Architectural Photography Using Layer Masking to Correct Contrast and White Balance

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop

Architectural Photography Using Layer Masking to Correct Contrast and White Balance

A challenging nighttime scene was overcome with multiple exposures and layer masking. Blending indoors and outdoors in architectural photography can often create a compelling image. Unfortunately, however, it is often fraught with exposure and white balance issues. These issues are compounded at night, when artificial lights inside buildings coupled with the darkness of the night sky create an especially contrasty image with an unattractive colorcast created by the different light sources. Luckily, with multiple exposures and layer masking in Photoshop, you can create a photo that looks a lot like what you saw with your own eyes. This method is a little different than HDR, which involves taking three or more photos at different exposures, then using automated software to combine them into one image that captures the range of light in the scene. Here, you’ll be taking three or more photos and blending them manually, since HDR software often creates unpleasant artifacts and odd color blending when used in the type of situations presented in this tutorial. You can always try HDR software first, and if the colors don’t seem to bleed, you can skip down to the later part of the tutorial for dealing with the colorcasts. An image that required three exposures and had a color cast from the lamps. Shoot three or more exposures on a tripod You need to shoot as many photos as it takes to capture the dynamic range (the range from light to dark) in the scene. It is really important to shoot in RAW, to get as much mileage out of each photo as possible. A tripod is also necessary, since you’ll probably be taking these at night, and also because you won’t be using HDR software which aligns the images. You can use auto exposure bracketing to capture three images, but at night, exposures on the high end can often exceed 30 seconds, the longest shutter speed most cameras will let you shoot manually. It’s probably easiest to use manual mode, set your ISO to 100 or 200, stop down your aperture to f/7.1 or f/8 (if it’s really dark out, you can open it up wider), and then take a series of shots at increasingly slower shutter speeds until you’ve captured the range of light in the scene. If you need to go past 30 seconds, go into bulb mode (consult your camera’s manual for how to find it), and use a remote trigger release, holding the shutter open as long as you want. Don’t worry about white balance yet. Processing one of the RAW files in Lightroom. Here you can see where just processing one RAW file wouldn’t be sufficient. Process each exposure in Lightroom or Camera Raw, then open as layers in Photoshop First, you are going to process the photos for exposure only, ignoring white balance. If you don’t have Lightroom, you can do this...

Read More »

6 Tips to Take Your Architecture Photography to the Next Level

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in canon, Featured, Photography Tips, photoshop

6 Tips to Take Your Architecture Photography to the Next Level

Architectural photography may seem like an incredibly boring subject, but there is lots of creativity involved with shooting buildings, not to mention it’s a rather lucrative way to make a side income as a photographer. However, the rules of photographing a building versus a person are quite different. Whether you are a relatively seasoned architectural photographer looking to refine your approach, or a budding photographer curious about how to create impactful architectural photos, these tips should help take your photography to another level. This post is written for a photographer approaching an official architectural photography assignment, but the tips also apply to casual shooters. 1. Do your homework and see if there are any photos of the space online Most buildings in the world have been photographed at least once thanks to Google. A quick Google Image search of the space you’re looking to shoot should pull up a variety of photos by both professionals and amateurs. Use the work of others to your advantage. Check to see what angles other photographers may have already shot, and which ones they haven’t. Examine the photos for any potential challenges that may arise, such as tall interiors or exteriors, or areas that look better when naturally lit by a sunset. Do what you can to anticipate your needs on site before you arrive. 2. Know the geographical aspect of your building Speaking of natural light, this can be your friend or your foe. Many modern buildings today are being built with lots of features that offer natural light such as floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. While these may seem great for the actual building occupant, these features can make or break your architectural photo shoot. More than ever, it is important to know the geographical aspect of the building you are shooting. Is it east-facing or west-facing? Depending on the time of day, it truly matters. Be sure to consider the geographical aspect in relation to the time of day you choose to shoot. 3. Always walk through the space first There are a couple reasons why a walk through is essential. First, it is much easier to remove any clutter or unorganized elements. Two things to always look out for are trashcans and wrinkles in fabrics such as curtains or bed spreads. These are two things that are much easier to remove before you shoot rather than in post-production. Second, think of the walk through as your scouting mission. Look for any “special access” places such as nooks and crannies or elevated spaces, that you may be able to squeeze yourself into to get an alternative view of the space. In this day and age where just about everyone has a camera, capturing stand out photos is about finding the angles of a space that aren’t so obvious. 4. See if the space has been styled Before you walk through the...

