- If Cadbury Believes in Google Plus…
- Top 11 Reasons Given NOT to get a Google Tour
- Religious Photography in Arizona
- Family Fun Business Photos and Virtual Tour
- Using Images Without Licensing
- Why You Should be on Google+, and Facebook sucks
- Marketing Architecture Photography
- Education Photography While in Texas
- Photographing Mercedes Benz at CARE Cancer Golf Outing
- When Quality is the mandate in cabinetry, bulthaup delivers.
- Tips on Images in your Marketing
- Religious Photography is Calling
- Photographing Cool Orthodontist in Arizona
- Let customers see inside – Google Business Photos
- Google Tour: Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary & Memorial Park
- Google Virtual Tour on Nexus 7
- Photography Assumptions
- How do you describe color to a blind person?
- Take a Tour at Gateway Community College
- With photography, what’s my ROI?
- Architectural Photography. UEB Builders. Take a look around.
- Podcasting and Architectural Photography?
- An American Dream by Ian Ruhter
- Photography Social Media for Clients is Important
- Photography for Fort McDowell Adventures Out West
- Automotive Photography – Mercedes-Benz
- Keeping Watch over Phoenix
- A building didn’t actually speak to me
- I’m Not a Storm Photographer, but…
- The Way I see Imagery
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Tag Archives: architectural
To start, this is as much about why I’m starting to dis-like Facebook (a MAJOR time suck) as much as it is about the value of [my] time. It’s equally as much about me being at a point in my life where I’m done being politically correct. I’m going to start speaking my mind. I’ve always “guarded” what I’ve written and said because I might offend someone. Those days are over. If you don’t like what I say or what I believe in, take your ball and go home.
I’m one of the easiest going people you’ll ever meet, and ALWAYS stand for the highest ethics and respect for my friends, family, and clients. Continue reading
Marketing photography services on a regular interval is critical if you want to pay your bills. Its far too easy to forget about this during very busy periods of producing images for clients, but you HAVE to do this.
Here’s just some of MANY things I do to keep my name in front of prospective clients so they even know I’m here, and that I create photography for architecture, golf courses, construction, hospitality, education and healthcare . Hey… Marketing your photography services is easy. Here’s just some Continue reading
Several weeks ago, I was contracted by Maricopa Community College District / Gateway Community College in Phoenix, AZ to create photography and a Google Virtual Tour of their new Integrated Education Building (IEB). I met their website marketing manager and together we mapped out, and I photographed, a tour so they could show off this new, and incredible facility.
At 120,000 square feet, it is massive, costs a reported $53 million to complete, and a design wonder that you will enjoy looking at from every angle. This was a considerable project and is the largest building in the Maricopa Community College District (MCCD), and one they should be incredibly proud of. The building was developed by SMITHGroup JJR, built by CORE Construction, and was designed to achieve a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The building has an exterior skin of masonry, glass, galvanized metal and copper. The spaces consist of: classrooms, faculty and staff offices,iIndoor and outdoor art studios, library, science labs, learning center, student services, cafe, performance space, career services, enrollment services, counseling, and disability support services.
While on-site I also created several images of this project.
(click to enlarge an image).
Providing one of the newest technologies by incorporating a Virtual Tour on Google seemed not only right, but was one of the few ways they could show prospective students and faculty this amazing space. It was the way to tell a story of this beautiful building and I was very proud to have been the photographer to capture this virtual tour for them.
(click, drag, and move around!)
After photographing the Phoenix Municipal building this afternoon from a 3rd story parking area I kept watch on the weather moving in. It’s summer time in Phoenix, and some days that means late afternoon thunderstorms that back in from the east, usually lead off by a nasty dust storm. As I was packing up and getting ready to leave I kept looking at this 26-story copper and glass building on the horizon about a mile away. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Bright copper against a dark stormy sky, so I chased it. Well, I didn’t chase the building, but was trying to move quickly to drive through neighborhoods trying to get a good vantage point to shoot up at it while showing off the dramatic clouds… before the rain started.
Weaving along side streets, there it was. A street that literally dead ened into it so I stopped, got out my tripod and rattled off a series of images. I’m sure anyone inside their home must have thought I was nuts, standing in the street, not exactly one’s typical idea of commercial photography, and I’m sure they look at it every day and probably see it as an eye sore.
