My History with Architectural Photography Lighting
As a photographer who started in portrait photography in 2004, I was on the cusp of the film to digital switchover. I also started in the era of traditional studio photography. This means that learning how to use strobe/studio lighting was the first thing after the shutter and aperture were explained to you. These days with digital photography, highly sensitive cameras that allow for low light photography without lighting, and just a general change in popular photography styles - learning studio or artificial lighting is an after thought for many photographers. This is not meant as a negative comment at all, because there are many who do natural light photography only and have absolutely beautiful work and careers that are soaring. The difference between those photographers and myself is many years of learning lighting techniques, perfecting them in my craft, and applying that work to other areas of photography besides portraiture - like architecture photography.
Architectural work does span a wide range of lighting techniques, from all natural light (using only the ambient light available), using all artificial light throughout the space, or a mixture of both together. I find that my personal preference is - all three. There are no interior spaces that are always created equal. Even a room with no windows is not equal to the next room without windows. There are differences in the types of lighting in the space, and recessed lighting will photograph much differently than exposed Edison bulbs will, for example. So when I photograph a building’s interior,I show up with all equipment for any scenario. Then I begin to “paint” the light as if it is a new painting created of every room. Sometimes the best lighting is a mixture of some ambient lighting, combined with a few off camera flashes to fill the lighting “holes” around the room. Whereas some places are perfectly lit with just a click of the camera, using only the ambient light available and adding flash will only ruin the look of the space. I also like to talk to the architects or designers I work with before beginning to see if there are certain styles of lighting that they like best, or prefer for that space. A cozy darker environment might be preferred for a certain design, and brighter full lighting scenario might be best for others.
So whatever the case for your architectural photography needs, I hope to be the one to be able to capture it for you. If you have any questions on your space, please reach out to me and schedule a call.