HDR has become a dirty word in professional architectural photography. We’ve all seen the over-processed HDR real estate photos where the colors and tones are off, and everything looks crispy and awful. Don’t get me wrong; tasteful HDR like the work of Trey Ratcliff as an artistic choice, now that can be cool.
At the start of 2019, one of my goals was to understand the nuances of architecture. More specifically, to understand the social issues around architecture in the urban environment. As a photographer who has been photographing architecture and interiors for a few years, I have been absorbed by the prettiness of my chosen discipline yet unaware of the social implications of architecture.
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.
It’s 2019, y’all. There is no excuse for not knowing how to use the pen tool in Photoshop. It’s an absolutely essential part of any retouching workflow for architecture photographers and I still know lots of people who struggle with it, even though it’s as easy as pie. If you haven’t mastered it already, I’m going to show you how you can learn it inside and out in one hour or less.
When I first started as an architectural photographer, one of the things I really struggled with was pricing. This seems to be a common thread for many creatives as it can be very difficult to objectively self-assess your talent, experience, and therefore, value. Some photographers charge less than minimum wage and others charge an absolute fortune for just an hour’s worth of work.
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.
Every single photographer has rescheduled a shoot due to weather – that’s just a universal truth in this profession. But I don’t think you should reschedule when bad weather is predicted – I think you should embrace it and accept whatever comes your way to create more interesting photographs.
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.
Although I do enjoy speaking about cameras, lenses, and technology, they don’t necessarily help with improving your photography. There are only three things that really matter in an image and they are, composition, lighting and, use of color. of the three, composition is king.
In my opinion, there is nothing more important than composition.