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Basic Architectural Photography for the Professional
with Patrick and Sonya Bertolino
Patrick is a self-described “blue collar” architectural photographer. He came up through the school of hard knocks…learning things the hard way. And by the way, Patrick has earned the Master of Photography degree through PPA. Sonya, on the other hand, is a “white collar” architectural photographer with more formal education in photography (Bachelor of Fine Arts). Both are excellent photographers with tons of knowledge and experience. Each brought their own perspective, learnings, and methods to this class. We got a 2-for-1 deal!
In architectural photography, knowing your intended audience is key. For example, architects will want a certain perspective while interior designers and real estate agents may want a different perspective. Other elements for each audience may differ like having room lights on or off, camera angle/height, and window pulls. It’s important to know for whom you are shooting before starting a project.
There are two main challenges to architectural photography: straight lines and exposure.
One major challenge of photographing interiors is getting the lines of a building straight, both interior and exterior. Vertical lines need to be vertical and horizontal lines, horizontal. You can use the level on your tripod. However, using the level inside the camera is Patrick’s favorite way to ensure everything is level before taking the photo. Check your camera’s menu for the level. If the image needs further adjustment, you can use the Transform panel in Lightroom for more straightening.
Exposure is another key challenge to overcome. Ambient light in a room may only get you so far. Introducing flash can help with overall exposure and lighten some of those dark corners. A combination of the two, “flambient” lighting, can produce better results. Bouncing flash off the ceiling produces a nice overall bump to exposure. Patrick likes to bracket 3 exposures and combine them in Lightroom. Sonya prefers a wider range of bracketed exposures and combines the images as layers in Photoshop. She will paint in each layer as needed for a more light-painted effect. To correct for color casts, use the HSL sliders in Lightroom.
We learned so much in this class from Patrick and Sonya. Married, yet competitors, they have each honed their craft and were a wonderful resource of information on architectural photography. I can’t wait to learn more from them in the future.
Review by Tara Flannery