Equipment and Techniques
Equipment and techniques are much discussed issues in photographic forums. In this post I describe the techniques I use to get the most out of my equipment on architectural photography commissions.
Having the best equipment doesn’t make anyone a great photographer, it’s about providing the photographer with the best set of options, whether that be a high resolution file capable of producing huge prints in fine art quality, controlling light in ways more basic equipment can’t or correcting perspectives to capture the reality conceived on the architect’s sketches and drawings. My techniques are highly developed workflows that allow me to capture the line and form and flow and function of architecture taking full advantage of the capabilities of my equipment. I also know the limitations of my equipment, there’s no lens better than the eye or processor equal to the human brain.
I use two different camera systems, digital single lens reflex and large format film, each of which has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The large format camera is an optical bench with movements that allow precise control over focus and perspective, I also have tilt and shift lenses for my digital camera that offer similar but not as extensive possibilities. The large format camera offers the ultimate in optical control staring from it’s large focusing screen through it’s optical movements and excellent lens technology, using modern film scanning processes images created with his camera can be produced in resolutions up to 320 mega pixels, more usually however much lower resolutions are used as six foot prints are not a regular requirement. I have a large set of optical filters for both camera systems that allow me to control light and colour.
Whilst I prefer to work with available light as this captures the mood and feeling of the architecture and makes shadows look natural, there are however circumstances where this is simply not practical and for these situations I have a full set of photographic lights.