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

Tricks of the Trade: Dusk Photographs

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Private Residence
Carmel Valley, CA
Miller Stein Interior Design

Not every project lends itself to a twilight shot filled with mood and romance.

I love dusk photographs, they carry connotations of romance and mystique that is eminently appealing to people. The technique is a favorite of almost every photographer I’ve ever met, but not every structure lends itself to a really nice twilight photograph.

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AIA Award Winner
Roseville High School
Roseville, CA
Williams + Paddon Architects + Planner

It’s important to time your shots to make the most of the elements of the structure, such as the shot of the high school seen here. The architecture didn’t lend itself to a dusk or dawn shot because there isn’t a large expanse of glass. The majority to this elevation is brick. The design and my desire to enhance the stability and dignity of the design called for a one point perspective view. The essence of the design was best communicated through the use “flat” lighting with the sun directly over head, this brought out detail in each course of brick and enhanced the raised lettering and ornamental details. The one point perspective and one point lighting both combine to make a declarative statement about the serious nature of the project and the design.

An unnecessarily dramatized presentation achieved by shooting at dusk or dawn would have been a pretty picture but would have detracted from the presentation of the essence of the design.

When you're photographing your projects work to capture the character and context of the design, the nature of the project and enhance the specific view that you are shooting. You'll get better results and have a much more engaging presentation than if you use the same type (twilight) of shot over and over and over and over.