Monday, 29 July 2013

Sun and Lighting for Architectural Photography

Sun and Lighting for Architectural Photography

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Sun and Lighting for Architectural Photography

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 11:26 PM PDT

In photography, as well as in any other visual art form, light plays a key role, and it should be considered a critical compositional element. Lighting for architectural photography, as well as for interior photography, can be very demanding, because the light defines the space or structure of the building. Lighting for interiors is much more controllable than for exteriors; however, in both situations the architectural photographer must be able to “take control”–even when dealing with the sun.

Working as a Chicago architectural photographer for over 30 years, I have learned patience! In the Midwest, and Chicago in particular, the required conditions for architectural exterior photography can come infrequently, as one must work around unpredictable weather and cloud formations that develop very quickly due to the lake effect; not to mention the high humidity, which produces grey skies. Many times I have had to wait days or even weeks for the proper conditions.

"SanFrancisco" captured by Joe Machuta. (Click image to see more from Joe Machuta.)

“SanFrancisco” captured by Joe Machuta. (Click image to see more from Joe Machuta.)

A few years ago, I also set up an office in Arizona with the assumption that, as a Phoenix architectural photographer, my weather woes would be over. However, I had to learn the weather idiosyncrasies of that area as well; namely the monsoon season, when most every afternoon, from July through August, the sky becomes cloudy, the light dissipates, and there is a high probability of rain.

I bring this up as background so one may better understand the challenges and parameters in which high-quality architectural photographs are made. In the studio, everything is controlled. The architectural photographer, on the other hand, must learn to deal with unpredictable and seemingly uncontrollable circumstances in order to produce the dramatic images that the client expects.

Sunlight is essential when photographing architectural exteriors, and the architectural photographer must be able to “control” the light at all times. This is a challenge, because the only light source he or she has to work with is the sun; “controlling” the sun can seem paradoxical. However, one must control that which he or she can control in order to produce the strongest architectural photograph possible. These controllable elements are time of year, type of day, time of day, and quality of light.

"Closer View of The Biltmore from the Rampe Douce" captured by Earl E. Gibson.

“Closer View of The Biltmore from the Rampe Douce” captured by Earl E. Gibson.

Directional light is always important when photographing architecture, so it stands to reason that one must wait for the best conditions to photograph; the clarity of the light, the type of sky, the direction of the sun and the quality of the light (hard or diffused) are all critical factors when photographing architecture and must be given serious consideration.

Direction of the elevation to be photographed with respect to the sun is critical for separating the planes of the structure and bringing out the textures and details of the building. Front lighting, or light that is behind the camera, is not acceptable in most cases. One should always select the time of day when the sun is at approximately a 45-degree angle to the elevation being photographed. Usually, the best light is within a time frame of a few hours after sunrise or a few hours before sunset (as long as the orientation of the building allows for it). The “golden hour” light–just after sunrise or just before sunset–is even better because the sun’s low angle adds warmth, mood, and drama to the photograph with long, deep shadows; something I like to use in the foreground if possible. The quality of this “golden hour” light is also much softer than the harsher sunlight in the middle of the day.

architectural photo

“Museum in SF” captured by Mohamed Mahmoud Taman (Click Image to See More From Taman)

A north facing view can only be photographed with ideal light within a short time span in the summer, as close to the summer solstice as possible. At that time of year the sun is at its highest position, and it is also the longest day of the year. The north light deteriorates each day afterwards as it travels in a more southerly direction.

Learning to work with the sun and the weather is an essential requirement in producing a high-quality architectural photographs. Many clients probably have no idea what goes into that “perfect” day. The professional architectural photographer must be patient and disciplined in order to take control of the uncontrollable; there is nothing accidental in the fine architectural photograph.

About the Author:
Paul Schlismann is a professional architectural photographer and has specialized in photographing architecture and interiors since 1980 for the professional architect, interior design, hospitality, architectural product and corporate markets ( Having been established in his career for over 30 years as a Chicago architectural photographer, he now also has an office located in Arizona as well and is working in Chicago, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and California statewide.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Canon Lenses for Wedding Photography

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 04:19 PM PDT

In order to be competitive, wedding photographers must consistently produce images that reflect their unique style. New York-based wedding photographer Christian Oth‘s fashion forward style is decidedly editorial and relaxed. His work has been featured in a wide array of publications, including Martha Stewart, Brides, and New York Time Magazine. Here, Canon Digital Learning Center features Oth and his use of telephoto lenses to create his elegant look (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

Because a photojournalist approach requires capturing candid action shots and intimate moments, Oth relies on long, fast lenses that help him capture facial expressions from a distance in varying lighting situations. Telephoto lenses also help him to beautifully photograph wedding details, such as shoes and rings, in context. He favors a 100mm f/2.8L macro lens due to its quick focusing speed and shallow depth of field.

For his signature bride and groom portraits on busy Madison Avenue, Christian Oth prefers to use a 300mm lens, which compresses the view down the street and creates a perspective that is universally appealing.


