Taken from a tripod, multiple bracketed exposures can be combined into a single high dynamic range (HDR) photo using Adobe Lightroom. This technique works especially well for night photos.
At Cline Design, we have worked with contractors, architects and subcontractors from across North America for nearly three decades. For many of the services we deliver (website creation and implementation, blogs, newsletters, brochures, project profiles, RFQs, etc.), we rely upon our clients to supply us with photography.
Nothing complements effective digital or printed material better than pleasing, well-executed photos. However, photographing buildings and architectural features presents some unique challenges that must be addressed to achieve great shots.
If you are located in the northern climes, you probably aren't thinking too much about outdoor photography right now. However, it will soon be spring and time to go take those shots you've been waiting all winter to take. Below are four ways to ensure your architectural photography will show off the finer aspects of the structure:
1. Plan the photo shoot. Often projects are distant from the office and time is precious. It makes sense to schedule more than one location shoot at a time to maximize the time out of the office. Talking to your job superintendents about the state of landscaping and construction debris might warrant a postponement to another day.
2. Scout the site. Take some time to walk around and look at the building from many different angles. Even a small change in camera placement can make a huge difference in the shot. Knowing where the sun will be at the time you want to shoot is very important; doubly so if using a point-and-shoot camera or a cell phone. Being on the shadow side of the building with the sun in your face will be a problem. Try to keep the sun behind you or at a 45˚ angle to the building. A quick look at the site plans and some local knowledge can go along way to getting good shots efficiently once in the field.
A change in camera angle can sometimes make all the difference. Here, reframing the shot put the buildings into proper perspective and keeps the power lines out of the photo.
3. Once on site, don’t rush. When you are ready to begin shooting, take the time to see if there are any objects or people that might ruin the photo. The porta-potties might be gone but parked cars, dumpsters and the like should be noted and shot angles planned to keep these out of the frame. When framing shots, it is good to leave a little extra room around the sides of the building to allow for perspective adjustments when the photos are processed.
4. Certain times of the day can produce magical results. Early morning with the sun coming up or early evening with a colorful sunset can make for a great photo. Generally, at these times there are empty parking lots, and exterior lighting could still be illuminated. During these low-light conditions, shooting hand-held can be difficult without camera movement blurring the shot. A rolled-up coat can make a steady camera rest when releasing the shutter. Look closely at the photos as you go along to make sure the images are sharp, and reshoot if needed.
All this sounds like a lot to remember, but with time it becomes second nature. The reward is becoming more efficient while taking far better photos that showcase your projects and your team's hard work.
Cline Design, LLC has a 29-year history of creating effective B2B print, design and inbound marketing strategies for the commercial/industrial construction industry.
We design websites, create strategic marketing plans, develop relevant content, manage social media channels and perform SEO for clients throughout North America. We also offer the Construction Break newsletter service for general contractors, construction managers and the trades.
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