to 2008.03.22

Sub-Subfolder:  Mori Art Museum – 2008.03.20

Best of:

I always make a ‘Best of’ folder.  These are your best shots that can easily be turned into a slideshow in moments and don’t all have to be about architecture, I try to limit the photos in this folder to 200 maximum – this pushes the attention span of my audiences.  I usually upload these to Flickr or Picasa to share with friends and family in other cities.  This is just a great go to folder.

By Category:

If you use your architectural photography for other purposes such as work, like me, I recommend replicating these photos and placing them in folders by category.  Those quick snap shots can come in handy but if they are not organized by appropriate categories they will be hard to find and remember.  Here are some examples:

  • Architectural elements: ie. doors, staircase, windows
  • Architect
  • Building Type: ie. Museum, Office, Retail
  • Detail: ie. roof, cladding, materials,
  • Architectural Style

Picasa

Picasa is free downloadable software by Google.  It makes viewing you photos easy.  The features are extensive, a few at the top of my list are:

  • photo editing
  • web albums which can be shared through the internet
  • keywords can be added to images which are later searchable
  • movie maker

Here is a quick 5min video to quickly learn the basic features (a bit dated but helpful for the basics) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rskC6c_5L1M

Note:  Picasa 3.9 has removed the buttons to get them back just go to Tools > Configure Buttons and add them to the bottom

However you choose to organize your architectural photography do not forget to backup your pictures!  I have lost a lot of photos because I didn’t back up and it was devastating.

An organized GROUPIE is a happy one.

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