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What Is Architectural Photography?

The term architectural photography describes both the subject (architecture) and
the means of capturing it (photography). The word architecture comes from the
Greek arkhitekton, which consists of roots meaning chief and builder.
Architecture is ubiquitous in our lives, and its primary function as shelter
encompasses a great many functional uses. Architecture is practically a humans
second skin. Le Corbusier once said, Architecture is one of the most urgent needs
of man, for the house has always been the indispensable and first tool that he has
forged for himself. Architecture takes on an extremely broad range of forms, from
simple, primeval huts, the ornate temples of antiquity, and the purely functional
factories of the industrial revolution to todays urban landmarks of concrete and
glass. Mankind without architecture would have remained anchored in the stone
age, with few options of places to live, sleep, eat, work, trade, produce, withdraw,
rest, administer, and educate. In many regions, climatic conditions would make life
without architecture impossible. The word photography comes from the Greek
photos and graph, which means drawing with light, and describes a technical
means of optically capturing the likeness of objects and making them palpable in
places where they cannot normally be seen. Photography thus propagates images
of buildings into the wider world, enabling people to view them in a wide variety of
circumstances - whether in newspapers, books, posters, the Internet, or in galleries
or museums.


You can use any one of the main compositional rules, but pay particular attention to
the important zones of focus foreground, middle ground and background. A
general view will have something in each one of these areas that adds to the overall
composition. Elements in each area shouldnt compete with each other and use
features such as pathways and walls to lead the eye into the rest of the scene and
build up your composition as a series of layers.


Its one of the most obvious of photo techniques and yet one of the most widely
forgotten. In our haste to get as much of the subject in the frame, we sometimes
forget to take a step back and use other elements in a scene to act as a frame for
the focal point. Tree branches, window frames of other buildings or even people
standing in the foreground can all be used as makeshift frames for an effective
shot of a building.
Use low angles to blow scale out of the window and place strong elements in the
foreground to confuse the viewer. Whoever said that viewing a picture should be an
entirely unchallenging business? Make the viewer work at appreciating your efforts
and give your picture an edgy feel by experimenting with foreground interest and
scale changes.


Buildings are tall and including a whole one in the frame can be a challenge. Tilt
your camera upwards to include the top of a church steeple and youll induce
converging verticals where the sides of the building lean in. Purists frown at this
effect and will either seek a higher viewpoint (to avoid tilting the camera) or use an
expensive shift lens to get rid of the effect or do it in software. But we heartily
encourage their use. Fit a wide-angle and crouch down low close to a building to
send its uprights skyward.

Architectural photography is like most other picture-taking disciplines getting the
right light is imperative. The quality of light changes throughout the day, but at this
time of year, youll be best off shooting buildings either early in the morning or in
the late afternoon/early evening.
Shoot before the sun gets up and the light will be softer and shadows less defined.
Then theres a short period as the sun climbs into the sky when the light will be
warm and directional, in much the same way as at the end of the day. If its

dramatic shots youre after avoid the middle of the day as shadows will be harsh
and the lighting flat and featureless.
Whenever you shoot, an 81B warm-up filter will help enhance colours, warming up
brickwork and enriching stone. Naturally, this can be added in post-production with
filter effects available in most image-editing programs. Alternatively, shoot Raw and
alter the white-balance when you convert files.

Being angular structures, buildings will contain plenty of symmetry if you look close
enough. Seen through a telephoto or telezoom a building can be deconstructed into
a series of detailed close-ups of curves, corners and lines. Weave symmetry into
your detail shots or play a building off against its location by placing a foreground
object slap bang in the centre of the frame with the building forming the
Apply the same techniques indoors. The interior of a church, for example, is perfect
for symmetry with pillars and a boat-like roof shape.

Best photographed on a bright but overcast day, stained glass is a great subject. If
you want to include a whole window, meter carefully from a bright area, set the
exposure using the manual mode and then recompose. For detail shots, you should
be able to leave the meter to its own devices. If it is really sunny, look for areas
where the windows colours are projected onto stonework or the floor. In both
instances, a tripod is essential.


If youre shooting a location on or near water, take a step back and see if you can
capture a reflection shot. Ideally, you should attempt this type of shot when the
weather is calm ripples in the water will dilute the effect. Remember the rules of
composition and place the building in the top third of the frame. If it is windy, try
going for a more abstract result, concentrating solely on the reflection. Whatever
the prevailing conditions, take a polarizer filter to boost colour on a sunny day, but
be careful how much you turn it as you dont want to remove the reflection effect

