Architectural photography (including interior photography) is a specialty that, beyond the basic knowledge and skills of photography, requires a strong sensitivity to shapes (curves, lines and perspectives) and a mastery of the techniques proper to this practice.
Its purpose is to take exterior and / or interior shots of a building, its structure and its facilities and especially to meet the different customer expectations (specific points to highlight, communication, advertising ... ).
You will find below the main steps of the process of realization of architectural images. This description is not exhaustive, it aims to present in a few lines the important points.
Preparation of shooting
The first important step for me is to interact with my client to identify his expectations, but also the constraints to take into account for shooting.
To plan the shots, it is essential to identify the orientation of the facade or the place to photograph. This allows me to identify the best time of day to shoot. The day of shooting is determined according to the weather and other constraints previously identified with the client (eg access request, end of work, delivery of building, vegetation ...).
For a better result, I remind you that it is advisable to store and clean the premises the day before the shooting.
Before each shot, as far as possible, all annoying elements should be removed when the final image is read. It can be objects that have no reason to be (for example cigarette butts in the foreground, a car ...), but also objects that can either unbalance the composition, or too attract the eye .
Beyond the mastery of the fundamentals of photography, the challenge of architecture photographer is the management of distortions and verticals. Color management is also very important, especially for indoor shots.
To allow accurate composition, shooting is done on a tripod. Depending on the case, I use a tilting and decentering lens. This type of lens allows me to straighten the verticals when shooting.
At high contrast such as an interior containing a window with a very strong outside light, it is sometimes difficult to have the entire dynamic range of a scene (dark areas become black and / or white light areas ). In order to restore this dynamic range, the interior shots can be made with one or more methods. The first method is to perform "bracketing". This method consists of shooting several shots of the same scene at different exposures. This allows post-processing, from these different exposures, to restore the full dynamic range. The second method is setting up extra lighting (flashes). This method requires a lot more time to shoot (therefore more expensive) but allows to obtain a better quality of image by the control of the lighting.
The other important point, especially indoors, is the colorimetry management. In an interior with tungsten lighting, the light has a yellow cast. When we are in this place, the human brain itself corrects the colors and tends to neutralize the yellow of the lighting. In order to correct this dominant, I take additional shots with a color chart. This is then used in post-processing to restore faithful colors.
Post-processing will reveal the image. This step requires more time than shooting by themselves, often 2 to 3 times more. It can be even more depending on the case.
Beyond the basic settings (brightness, contrast, etc.) performed on the entire image, it may be necessary for some settings to be applied locally.
When shooting "bracketing", HDR processing is performed to restore the entire dynamic range. The treatment can be manual or "automatic" through specific applications.
For each image, distortions and verticals are corrected.
For color management, a color profile is created for each of the spaces. This profile will neutralize the dominant related to artificial lighting and then allow to restore the atmosphere of the place.
Unlike post-processing, retouching changes the content of the image. It will consist of deleting objects that could not be moved at the time of shooting. This can be the removal of a poster stuck on a wall, the removal of a fire extinguisher ...
Legend and keywords
Once finalized, the images are captioned and keywords are attributed to them. When archived, this will allow to find them quickly by performing a search on keywords. Also, when the images are published on the web, the caption and the keywords will be interpreted by the search engines. They help strengthen the SEO of your website.
You have a project and would like to talk about it? Please don't hesitate to contact me. My contact details here.