Read More »

Top 10 Photographers to Follow on Instagram

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Featured, Food, landscape, Photography Tips

Top 10 Photographers to Follow on Instagram

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out. This week, I’m sharing my Top 10 Photographers to follow on Instagram. Unlike Facebook, where the personal lives and commentary make an artist’s profile interesting, Instagram is all about pure visual appeal for me. I want to see a nicely curated and themed portfolio. I want to be inspired. I want to want to travel to where they’re going, eat what they’re eating, live their experiences, or be the person I’m following. How about you? Who are your faves? 1. cannellvanille Food, family, the Pacific Northwest. What’s not for me to love here? Every photo by cannellvanille is like comfort food for my soul. Warm, fuzzy, sensory. Feels like Home (or what I want Home to be, anyway…) 2. pketron Architectural elements, abstract shapes and color dominate pketron’s feed. She also captures landscapes in an abstract way that inspires me. 3. kat_in_nyc A Russian photographer experiencing New York City, kat_in_nyc captures a lot of double exposures, reflections, people, architecture and scenes so perfectly New York, you won’t even have to go there to experience it. I love it. 4. etna_11 The architectural, graphic and abstract shapes of etna_11′s feed will make you want to pack your bags and move to minimalist Sweden. Every single image makes me giddy with delight. My inner graphic designer is freaking out here. 5. bobbimac If landscapes are more your thing, you’ll love bobbimac. Peaceful foggy morning scenes featuring lone trees, rolling fields of wheat or cliffs overlooking a valley will practically beckon you to get out of the city and into nature. I just got back from a week-long camping trip in the dirt so I think I’ll just enjoy nature from bobbimac’s English countryside feed for now, though… 6. dirka A Southern California adventurer, dirka makes me want to get over to the coast and go to the beach! Seriously, I’m feeling landlocked over here in Spokane. I need me some waves and palm trees already. 7. akemiphotos I’ll admit, I’m not much of a pet person. In fact, my husband and I have a “no pet” policy at our house. Maybe someday we’ll cave and let the kids get a goldfish or something. akemiphotos‘ Instagram features pets so cute I sometimes think I might consider changing my mind, though. I mean, look at how cute they are! 8. trouvemag Ok, so Trouve Magazine is not technically a photographer, but their photography is so lovely that I had to include them. The Instagram feed of this quarterly collection of “found creativity” is eclectic and beautiful (kind of like me, Ha!) 9....

Read More »

