Architectural Photography: Exteriors
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Getting the final overall shot of the Japanese-style home


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Architectural Photography: Exteriors

with Richard Klein

Video: Getting the final overall shot of the Japanese-style home

So last night, as the series of shots wound down, we had about 45 minutes total from start to finish. What I was doing was lengthening the exposure as the sky got darker. I also noticed that eventually that the supplemental lighting that I had added inside was getting a little too bright as well. So I knew it was finished when the interior lights were too bright relative to the exposures that I was making and I was around a 15 second exposure at that point so the shot was wrapped up.

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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 final overall shot of the Japanese-style home

So last night, as the series of shots wound down, we had about 45 minutes total from start to finish. What I was doing was lengthening the exposure as the sky got darker. I also noticed that eventually that the supplemental lighting that I had added inside was getting a little too bright as well. So I knew it was finished when the interior lights were too bright relative to the exposures that I was making and I was around a 15 second exposure at that point so the shot was wrapped up.

So here on screen I've got the starting point and what I did was I predicted where I thought it was going to be too dark. Even if you don't have professional gear, get some lamps take the shades off put them where you think they're going to need to go but don't put them where you'll actually see them in a window. Look for reflections that they may be causing in the kitchen there were pots and pans hanging if the light was too low it was reflecting the pots and pans. So I went through and made that plan, I placed the lights where I needed to place them, turned everything on, and you can see in this first frame the lighting that I put in is actually beginning to show up.

And I noticed this as we were shooting, some places in the house started looking a little too dark. And you have to be really Sensitive, in the beginning when it's still bright out, it's hard to tell if a light is too bright or not too bright or what it is, right? So, you've gotta try to predict as best you can, what that's going to be. But, be ready to run back in and change it if you, if you need to. And, I had to do that once or twice. As a matter of fact. We have this big cabinet in the house, and you can see through the window.

And I wanted to be able to glow behind the cabinet to sort of separate from the back wall. So I had to come back in the house, feather the light over to be sure that it was lighting the area behind the cabinet to get that separation with the cabinet. So I'm always looking for things like that, because even though I'm shooting the exterior, Because there's so much window space, I'm really also shooting the interior at the same time. So the interior has to be lit, to be able to see it. As you're shooting the exterior when you're doing this kind of a shot.

So anyway, we got through all of that, and I had to chase the illumination of the lightning down as we went. So this is our first frame and this was the capture and it's still pretty bright outside. Even though it was beginning to feel like dusk. In camera it looks pretty bright. And the second frame that I chose and we're really about. 25 minutes into the sequence at this point and I choose this one because there is still enough brightness in the foreground that I can probably use this, I may bright little, little more and add a little bit of contrast, but it's still feels night time If I took something from earlier in the day, it wouldn't feel like night in a final composite.

It would feel strange, they wouldn't integrate well together. So I'm choosing this one to be able to make some manipulation on it, and I think it's really going to be the donor for the foreground. The windows in the house aren't glowing quite enough yet. I want to let the sky get a little bit darker. So, that's why I don't really want to use this overall frame. I personally prefer to composite frames together rather than using HDR to put them together. So in this case then, I'll probably take the foreground out of this frame.

And brighten it a little, add a little more contrast to it, but still have it look like nighttime. And remember I'm still following with my exposure time. I'm following the sky here. So the, the, the lights in the house will get brighter as the sky gets darker. So with that, let's go to the next frame. And here we've got a pretty nice glow in the windows in the house. The foreground has gotten way too dark. That's why I'm going to need to bring the other one in. The sky, to my eye, is looking pretty nice. Now we didn't get a sunset, it was raining, or actually cloudy.

Very cloudy at the time. so we never really got a sunset, so I'm going to go for a nice, deep, rich blue here to contrast with the orange glow in the windows itself. So, this frame will probably be the overall frame with the foreground replaced. From the other frames sky looks pretty good and that's probably what I'm going to do and just to let you see this is the last frame. This is when I knew that we were finished that the windows were just too crooked I'd already calmed things down I had a 15 second exposure.

Usually when I get to 15 seconds I know it's done. So here's my final composite it has the foreground from one of the captures. It has the house and the sky from another of the captures. And I'm pretty happy with the way the whole thing went together. It was actually a fairly simple composite to do. So you so me shoot this. Had to do a laptop with a medium format camera. But everything I did is easily achievable with a DSLR camera. You will need a tripod. You night want to use a supplemental lighting. But those can be lamps with the shades removed.

They don't have to be fancy, professional gear. You want to be able, if you can, to keep an eye on a histogram. Or you have to be very careful to keep an eye on your exposures on the back of your camera, as the sun gets, or as the sky gets darker and darker. But, with a little bit of practice and patience, you can produce stunning results.

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