Making Photos vs Taking Photos: How 20 Shots Become One Dynamic Image
Remarkable architectural images are much more than snapping a photo. If that was the case, anyone could do it with an iPhone. Telling the story of a project involves making photos that illustrate the architect's intent.
In this case, my client, Stantec, wanted an image of their new Minneapolis office's elevator lobby to show the strong geometry of the ceiling, the colorful storyboard panels, and the dramatic lighting. They also wanted to include people to show scale and add warmth.
Twenty shots were taken of this scene to "make" the final image.
A normal 35mm frame wouldn't completely show the space without eliminating important ceiling detail and cutting off the bottom of the scene.
Using a high end full frame DSLR (Canon 5D Mark IV) and a Tilt/Shift lens dedicated to architecture helped capture the view with no distortion. Moreover, the shift feature enabled us to shoot a series incorporating the top third of the scene, the middle, and the lower end of the scene.
The image resolution was enhanced by making captures for each third of the scene by taking photos to make the background in sharp focus and another set to make the foreground in sharp focus. Although the optical quality of the lens and the Aperture selected helps a lot to make everything sharp, this technique adds an additional layer of sharpness. The whole image snaps into focus making it possible to enlarge the image geometrically as well as make it look great on a magazine cover. Although slight, you can see the difference in sharpness between areas of focus from back to front.
Before we completed the capture process, we inserted people into the scene, trying different combinations before we found what we wanted.
The post production process included combining the foreground and background photos into sharply focused photos using dedicated software. Another app was used to stitch the upper, middle, and lower photos together into a vertical panorama. The people were inserted into the lower third of the panorama and the image was "tweaked" in Photoshop and OnOne Effects to create the final image.
Making this image allowed us to create the narrative my client was looking for.
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