As I was standing there it kind of looked like an old guard. Keeping watch over the city, over their neighborhood. Well, I’m glad I stopped, it was a nice contrast. And right after I got done, the skies opened up. The temperature dropped from 106 to 76 degrees in about 15 minutes. A nice cool summer rain!
(click to view large)
Sometimes while photographing architecture, a building is so interesting that it just jumps out at you. I didn’t hear it speak to me or anything like that, but while shooting at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, AZ the other day, their new IE Building was so amazing, from every angle, I had trouble deciding which angle I liked most. The architect did such an amazing job it was just fascinating. Colors and raw steel, curves and straight beams. I just stood there for 15 minutes looking at it in wonder at how beautiful it is. (click to view larger)
Most of my architectural photography involves making everything so clean and almost sterile that I felt the crisp lines and colors of this building just screamed for something exactly opposite. It needed some conflict in a way. I could have photographed it without, but when creating this image I needed to include the texture and striping of the crosswalks. It seemed to “ground” it for me. What do you think?
I just love the ability to “create” images, and I’m not talking about just clicking the shutter button. Creating is the ability to do what I want. So it ends up as an appealing image… To me. Maybe it’s not for you but that’s OK. I enjoy refining my photos in Lightroom & Photoshop, I do. Truth is I usually schedule to shoot for a set number of days per week, then move into the computer and start forumlating my vision of what I saw, and how to translate to get a feeling out of someone who’s never seen it. When I feel I’ve achieved that in the final image it’s a great feeling.
Do I get it right trying to tell that story every time? Probably not. Do I care if John Q. Public loves every image? Nope, and to be honest, I don’t expect everyone to. What I love, you might dislike, and visa versa. I’m getting to the point in my life that I create what I want to see, and it’s a great feeling when others love it, but I don’t create anything hoping “man, I hope everyone likes it”! That’s not gonna happen. When clients need an accurate depiction of their architecture, restaurant, industrial or product I’ll give them exactly that.
I’ve spent soooo many hours learning from brilliant commercial photographers out there, and they all say to create what YOU like, be different, find your own style and people will seek you out if they like your style. When you do commercial photography, and you’re carving a place in this big world of photography for your own style, any change is a bit unsettling, but I’m tired of seeing, and creating the same old stuff the way everyone else does it… I don’t see that way.
Guess that’s why my preference recently is leaning toward toward a less saturated, clean feel. I’m over the “eye popping, vibrant and overdone colors” of HDR that when I tell people I create with blending exposures, that’s the first thing they think of. Thats why I typically don’t even bring up the process of how I create (plus most people really don’t care if you do good work anyway). I’m starting to really be drawn to a slightly contrasty, minimal (almost mild-edgy) feel, where shapes and tones define, not bright colors. Don’t get me wrong, I like color, it’s just that I just don’t want it bleeding through my images at this point in my career. It’s not my style. Hell, ANYONE can do over-saturated photos. Just Google HDR and you’ll see tons of it, some good, some breath-taking, some not my taste (notice I didn’t say “some bad”!). Bad is subjective.
I’ve made a conscious decision to work with letting the setting, details, or structure speak a bit more, not the color wheel! It’s a feeling of freedom to admit that. [sigh of relief]. Here are just a couple I created from photo shoots recently from multiple Zipps Sports Grills located here in the Phoenix area. Hope you like em.
HEY, don’t be afraid! Go ahead and share your thoughts!
Well, I did it, I managed to show up late to catch the super moon as it rose off the horizon. Didn’t really matter because by the time I got to the Tempe Art Center the moon was amazing and super bright, so I ended with with not really a super moon, but a bright moon anyway! Good enough. Here’s a few shots I created, including one toward the TCA building (which I enjoyed because one of the local high schools was throwing their Prom inside). Look close and you might see a few teens dancing, just hope the full moon didn’t get the better of any of them!
It’s not often that you get to do what you really enjoy for a living, and work with clients that are always a pleasure, and home owners who are as welcoming as though you were already friends. Last week I got to experience exactly that. I was co-commissioned by Brissette Architects Inc. and RS Homes, both in Scottsdale, to create images of a home they designed and built, with the intent of being used for a magazine article, a national design award submittal, and the builders portfolio.
I need to preface this article… The color was NOT enhanced in these images.
