Architecture

An architect looks to a photographer to match the environmental mood to the structure of the building he/she designed.

Architectural photography takes time and more than one trip to the designated site. Time of day will make or break the success of your photograph. There are 2 key times to take a photograph of a structure; sunrise and sunset. If you want to photograph the outside of a building, you must be very dedicated. First, you must watch where the light falls on the structure. When is the main entrance illuminated? Maybe there is a statue that highlights a dominant area. What is most significant? Maybe you can’t get the key places illuminated in only one session. Visit the building and document where the light falls and how quickly it changes. Proper planning will save you much stress and decrease the unknown when the day of the shoot happens.

Weather and time of year are also major factors. If you live in Texas, like me, expect the unexpected. More than once, cloud cover has caused me to revisit a site 3 to 4 times. The weather channel will become your best friend. Even then, meteorologists are never 100% correct all the time. Don’t get discouraged. It happens to the best.  You may think that you can sleep in and just head out a day late, but you can’t afford to take chances. Depending on a deadline or if it is for your own portfolio, consider the vegetation surrounding the structure. Maybe green grass or fully bloomed trees will emphasize the beauty or geometry of the building. Maybe without it, the area looks cold and desolate. What is the site used for and what feeling are you trying to portray? Maybe you want to capture a few people walking in the area to show usage of the establishment.

Be ready for all sorts of conditions and prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn. It may be tough work and the planning may become extensive, but you will see a major improvement of your images quality. If you want to “wow” your audience then play with sunlight and let it work to your advantage.

Happy shooting!!!

Post-Production Software – Part 2

GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program

First I would like to be clear; I do own and use other software besides these three free programs I have mentioned. I also have used the installations of other programs on my friends computers. I am not writing these posts from a prejudiced point of view that “free software is every bit as good as chargeable software”.

My premise is this: “each piece of software has its strengths and weaknesses”. Strengths and weaknesses which we can use to our benefit! It is my desire to share with you, my reader, the ways that I have found to use these programs in tandem or independently to achieve my desired outcome for each photograph and their functionality of mass file alterations.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is designed to create an image or manipulate an image already created. That is to say, any changes made to an image are saved to the original file and thus over-writing any previous data. So long as the user is aware of this there will be no problems in making your own image progression by changing the file-name (even one character difference is enough to distinguish between files).

Capabilities: Layers, Channels, Gradients, Patterns, Image history, Document history, Wide variety of Tools, Paths and the ability to edit every function of the program or write new scripts in PERL for customized performance. This is a rather brief description of the program capabilities but we can go into these specifics at a later time.

Strengths: GIMP is a wonderful program for the artist working on individual pieces of art or “fine corrections” on specific parts of an art piece. It is a powerful GNU GPL (General Public License) software making it available for tweaking by studious users. All of the Tool Brushes can be copied or new Brushes made to suit your specific purposes.

Weaknesses: For many users not being a file organizer is a turn off. (Thus it is listed as a weakness of the software. I personal still use GIMP for this purpose.) Scripts for complicated processing are minimal (i.e. HDR creation, Panorama stitching and Automatic Watermarking.) It would benefit from better RAW Camera Data reading and manipulation.

These are my professional critiques. For personal uses, this program has always exceeded my desires and performance requirements. It is a solid, fully developed piece of software that is well worth your time to learn and use!

NEXT:… Post-Production Software – Part 3 (Darktable)