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.
When it comes to negotiations, as a photographer (or any freelance artist, for that matter) you’ve got to master the art of not being emotionally invested in the outcome – something that is nearly impossible to do. But without it, you’ll never be able to break free of difficult clients and underpaid gigs.
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.
D Asks: How does one find out exactly who owns / manages a building? Ask your client if they know, or know someone who knows. Failing that, walk inside and speak to whoever is at the front desk. Make up a good story, or tell the truth, depending on the neighborhood you’re in, and get a business card of someone you can contact.
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.
Any photographer who has tried to take pictures in any moderately urban environment is familiar: the security guard, keeping us safe from the “terrorists” with cameras, protecting the interests of “the man” from purported “liabilities,” and whatever other nonsense boogeyman they’ve dreamt up that doesn’t exist.
R asks: When trying to expand and grow your network and brand as a photographer, do you think “mailers” with a small handwritten note can work or what do you suggest to getting more clients to work with you?
In the past I think this worked, today, not so much. An email introduction done right and not done creepily is all you need.
Getting paid to travel is simultaneously the single most amazing thing and single most overrated thing about being a working photographer. On one hand – exposure to new cultures, places, food, languages, and photo subjects is incredible. On the other hand, when it goes wrong, it can go very, very, wrong and make you question why you even bothered saying yes to the job in the first place.
Over the past few weeks, APA has…grown…a little bit, into something I’m beginning to feel slightly proud of. In the background, I’ve gotten many questions about architectural photography from our small but fiercely interested reader base. Rather than let these questions slowly fall into the fires of Mount Doom, ah, I meant page two of our gmail account, I thought it would be great to begin to publicly answer them.
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.
There are so many more facets of architectural photography than just shooting sublimely lit modern homes or hotel exteriors; in fact, even the most beautiful of those can start to feel a bit stale after a while. When I saw German photographer/designer Simone Hutsch’s minimal architecture photos, I couldn’t get enough of them.
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.
Darren Bradley: TED talker, Dwell cover boy, global traveller and book author. Not bad for an architectural photographer! I met Darren a few years ago at an AIA award ceremony and instantly found him fascinating; so I couldn’t be happier to make this interview happen. Darren has dodged alligators, run from security guards, and slept in Florida’s sketchiest hotels in his quest to be one of the world’s preeminent Mid Century Modern specialists.