Working for this team is an honor because the architects are multiple award recipients for their design work, including the categories such as “Best in American Living”, “Custom Home of the Year under $2.5m” and “Best Custom Home under 5,000 s.f.”, to name a few. The builder has the distinction of “Custom Home of the Year” award multiple times as well as others. If you’ve been in the Scottsdale or Paradise Valley area, and seen the thousands of the multi-million dollar homes, you’ll understand this says quite a bit to each of their talents. As an aside, and from a personal level, I can tell you their attention to design and detail in completed product were outstanding.
This shoot required (as do many luxury shoots) a scouting trip about a week before, to completely understand the nuances of the home, the architect’s creative intent, meet the owners, preview the site, access the possible staging work required, and see what views and lighting are available (which by the way, spanned almost 180 degrees; across Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, and all the way to Surprise!)
The idea was to incorporate not only interior shots, but show the relationship of interiors to exteriors with city views, and a few detail shots that could be used by some of the subcontractors and suppliers of materials during the construction phase. The home is located in an area northeast of Phoenix about 25 miles known as Desert Mountain, which was brilliantly developed by Lyle Anderson many years ago. I was very familiar with this community because I built several homes for clients here many moons ago. This particular home sits above most of the community (which is 8,000 acres in size) and the views over the valley are just spectacular. Not to mention, some of the most demanding golf courses in the state (yes, plural, there’s 6 Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Desert Mountain and some listed in America’s 100 greatest golf courses!)
So you can understand the quality in this community, here’s just a few the awards Desert Mountain has received:
- Best 100 Golf Shops – Golf World, 2003-2011
- Top 100 Golf Communities in the United States – Travel & Leisure Golf, 2008 & 2009
- Top 50 Private Clubs in the US – Golf World Magazine, 2008
- Best for Golf – Top 26 Premier Properties – Links Magazine, 2008
- Top 25 Golf Community Diamond Award Winner – Luxury Golf & Travel Magazine, 2008
- Best of the Best, World’s Best Golf Community – Robb Report, 2000
I arrived the day of the shoot at approximately 2 o’clock in the afternoon and was greeted by the homeowners who announced they would be leaving for the day and allowed me complete control of shooting their home until they arrived that evening. It’s always nice when the owners are some of the most delightful people you’ve ever met, and playfully joked while I was lugging my gear in “so, you look like you’re moving in”!
One of the beautiful things about shooting this particular home was that the owners had a true sense and appreciation for simplicity with their interior design, and how the home lives on the site. Sometimes in a high-end luxury shoot a you can find yourself more of a “furniture mover” during the session [than a photographer], needing to rearrange furniture, pillows, and other accessories to provide a backdrop for clean images. It was a sigh of relief to see that this home would require very little of that.
Because the views can actually be distracting, I made sure to pre-plan the entire shot list on a pdf floor plan the architect had provided me. This way I could work my way through the home based on where the sun would be. As an example, the afternoon was scheduled for shooting a lot of the interior details while the sun was the most harsh above but reflecting the light into the rooms like a giant soft box . This allowed me to use a lot of natural daylight while shooting.
As the late afternoon approached I had to keep an eye on where the sun because when the sun sets in the desert, it happens REALLY fast! The difficulty was two-fold; even after 30 years here I can never stop looking at how beautiful the sunset is, and with views like this I could have shot almost every part of the home at this time. I had to pick the most important shots, and make sure I got those done first. These included the living area and looking through the kitchen, and master bedroom with the outside glow of the spa. I only wish I could have incorporated the golf courses below, but they were beyond the available light of the setting sun, and a bit too far away to capture in detail even during the daytime.
Having not seen the pool lighting on at night yet, before the owner left he showed me the remote control to turn that and the exterior lights on. I first turned them on (about 30 minutes before dusk) but I could barely see the lights in the water. I actually had to bend over the edge of the pool make sure they were even on. I was concerned that the lighting in the pool, which I’d hoped to use as an emphasis within several images, may not put off the brilliant glow that I was hoping for. As you’ll see in the images, my concern was unfounded. The images showing dusk, the city lights and the blues of the horizon and pool were not color corrected. They are the actual blue that I was witnessing while shooting. Could I be this lucky? Yes I was, this time.
The lighting was so dramatic I found myself just staring at it, of course not for too long because I had images I had to get. The entire shoot lasted approximately 5 1/2 hours, capturing about 340 images on camera. Now normally this many images aren’t captured during a shoot like this, but I knew that some of the lighting would be difficult and that using multiple exposure blending for areas with blown out highlights from the exterior views would be required.