An Interview With Sebastian Weiss About Architecture & Instagram Success

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Featured, Photography Tips

An Interview With Sebastian Weiss About Architecture & Instagram Success

Sebastian Weiss is a photographer, graphic designer and civic engineer from Hamburg, Germany. He’s passionate about concrete aesthetics and the beauty of city shapes. His architectural photography celebrates the elegant details of modern buildings, often turning these details into fascinating abstract artworks of their own. Non Symmetric View – Forum Esplanade in Barçelona, Spain Over the years, Sebastian’s photography has been resonating with an increasingly larger audience. In December 2010, he started sharing his photos on Instagram and three and half years later he had garnered over 105,000 followers of his feed. In September 2013, he became a photo columnist for Architectural Digest Germany, a great honor for an architectural photographer. We interviewed Sebastian about his views on architecture, photography and success on Instagram. Whale watching – Universum science center in Bremen, Germany Lily – Music pavilion in Sassnitz, Germany Architecture Although Sebastian’s photography skills haven’t been influenced directly by his background in civil engineering, it did make him aware of the beauty of buildings. “During my studies I realized that architecture in general, and the aesthetics of a building in particular, appeal even more to me than the calculation of a supporting structure.” His studies also made him more perceptive of the interaction between aesthetics and engineering. He looks more critically at the design and aesthetic aspects of a constructive solution, noting, for example, that “we can see in many modern buildings that the load-bearing elements are shifted to the outside of a construction and thereby constitute a crucial part of the overall appearance.” Divide and separate – Pavilion of Portugal in Lisbon, Portugal Chiesa – San Giovanni Battista in Florence, Italy When asked about what he looks for in a building, Sebastian said that “of course every building fulfills an intended purpose, as people live, work or study there, they do some sports, make music, relax, or they go shopping in there. The designated purpose of a building determines considerably the design of it.” “But I in contrast don’t want to emphasize these functional benefits and advantages of a building, like the property developer might expect from an architectural photographer. I try to elaborate the aesthetic beauty and subtleties of constructive details, which often remain hidden to us in everyday life.” “However, these details significantly define the appearance of our environment and represent a sort of city’s alphabet to me, which I want to explore in my pictures.” Metropolis – Metropolis Apartment Building in Copenhagen, Denmark Epic lanes – Antinori nel Chianti Classico in San Casciano Val di Pesa, Italy Photography There isn’t a secret recipe behind Sebastian’s approach to architectural photography. A lot of the work goes into preparation: detailed research of the location, anticipation of weather conditions, checking of compass points, visits in advance to take first photographic notes. It’s important to him to relate to the building, almost like having a relationship. “This requires...

Read More »

No Studio? No Problem! Part 5: Creating Authentic Portraits in Your Back Yard

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Candid, canon, Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, portrait

No Studio? No Problem! Part 5: Creating Authentic Portraits in Your Back Yard

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out. In Part 5 of our No Studio? No Problem! Series, I offer tips for taking timeless, authentic portraits in your own back yard. Whether you’re photographing your kids during a picnic lunch out back, or shooting a portrait session for a client, the yard can be an interesting and dynamic location. Let Them Play One of my favorite portrait sessions of all time was this “siblings session” in Northern Idaho. I had never met the family in person and we agreed to just meet at their home and take photos in the yard. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, but for me that’s part of the fun of shooting on location. When I arrived at their home, I was inspired by the beauty of their property and the golden hour sunlight was perfect! The kids warmed up to me right away and I just kind of followed them around while they climbed the fences, showed me their horses, played in the leaves and lounged on bales of hay. They were having fun. I was having fun. The mom was having fun. No meltdowns or fussing over fancy clothing that might get a little wrinkled, etc. It was a turning point for me, since I had previously decided I didn’t really want to photograph kids. They were too exhausting, unpredictable and cranky. I dealt enough with that at home! But if I could do sessions like this, relaxed, playful, fun, than I would go for it. And here I am today…specializing in at-home portraits! Embrace the Weather My original idea for the No Studio? No Problem! series came about because those of us without a dedicated studio space who live in the Great White North, are stuck inside for several months of the year, and let’s face it, our living rooms aren’t very inspirational backgrounds. But, we get through. Don’t let inclement weather keep you from going out, if you can. School was cancelled on this day, and even though there was about three feet of snow on the ground, the flakes were falling gracefully and the light was gorgeous, so I sent my son out onto the back deck to play and I snapped away. I’ll treasure these photos forever. It was a happy day. These were shot with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and a Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens. ISO 200, f/2.2 at 1/1250. Proof you don’t need a full frame camera or expensive lens to take a great photo. Take Advantage of Architectural or Landscape Features The key to making back yard photos...

Read More »