Photographing Desert Modern Architecture With Roehner + Ryan

Photographing Desert Modern Architecture With Roehner + Ryan

Project of the Week

We’re back with the Arizona-based super duo Roehner + Ryan for this week’s featured project! Today we are taking a look at their ultra clean, ultra sexy, ultra gorgeous photographs of NVK Design’s Osborn Residence.

Jason Roehner shares that Osborn Residence came about when “the owner bought an older ranch style home to tear down. He asked NVK Design for a ‘modern farmhouse’ which in that neighborhood (Arcadia, Phoenix AZ) is very tired — it’s just about every other home down each street. So the architect was able to get to the root of the client’s desires (as they should) and kept things more modern and clean, with a great amount of functionality, as well expand on the footprint of what was the existing home.” Let’s take a look at this modern desert beauty which they’ve presented so well!

This wide and all-encompassing shot allows us to make sense of the Osborn Residence’s layout and note how different rooms and areas connect. Dan and Jason’s camera height is perfect and allows us to see into the various spaces without getting visually hung up anywhere. All of the furniture and elements feel like they have their own space, and our eyes are permitted to drive down to the point where the ceiling line and the path between the rugs converge toward the back of the frame.

As they chunk down the separate spaces for us, we are able to note more details and textures. The geometric shapes throughout this scene are stellar. There is a strong linear pattern and the choice for a one-point perspective here really enhances those lines.

The directionality of the light coming from the open window creates angular shadows that fit in nicely here. Note the perfect camera height and composition, where there is just enough space between the island and the rangetop, and again between the light fixture and the top of the cabinets. Not only does this create another set of leading lines, but adds a little padding between the design elements and keeps things feeling tidy and uncluttered. Little nuances like these are what elevates a photo from good to great.

Aside from Roehner + Ryan’s propensity for great light and great compositions, one other thing I just love about their work is how dang clean it reads. The colors are always rich, tidy, and perfectly punchy. Their whites are natural and not too stark, their blacks and shadows are deep, and there isn’t the slightest hint of muddiness anywhere.

With the harsh desert sun shining outside, I appreciate the proper balance in exposure between the outdoors and indoors. The outside is just a pinch brighter which contributes to the naturalness of this image and helps place us in the scene. We see that lovely directional light raking in from the glazing and out across the room. It creates depth and chisels out the shapes and lines found throughout the room.

The photographs of Osborn Residence’s bathrooms are nice examples of Roehner + Ryan’s great use of contrast and crisp coloring to create a dynamic and graphic set of images.

I’m loving that massive cactus that they managed to include in the frame! The organic shapes of the greenery help soften the more bold and masculine elements design elements in the room. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jason and Dan left the practical lights on throughout this shoot, which feels like a rare thing to see in architectural photography these days. I think it works nicely. They have done a fantastic job of keeping the glow subtle and managing the color casts!

This well-composed twilight image pulls our eyes through the dark foreground and into the warm, inviting, haven of the Osborn Residence’s interior. I’m a big fan of the faint champagne color of the interior lights — they are perfectly balanced and very pleasant.

Back out front, as we pull back and Osborn Residence’s full front elevation is revealed, we get to see the very cool lighting design — and my personal favorite — the way the roofline echoes the shape of the mountain in the background. It’s a lovely shot that places the architecture in its environment for us, and gives us a bit of scale.

A big heaping thanks to our friends Dan & Jason! If you don’t already, give them a follow at @roehnerryan and peruse their beautiful catalog of work at

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

About Lexi Taciak
Howdy! I'm Lexi, a photographer, graphic designer, and writer.
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