The ethereal quality of an infrared image takes some beating in imparting a classic
haunted feel. Infrared images used to only be possible with specialist film Rollei
IR820C and Ilford SFXs extended red sensitivity film are still available but, thanks
to digital, its got a whole lot easier. Some compacts are even infrared sensitive.
One such camera is the Fujifilm FinePix IS-1, which is sensitive to infrared as well as
visible light. Using an opaque filter with this camera, you can shoot handheld,
because you get normal shutter speeds, but as always using a tripod is best
practice, and the effects are impressive.
With a DSLR, youll need a tripod because exposures will be long, even in bright
sun, and an opaque infrared filter such as a Hoya R72 or B+W 092. Compose before
putting the filter in place, then position the filter and take the picture.
If youve recently upgraded your DSLR body you may like to know that you could
get the old body converted for infrared photography. It costs upwards of 205. Once
converted, you cant go back, but it does mean you get infrared images without
using a filter. You can snap away as you would with a normal camera and then do
some work on the computer afterwards this also applies to IR images taken on
compacts and the IS-1. ASC offers an infrared conversion service in the UK

Architectural photographers have their work cut out when it comes to shooting
details there is so much choice! But the beauty is you can do it in almost any
lighting conditions, from bright sunshine to overcast doom and gloom.
Both the exteriors and interiors of older buildings are littered with details, its just a
question of spotting them and, crucially, making them photographically interesting.
Shooting a gargoyle through the long end of a telezoom isnt enough. Instead, look
for shapes and patterns in brick and stonework or go for more abstract
compositions thatll challenge the viewer to work out what it is. Details dont have
to be small. The grandeur of a church roof, cluster of turrets on a stately home or
clock face on a town hall are all options.

A building might look imposing by day, but its at night when the real fun begins!
Floodlit by powerful tungsten lights at ground level, it will take on an altogether
more dramatic persona thanks to stark shadows thrown up by the lights. Seen at
night under floodlights a building will tower above a city and lends itself to being
photographed from a distance with an object in the foreground such as rooftops or
statues placed in silhouette. Expose for the highlights and watch for changes in
white-balance. See PM next month for more on night photography and how to use
your cameras B (bulb) setting.



MAR 6, 2009

Photomontage is a technique widely used by graphic designers and consists of cutting

and joining multiple photographs in order to create a unique image, using graphic
applications such as Photoshop.
The idea here is to create the illusion that all of the photo elements are parts of the same
In this article, well look at 20 beautiful Photoshop montage tutorials that teach you
step by step how to create these amazing photo composites.

Follow these tutorials and mix them up. The possibilities are endless and the results can
really stretch anyones imagination.





















What do you think of these composites? Is this a technique you use for your design

Another tutorial
Photomontage Tutorial

By Teofilo
Teofilo Pardo currently works with his uncle in there new architects office based in Merida, Yucatn, Mxico. He has
been using SketchUp for about 5 years now and V-Ray for about 3 years. Teo believes that making photomontages
is probably one of the hardest things to do successfully in postproduction. With this tutorial Teo will show us how to
get better results and maybe pick up some of his tips and tricks in the process. This is a relatively detailed tutorial by
Teo and the software used was SketchUp, V-Ray for SketchUp and Photoshop.

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to blend a render to a real photograph. This is my post-processing method.
It is not perfect maybe but I hope it will help you with this kind of work. You will need some basic knowledge in
SketchUp Photo Match and Photoshop.
1. Import the image you are going to work on as a Photo Match.

Step 1

2. Model the new proposal using SketchUp. In this case I worked on a new facade for a building in my city.

Step 2

3. Once you have your model finished, render it and remember to try to match the sun position in your model with the
one in the photo the best you can.

Step 3

4. For the reflection in the windows I used a photo of the building, but you can do it more accurately taking a photo of
the street in front of the future project. In this case for me it was just fine like this.

Step 4

5. This was my render result, done with V-Ray for SketchUp. Remember to save it as a png.

Step 5

6. Next we will start working in Photoshop. In this case I open the render and the original photo file.

Step 6

7. Open a new file and name it Photomontage, with a size of 900 x 620 pixels as we dont need a very big resolution.

Step 7

8. I open a new page and I click and drag the two images, the render and the photo to the new page.

Step 8

9. I will try to be quite specific with these next few steps as maybe some of you do not use Photoshop, so for those
who know how to use it, please be patient. Now as you can see the photo is too big so we will scale it down so it can
fit to our work space.

Step 9

10. To scale the photo we will go to Edit > Free Transform. When you use the Free Transform tool, press Shift so you
do not lose the scale proportion.

Step 10

The result should be something like you see in the picture below. Now we need to blend the render to the photo.

Result of Scaling

11. In order to do this I set the Opacity of the render layer, which I named Render, at 70%.

Step 11

12. Next you go to Edit > Free Transform and modify the render until you are happy with the result.

Step 12

13. Then set the opacity again in 100%.

Step 13

14. Next create a Layer Mask. This will help us to delete any part of the render or the photo that we do not want to
see or want to hide.

Step 14

15. Select the Brush Tool and right clicked to choose the Master Diameter and Hardness of the Brush. Once we set
this we can start passing the brush over the parts we want to hide. To unhide just press the x key and pass the brush
again over the hidden part.

Step 15

16. As you can see in the next picture I use the brush on the Layer Mask to hide some parts of my render so that the
Chinese restaurant blends into the adjoining building like it should.