I used three different lenses throughout the shoot, a tilt-shift 17 mm, an 11 to 16 mm F2 .8, and a 50 mm 1.8. Shot primarily in aperture priority, with some requiring lighting bounced off the ceilings to brighten up some of the shadow areas.
Shooting luxury residential, interiors, golf courses, and architecture in Arizona is like nothing else. With my background in design, building and golf, I have a real appreciation for what architects, builders, owners, and interior designers do to complete the luxury home process. It’s an art, just like photography, and this team really put together a masterpiece!
As always, I welcome your comments or questions!
Most people assume that doing architectural photography is easy, you just take stand there and take a photo, right? You may be surprised what’s involved in the process, so I thought this would be a good chance to let those know “briefly” what’s involved. What they also don’t realize is the thousands of hours of research, study, practice, and taking photos until you get to the point you know your butt from a hole in your aperture or shutter speed, and, then there’s the investment in professional gear.
I had the opportunity to do an assignment for a Scottsdale architectural firm over the weekend and no matter how many times I pull out the gear, I just love it. This particular job entailed photographing an 18,000 s.f. athletic club in Fountain Hills, AZ. Photos of the main workout areas, pool, locker rooms, kids play room, yoga area, reception, free weights, wide angle & closeups.
The directive was clear, although I would be shooting both the interiors, equipment, and exterior, the architects wishes were that I deliver one “money shot” of the front elevation of the facility. Sounds simple enough, except… it’s open from 5am to 9pm almost every day, and part of it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since my goal was to create a “clean and dramatic” image of the front, the likelihood that a car (or cars) would be sitting right in the cameras line of sight, created some constraints. One other thing that is of concern in a public facility such as this is that most people don’t want their picture taken while working out, and since I didn’t want to get model releases signed by everyone working out, I had to photograph so no one was identifiable (or a distraction) in any of the final photos.
Since I knew that on Sundays they close at 6pm, my plan was to shoot during the afternoon for the interiors, then about 1 hour before sunset, setup and get the proper exposures and shots before darkness fell on the outside of the health club. After the initial exposures were captured of the interior lighting and building, I walked around and lit separate areas of the building in darkness to accentuate the landscaping, roof lines, signage, and sidewalks with light and shadows. I did this particular photo shoot without an assistant, and the exterior process alone took just over 2 hours, and involved about 45 exposures. Why so long? Well, while shooting, one car would leave (which was great) but then another would pull in and park. Doh!
OK, now its dark, cold, I’ve finished all shots, its time to review all the images one by one on my tethered laptop before I disconnect from the camera to make sure all areas I wanted lit properly were captured. Everything looks good, pack up the gear and lights, to the house.
The next day is set aside for photo editing. THE ENTIRE DAY. It starts by downloading all the images to an external backup drive, then, to a 2nd backup drive, then, to a 3rd. Seems redundant huh? Those little “bit of information” are gold to a photographer. If it happened that I lost any of them, I’d be sunk, so there’s multiple backups because hard drives DO fail, and HAVE failed, me.
After importing all raw images into Lightroom, I review them all once again, make selections, and mark them for editing. Once culled out, they go through several processes. Some images were captured with multiple exposures intentionally for HDR creation, and others for layering in Photoshop. For example, the exterior image of the health club ended up being almost 60 images that were opened into one file as layers (you can see some of the layer and their masks in the right of the photo below).
As simply as I can explain it, I then go through each layer and separately “brush in or out” a part of each image I want to blend into the final resulting photo. Examples of layering may include lighting on the flower beds, the buildings signage, the edges of the building, under a roof overhang, the sidewalks, or a tree that’s lit up from below. Here’s the final result (BEFORE / AFTER) of the exterior image I created for the Peaks Athletic Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona. So you know, this is NOT the result of HDR software, it’s a result of over 3 hours of editing with layers.
Seems like a lot of work for creating one image huh? When you consider this ONE image may be the reason a client calls the architect about work (or maybe one they’ll win a design award with) then it’s worth it to me. I want each architect’s prospective clients to see images that make them sit back and say “I want one of those”!
Final tally for the evening, just over 230 accuations (clicks) to create a final 29 images for presentation and use.
I’ll try to get a video edited (and a few screenshots) and post them so you can see the process, but until then, please feel free to leave any comments or questions below!
Phoenix… Taking architectural photos in the daytime is, well, melting! I really love it when I have the opportunity to do twilight photo shots (ya, it’s much cooler!) and here are just a couple photos from an office building I shot at sunset this week. +MarkSpomer