I never thought I’d type the words “competition heats up in tiny geared head market” but alas, competition is heating up in the tiny geared head market. In a space that has been dominated by Manfrotto and Arca Swiss for, as far as I can tell, decades, new competitors are beginning to pop up – one of which is Chinese company LeoFoto, who recently announced their G2 geared head which seems to be a direct shot across the bow of Arca Swiss.
Anybody who photographs buildings knows about geared heads; they are simply the foundation upon which we build our images. For as long as I’ve been a photographer, Arca Swiss has set the gold standard in high quality geared heads and they recently announced an addition to their lineup: The Core 75 Leveler, which appears to slot nicely between the C1 Cube and Core 60 Leveler.
Styling and propping is important for every architectural photo, and as anyone who’s photographed on location knows, some things are out of our control – such as the weather, the wind, the quality of construction, and the angle at which doors are installed.
Bare with me…this is an easy trick and costs nothing, assuming you already own some $3.99 A-clamps.
Have you ever spent the day on location only to return home to go through the day’s work and realize that some of the images have motion blur? This is probably one of the most annoying little things you may encounter when starting to work as an architecture or interiors photographer. Frustratingly, it’s not easily detectable on the back of your camera screen unless you zoom all the way into the image, and even then can be invisible, so it’s something you need to make sure you catch while shooting tethered which isn’t always possible.
Every year now, Apple releases a new iPhone with a slightly better camera and slightly better features. From a year on year perspective, the differences aren’t significant. However, if you compare what the first few iPhone cameras were capable of versus now, the difference is huge.
Fujifilm is currently my favorite camera company within the photography industry. I find that they’re one of the very few companies that properly pushing the boundaries and delivering feature-filled cameras at very reasonable prices. The Fujifilm X-T3, for example, is incredible value for money.
There are many situations where the 24mm TS (Nikon or Canon) — our standard lens for architectural photography — isn’t quite long enough. Maybe you want to make a detailed vignette. Maybe you’d like to hide the side of a building which doesn’t look so great. You may need to do the opposite and highlight something important that requires a different focal length than 24mm.
I can appreciate that many of you may assume I’m simply trying to trigger photographers with this article and its “clickbait” title. That is honestly not my intention because I firmly believe in what I’m about to discuss and I’m going to explain why I think what I do.
Whenever a new camera is released with a higher resolution sensor, the common subject that tends to come up is about how we’re back to the megapixels war.
For me, one of the more boring and monotonous things I have to do is post production. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy producing the results, it’s just the basic things I need to do for almost every image before it’s ready to be properly edited in Photoshop that drag me down. For a lot of images I still use Lightroom and this is where I find a lot of time is being spent.
Over the past few years, my gear bag has been reduced to the absolute bare minimum. This is to make my traveling life easier, to reduce weight so my herniated disc doesn’t flare up every third minute, and to keep breakage and repair troubles far away – after all, the less things there are to break, the less things break.
Cameras like the Phase One XF system and the Hasselblad H6D offer some the largest commercially available digital sensors currently on the market. Generally speaking, larger sensors tend to offer better image quality; this isn’t explicitly true but for the most part, it’s what most people experience.
As architectural photographers, the main types of lenses we use are tilt-shift lenses. They’re simply incredible for the kind of work we do and the control they offer make them indispensable. The main issue with these lenses, however, is the fact they cost quite a lot of money especially if you’re aiming to have the full set.
Tilt-shift lenses are by far my favorite types of lenses; they offer so much versatility, especially when you’re shooting architecture… I wouldn’t shoot with any other type of lens! However, up until recently I had never actually compared the results you can produce with a dedicated tilt-shift lens vs correcting distortion from a conventional lens in post.
For architectural photography, I highly recommend you buy and use a tilt-shift lens. Personally, I prefer Canon because I firmly believe they make the best. Tilt-shift lenses are brilliant because they allow you to correct perspective; which is extremely important for the kind of work we do.
Architectural photography isn’t exactly the cheapest profession to get into. The amount of money that we invest in building this particular kind of business is significantly greater than many other genres of photography. Unfortunately, the current price of tilt-shift lenses doesn’t help very much in this regard.
One of the things that I’ve struggled with as an architectural photographer is managing color. This is especially true when shooting interiors because most interiors tend to have a wide range of different colors and shades. For a long time, I’ve been using the ColorChecker Passport and recently X-Rite released their new version 2; so I decided to cover this subject again.
There are really only two tripod heads to consider if you want to use the best of the best: the Arca Swiss D4 and the Arca Swiss C1 Cube. The worst thing about them is you’re spending over a thousand dollars on something that doesn’t actually make you a better photographer, but the best thing about them is that they make it so much easier to take pictures I don’t even know how I’d begin to go back to the cheaper options.