A blog that focuses on the photography of Dean J. Birinyi, an interior and architectural photographer based in San Francisco, CA.

Dawn Shots: Photographing Commercial Architecture

San Mateo Senior High School
San Mateo, CA
BCA Architects
Today's architectural photograph is a very dramatic dawn shot of the courtyard at San Mateo High School. I used several compositional techniques in crafting this image: leading line, diagonal structure, framing elements and timing to capture romantic lighting.

I shot this at dawn because I wanted the dramatic sky light coming from behind the large generally featureless mass of the secondary building to help draw attention away from it and refocus it on the critical elements of the clock tower and courtyard. Shooting as I did changed the character of the second building from an unattractive and boring distraction to a framing element that contributes to the power of the composition.


P.S. I am surprised to find that many people don't know I also shoot commercial architecture and interior design. From 1995 until 2005 commercial architecture is almost all I did photograph, upon moving to Mountain View in 2005 I changed my primary focus to residential because that's what the market was offering. There simply weren't very many commercial projects around but there were a lot of residential.

So, being an adaptable business owner I focused my attention on the work that was most readily available. Now as there are more commercial projects completing I am offering my talents in the commercial realm once again, but I still want to keep shooting residential. It's fun going working in the more intimate environments that are allowed by residential design.