Thursday, July 19, 2007

Architectural Photography

Architectural photography is amazing. A single image can take hours to set up, then hours to shoot. The photographer is trying to match what they eye sees and what the architect envisioned when he/she designed the lighting.


Each set of lights gets its own exposure and must be balanced for color. On film that requires a lot of testing and calculations. Experience really comes into play. Imagine testing exposure via light meter and Polaroid for each set of lights, one at a time, knowing what the color temperature is of each, and what filtration and filter factor for each. Oh, and add in reciprocity issues, because exposures can last for seconds up to an hour. Then try to bracket all that onto several sheets of film. It’s not unusual for one image to take an entire night to make

Architecture has many attractions for the new photographer. Buildings don't usually move much, are generally fairly easy to find and will seldom complain when you try to take a picture - or at the results. However it's main attraction has to be an interest in the built environment. We all live in buldings, most of us work in them, see them every day.


Despite this, buildings are difficult to photograph well, presenting a number of challenges that make life interesting for the photographer. It is often very hard to produce exciting images that make your work stand out from other people.
Technically it can also be a demanding area. Professional photographers of architecture usually work with medium or large-format cameras, producing work of high technical quality. With a 35mm camera you cannot hope to equal this, but you can certainly produce respectable images, and may well have the advantage of a wider choice of focal lengths giving more precise framing.
This feature will look at the subject for people with an interest in photographing buildings using ordinary photo equipment, whether film or digital. However it will at times mention the increased potential of professional equipment.

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