Why Choose a Specialist Architectural Photographer?
Why should you choose a specialist architectural photographer? Can’t anyone with an understanding of cameras get a decent interior or exterior shot? You might think that getting good images of buildings is easy. After all, they don’t run away and don’t have bad hair days! To an extent, of course, anyone can take a photo of anything. However, if you want a really good image, something that will stand out and look great, then you need to consider calling in a specialist.
What can go wrong?
Architectural photography is not easy to do to a high standard. There are many little things as well as big things that can trip you up. Ever found that your shots of buildings make them look like they are leaning backwards? If you don’t know why this is happening or how to correct it then your exterior architecture shots will suffer from distortion. If this is a shop front or other carefully designed exterior then distortion risks misrepresenting the design and underselling your assets.
Having vertical walls is just one element to bear in mind. Once you move to the interior of a property then a whole load of additional factors become important. For one thing, what light sources do you have? Rooms often are lit by a combination of natural light coming in the windows and some artificial light source. In a small room, that added light might only be one lamp, for example. However, in a large room you may have some tungsten lights and an LED light as well as window light. As soon as you have multiple light sources of any kind you will find that your images can suffer from confused colours.
Understanding the Camera’s Limitations
Add to this the fact that cameras often struggle to represent the full range of bright to dark tones in a room and the images can be less than enticing. There might be a blue cast to the area by the window with other areas looking orange due to tungsten bulbs. The windows might be blown out to pure white with no detail visible as the camera can’t balance them with the deep shadows. Your shadow detail may have disappeared leaving pure black. There are ways around these problems that a professional photographer can help you with. Also, a specialist architectural photographer will produce a balanced, more natural final image rather than falling into the trap of the windows being darker than the light in the room in a daytime image, for example. (For examples please see the blog post on balancing light)
Composition is not always obvious when photographing properties. It is something that needs a trained eye to produce reliably good results. Likewise, some shooting solutions will flatten out the look of all your textures in a room. But, if the textures on surfaces are part of the design then you need a photographer who knows how to bring out texture without compromising the overall look.
Using the right kit & techniques
Some architectural photography requires specialist equipment and specialist editing techniques to create the final image. In some cases, if you don’t have the right kit then you simply can’t get the right shot. Also, if the retouching isn’t to the right standard, even well taken photos can fall short. Specialist photographers work to consistently high standards throughout their workflow. We can also offer services that other photographers may struggle with such as twilight photography of a property.
Is the photographer insured?
All professional photographers must have insurance. By that, I don’t just mean in case their kit is damaged or stolen. More importantly for clients, photographers should have public liability insurance. On very rare occasions things can go wrong. If something happens and there is damage or injury then public liability insurance is a necessity. Make sure that you check that your photographer is insured.
Architectural Photographer Key Skills Checklist
- The right equipment to achieve the desired results
- Demonstrated ability to compose images well
- Demonstrated ability to balance different light sources and colour temperatures
- Understanding of perspective and distortions that can ruin an image
- High standard of professional retouching
- Insured for public liability – not a skill but definitely important!