“There are pictures everywhere; there are…pictures left and right.”

A master of his craft and of his tools, Oth uses telephoto lenses with graceful ease in a variety of venues and situations to create his strong style.

For Further Training on Wedding Photography:

Check out Simple Wedding Photography, it covers everything you need to know to photograph a wedding and the business behind it. From diagrams of where you should stand throughout the ceremony to advice on all the final deliverables to the client. This 200 page ebook will be useful to wedding photographers of any experience level. It also carries a 60 day guarantee, so there is no risk in trying it.

It can be found here: Simple Wedding Photography eBook

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Concert Photography Tips from a Nikon Pro

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 01:55 PM PDT

Where visual and audial obsessions overlap, you’ll probably find the concert photographer. This is an extremely exciting type of photography, with all the excitement and action of sports, the intimate close-up nature of portraiture, and the wild colours usually only found in a sunset. Nikon recently released this interview with concert photographer Lindsey Byrnes, in which she discusses her methods, her development, and of course, her favourite equipment (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

The life of a music photographer grows very organically; first you’re a kid going to rock shows with a point-and-shoot, and you love it so much you buy your first DSLR. You keep going to concerts and keep shooting, until a band likes what you’re doing and asks you to do some publicity shots. You get noticed, get published, and the rest is history.

Of course, not every concert photo turns out great from the get-go. Venues are dark, crowded, and constantly moving fast, and a lot of shots can come out as grainy blurs with blown-out highlights, blocked-up shadows, and weird colours. Fortunately, there are a few things you can practice to put the musical magic into your images.

music photography

  • Use the right equipment.
    In the video, Byrnes tells us about all her gear – a Nikon D4, a D800, and a D700, along with a 28-70mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8, and a 35mm f/1.4. Of course all that is excellent, but the good news is, you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars to get a good shot. As long as you have a DSLR with a good capacity for low noise at high ISOs (low-end Nikons are getting better all the time), even a cheap 50mm f/1.8 will give you pretty excellent results – anything with a wide aperture.
    Durability is also key here, as concerts tend to be wild places, saturated with alcohol (among other intoxicants) and reckless dancers. It’s one of the easiest places for your camera to take a tumble, so avoid plastic lens mounts and consider putting your camera on an emergency backup tether. Also, lens filters are your best defense against a smashed front element. Finally, you’re not going to use a tripod. Just leave it at home. A monopod maybe, if your lens is long, but you’ll probably have more trouble with your subjects’ movement than your hand’s.

music photography

  • Use the right settings.
    No auto mode allowed, and certainly no on-camera flash – there’s nothing worse than a bright shot of the backs of  heads in front of a pitch-dark stage. Turn your ISO as high as you can without destroying the image quality, use aperture priority mode, and set your lens to its maximum aperture. If your images turn out noisy anyway, try turning them black and white – it usually looks better.
  • Get close.
    Move up to the front of the crowd to get unobstructed views. A close shot with a wider-angle lens will have a lot more detail and dimensionality than a distant telephoto. Even if you are way off to one side, you can still get some great angles – often even better than being center stage.

music photography

  • Stabilize yourself.
    Spread your feet a little and plant yourself firmly to avoid getting knocked over. Hold your lens steady with your left hand, tucking your arm in close to your body for maximum stability.
  • Watch the light.
    All the different coloured stage lights can produce extremely interesting results, but they can also work against you very easily. Concert lighting technicians love to use red lights, which tend to make your subject look a little on the demonic side, and the high-contrast situation can lead to a blazing white face and black everything else; just be aware.

music photography

  • Include the crowd.
    Part of what makes a concert is the people who are at it – otherwise, you may as well shoot the band in rehearsal. Get some photos of the crowd, or even better, of the crowd and the band interacting with each other.

Go to full article: Concert Photography Tips from a Nikon Pro

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Gym & Fitness Lifestyle Photography Techniques

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 11:13 AM PDT

Just like with any other product photography, gym and fitness clothing also entails some adjustments to your technique. Movement, color and timing are just some factors to consider because even though your product itself is an inanimate object, your model isn't. This video from Lear Miller should help you figure out how to better capture fitness campaign ad style photos (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

Remember that you need to be ready to take the shot once the model executes the exercise. You also need to consider the full range of motion. A shot halfway into the movement is awkward, so wait until the movement is in the proper stage before releasing the shutter.

Equipment Used to Capture These Photos:

Camera body:



  • 2 Paul C Buff Einstein E640 Strobes
  • 2 Paul C buff Vegabond battery packs
  • Triggered with pocket wizard plus 2 & 3′s
  • 2 Large 32×40″ softboxes w/grids
  • 1 10×36″ stripbox

girl doing lat pulldowns

girl running on treadmill

girl drinking water

Another thing you need to remember is that it's difficult to remain completely still when your model is pushing or pulling on weight. Adjust your exposure accordingly to compensate for the added movement.

girl squatting with kettlebell

girl running on track

girl tying shoelace

Go to full article: Gym & Fitness Lifestyle Photography Techniques

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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