Architectural Photography: Exteriors
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Getting the exterior house shot as light changes


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Architectural Photography: Exteriors

with Richard Klein

Video: Getting the exterior house shot as light changes

So here we are at the overall shot. It was really important to include enough of the garden to get the context of the garden and also see the house. We're going to do it with a glowing window because there's a lot of glass on this side of the house. So you can be in the house, and see out to the garden. So you're really burning the garden inside. As far as you experience being inside the house. So that dictated the camera positions. So we've got the spot. The next thing was to start looking for things to clean up and to take care of in the foreground.

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Watch the Online Video Course Architectural Photography: Exteriors
28m 58s Intermediate Oct 01, 2013

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An effective photo of a building captures the personality of the architecture and its designer's vision. In this course, photographer Richard Klein demonstrates key techniques for taking exterior photos that make a building look its best. He visits two sites, one featuring a large modern home and the other a Japanese-style building, and covers a variety of lighting techniques, from working with existing light to employing supplemental lighting.

Subject:
Photography
Author:
Richard Klein

Getting the exterior house shot as light changes

So here we are at the overall shot. It was really important to include enough of the garden to get the context of the garden and also see the house. We're going to do it with a glowing window because there's a lot of glass on this side of the house. So you can be in the house, and see out to the garden. So you're really burning the garden inside. As far as you experience being inside the house. So that dictated the camera positions. So we've got the spot. The next thing was to start looking for things to clean up and to take care of in the foreground.

And I noticed, there were lawn chairs that I didn't like, I didn't think matched the house or the aesthetic of the garden. And just looked around for anything else that needed to be cleaned up visually. Now that we've got the composition cleaned up and ready to go, next came lighting. Up in the clear story loft area, there wasn't enough lighting, so I had to add some light up there. Had to add some lighting in both the kitchen area and the den area, the desk. Because those areas were also a little dark.

I had to light the back wall of the bedroom because it was also getting dark. Then I also ended up lighting the large cabinet in front. And the idea really is to just have enough information so that when I get into post I can do whatever I need to to really make the whole image sing. So in order to do this shot, I really wanted to be tethered to the computer, so I could both have a large view of the image, to make it easier to see all the little details that I need to keep track of.

And also, so that I could have an active histogram. So I know exactly what my exposure is, and I know exactly what's going on. Because I may end up having to combine some exposures. When I get into post, I'm not really sure. We'll see how it all goes. Right now, it's looking like a single exposure is going to handle it, because of the lighting that I did. I think that we're going to be in good shape. So even though we're shooting a house, and we're shooting the exterior of the house. It's still, in my opinion, a photo set. And that means that I have liberty to do whatever I need to do.

To move furniture, to turn things off and on. To arrange the set the way I see fit to make the best photograph. And that means that I give myself permission to go ahead and make whatever changes to the set that I need to do. If I need to move furniture. If I need to, whatever it is. I do that. So we need to have all the lights in the house functional and turned on. That way, the house is more evenly illuminated and we can see where everything is.

There are lights over the deck on the outside that needed to be illuminated. There are lights hidden around the interior, that all need to be turned on. Because we're actually photographing not only the exterior, but the interior as well. Because there's so much glass, we can see right into the house. So in order to really have the windows glow. We have to wait 'til dusk. And the trick, really, is, balancing the amount of sunlight or a skylight that's left with the brightness of the windows, and the house itself.

So when we get to a point where the sky is just at the right amount of exposure. So we can still see some garden. And we still see detail there and the, and it's dark enough that we can have the glow of the windows coming through. That's the magic moment. That's the frame that really works. And the best way to get there is to start a little too early. And just shoot continuously through, watching the histogram to be sure that there's good detail, both the highlights and shadows, because it's slowly getting darker.

And we're primarily shooting a timed exposure. We're using shutter speed in order to increase our exposure as it gets darker outside. The house lights stay the same. So at some point, our exposure's going to be too long. Because we're trying to be able to still get detail the sky, because the windows are going to burnout. So at that point is when we quit shooting. So right now, we are probably about 3 4ths of the way through the sequence and the reason I say that is the lights on the interior of the house are starting to get on the brighter side.

So it won't be long as I increase the exposure by increasing my shutter speed, the length of time for my shutter that those lights are going to become too bright. And when they start cooking and getting too bright, then I know I'm finished.

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