Step 16

17. I recommend you use the Zoom Tool for the finer details in some areas, to be more accurate with the work and
make sure to set the Master Diameter of your Brush as it is needed.

Step 17

Here is the result after using the Brush and the Zoom Tool on the Layer Mask. Remember to select the correct Layers
when working in Photoshop.

Result After Brush and Zoom Tool

18. Then I did the same on the Layer Mask to unhide the cars.

Step 18

19. Now as can be seen in the next picture we have a little problem with those boxes because we do not want them
to be in the scene. So we are going to make them disappear. First we need to select the Rectangular Marquee Tool,
and select an area of the sidewalk, because this selection will help us cover up those boxes.

Step 19

20. Once we have made our selection we need to go to Edit > Copy and then go to Edit > Paste and a new selection
will appear in the Layers Window. That new layer is the selection we made with the Rectangular Marquee Tool.

Step 20

21. Next drag the selection over the box and the grass on the sidewalk to cover them up and use the Scale Tool or
the Perspective Tool in Edit >Transform > Scale or Edit >Transform > Perspective and Transform the sidewalk
selection so it will cover the unwanted box and the grass.

Step 21

22. Now you can adjust the size of the selection with the Scale Tool and cover the unwanted box and grass.

Step 22

The next picture is the result of your hard labor so far. Remember you can be more accurate with this by making
some new layer masks and getting sharper results, but for this one I think it should be fine.

Result of Editing so Far

23. Here I have created a new Layer Mask on the selected layer so I can sharpen some details.

Step 23

24. Now I want to erase the street post and some wires. I am going to make a new Layer Mask on the Photo Layer.

Step 24

25. I hide them with the same method by selecting the Brush Tool and selecting the new Layer Mask and passing the
Brush Tool over the street post and the wires. Remember to unhide, change from black to white on the Set
Foreground Color.

Step 25

26. Now open a new image for the sky. This one is from CG Textures and is the sky I am going to use for the image.
You need to click and drag it into the file you are working on.

Step 26

27. Once you drag it into the Photoshop file, the sky would look something like this and we need to use the Layer
Mask on the Photo Layer to hide the white spots.

Step 27

And this is the result.

Result so Far

28. Now scale the sky so it can fit on the image, until I get a nice result this is done with the Free Transform Tool.

Step 28

29. Now let us start working on the color and brightness adjustments so the sky, the photo and the render can blend
nicely together. First select the Photo Layer and go to Image >Adjustment >Hue/saturation.

Step 29

30. With this option set the saturation on -22 because for me the colors in this particular photo are too bright.

Step 30

31. Now select the Sky Layer and go to Image >Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.

Step 31

32. Set the Brightness at +120.

Step 32

33. Next go to Image>Adjustments>Selective Color.

Step 33

34. In the window that appears, choose the Cyan and the Blue color and change both to -100 in the Black selection
slider. The blue color was to much and I wanted the sky to be more white like in the picture.

Step 34

35. Now select the Photo Layer and go to Image>Adjustment>Brightness/Contrast and change the Brightness to +11.

Step 35

36. Next comes an interesting part. Go to the Render Layer and change the Color Balance. This can be done with the
Color Balance option, but I do it another way. Go to Image>Adjustments>Selective Color then choose Neutrals from
the top colors and choose in this case Cyan -10, Magenta +1 and Yellow +10.

Step 36

37. Also on the same layer change the Brightness to +24.

Step 37

Now you can see that the photo has some chromatic aberration. You can see this in some edges because they look
kind of reddish. Our render will not have those red edges because we are going to fix them.

Image has Red Edges

38. Go to Filter>Distort>Lens Correction.

Step 38

39. Next a window will appear as shown in the next picture. Go to Chromatic Aberration and set the Fix Red/Cyan
Fringe to -18 and set Fix Blue/Yellow Fringe to 8.

Step 39

Now the render blends better with the photo because it also has Chromatic Aberration.

Result so Far

40. Still working on the Render layer, go to Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter.

Step 40

41. Set the Warming Filter to 20%. This helps to blend even more in this case the render to the photo.

Step 41

42. I also use the Layer mask on the Render Layer to use the same door and window in the photo, because with this
particular project that area was going to stay the same.

Step 42

43. Next change the Contrast of the Render because it is looking a little flat when comparing it with the photo. Just
change the Brightness to +51.

Step 43

Now for the final touch, lets open another image. This one is also from CG Textures and its a bare concrete.

Bare Concrete Texture

44. Go to Edit>Transform>Perspective and Scale the texture to the size of the wall.

Step 44

The next picture shows the result of this.

Result so Far

45. Next set the Opacity to 25%.

Step 45

46. Following this, go to Select>All

Step 46

47. Go to Edit>Copy Merged

Step 47

48. Create a New Page and name it Final Render and paste all the layers into one.

Step 48

Add a frame, some more Contrast, signature and thats it! Hope this tutorial has been helpful to you and that you may
have learned some new tricks.

Final Image