When I tell people that I photograph architecture for a living, I usually get a confused look or a question as to what exactly architecture photography is. "You just go into a house and shoot a bunch of photos, right?" Though that is a way to document the structure, architecture photography for commercial purposes is a lot more complex and is an art form in itself. My goal as a photographer is to make the space look as aesthetically pleasing as possible and make you as the observer want to step right into the photo and experience the space. I achieve this with the help of finding the perfect perspective, staging the room, and using all the natural light to my advantage.
Below, I have two images of the same room from the same angle. The first image is cold, dark and not pleasing at all. The second photo shows the feel of the room, highlights the furniture, and is much more pleasing to look at. That's what my job is all about.
Getting the Right Perspective
Getting the best perspective can be a tricky process. The number one is to ask the client what they are looking for. For example, an interior designer may want to focus on a different aspect of the room than a builder would. Talking to and working with the client is critical. Once you have the clients goals in mind finding the right angle of the room that shows off the architecture and space well. The goal is to create an image that is hard to take your eyes off of.
In the below photos, the first image captures all the pieces we wanted in the photo, but the composition was all wrong, there is a reflection in the mirror that is distracting and it didn't show off the space well. Just with a quick move of the camera and a little rearranging we were able to capture the space in a much more pleasing way.
Staging is one of the most important parts of architecture photography. And this is the part that takes the longest! Get all the clutter or distraction out of the photo so you can focus in on what the client is trying to show off. This sometimes can involve moving furniture, tv’s, and artwork. I spend most of my day moving things in and out of the photo.
Below is a quick time lapse of me staging a simple bar.
Below are the before and after images from this shot of the bar. As you can see the second image is a lot cleaner and you don't get lost in the clutter.
Lighting is a really key part of the architecture photography process. I love using natural light as much as possible - it’s important to keep the mood the room naturally embodies. However, some parts of the room may get lost in shadow so some additional lighting is important to help make those darker areas pop.
Below are two images - in the first photo I knew we were getting close with the composition but I thought there was too much shadow around the bed and bedside table. The second photo is the same space with a little pop of light added. Small difference but I think it really makes the photo more engaging.
With every hour of shooting on location there are three hours of post processing and editing. The editing process can be very tedious and detailed but is crucial to get the final product. Post processing involves compositing images together, editing out small details like outlets and wires, and getting the light and white balance perfect.