Architectural photographers for many years have lugged heavy bags and cases full of equipment worldwide. One case held the digital camera rig, bellow, stands, film holders, a loop, dark cloth and a variety of lens boards. Inside duffel bags a big tripod, light stands, gobos, gaffer tape, gels, flares and reflector cards. This was a rare breed of Architectural Photographer. They spent countless hours adjusting minute increments. Correcting vertical lines. And adjusting perspectives beneath a dark-cloth as they painstakingly checked the images sharpness. Their eyes bulged out, as their brains calculated the upside down, rotated image before them. They were forever meticulous down to the millisecond of natural light necessary for the right exposure.
Eventually, a film holder will be positioned in the shoot as they lifted the A-slide revealing the film towards the inner belly in the 4×5 camera. A press in the plunger cord opened the aperture to its precise coordinates letting light gradually fall throughout the film before closing it off. Next the A-slide was pushed down you flipped the film holder, opened the B-slide and exposed the 2nd sheet of film. Repeating as necessary until you felt you had the shot. Before moving your camera gear to another place to set it up all up again and fire off a couple of sheets of film.
Fast-forward 200 years into the digital era of photography and you will find a new type of architectural photographer. Will no longer strapped to a film case and two sheets. No more strapped down to an eye-loop beneath a dark cloth, architectural photographers are starting to devise new strategies using software interfaces. They may be no more without having a darkroom as your digital darkroom in the form of a laptop computer can be by your side during every shoot.
The initial aspect to be taken into account not just in architectural photography will be the light. Lights can do magic by working on the shadows and also the texture in the building. Attracting the right contrast is exactly what the photographer aims to work at. Remember you are designed to accentuate those features of the building which will allow it to be look magnificent. Choosing the right lens is essential. You should judge whether or not the building would look best in a fish’s eye lens or even a panoramic view. Considering how it is sometimes challenging to get a whole building in a lens, it might be an essential decision to select the right lens. Should you be getting a shot in the interiors of the building make sure the white balance is established right.
It is crucial you have a great idea of which geometric shapes are complimented by which weather. Your primary task is to get the appearance of the property right. For this particular you have to break the structure up mentally and find out which the perfect angle that compliments your building is. In case you are planning to click the skyline at nighttime it is a good idea to place the buildings between you and also direct sunlight. You need to have a great idea of how the reflections from the building would look. There are several amazing photographs with all the shadow play from the building. You must also be adept to get the right images in each and every weather.
Today’s architectural photographer is still carrying much more tons of gear with their shoots but it is much simpler when all of your tools are neatly packed inside your cargo van. Inside an architectural photographer’s van you can find a personal computer, extension cords, halogen lights, gobos, gaffer tape, light stands, halogen bulbs and a digicam. The exception here is whether you choose to shoot a high-end Dslr, a medium format camera with digital back or perhaps a converted 4×5 field camera with digital back. Now you have the power of an electronic environment.
Amazing results are close at hand thanks to this digital environment. You are no more subjected to weather because you can shoot using halogen lights at anytime in the daytime, evening or night. Your image capture holds everything on the high-resolution digital file. That you simply now drop onto your desktop computer, adjusting files and parameters composing a mofpbm image from fifty or even a hundred layers to create a magnificent composite image your client will marvel over. And rehire you, again and again.
Something every architectural photographer always says is prepare for the unexpected. On the clear Arizonian evening we set up fifteen halogen lights, a Hasselblad camera with digital back and our computer. We had extension cords coming out of every light socket possible. Right before sunset somewhat of a breeze kicked up. Adding sandbags we quickly secured taller lights. Ten minutes later just like we had been about to shoot, it began to rain. Since it started, we ran around unplugging each of the cords then grabbing light stands, dropping the halogens and moving them to the garage. Once we had moved all of them we had been soaked and half the light bulbs had popped. Unfortunately for people this shoot had to be canceled. But as Ann Landers once wrote, “Nobody says you need to laugh, but feelings of humor will help you disregard the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, manage the unexpected, and smile with the day.”