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: Deciding What to Shoot

Surgical Reception 
Mather VA Hospital 
photographed for Nacht & Lewis Architects of Sacramento, CA

When I’m preparing to create an image my goal is to show the artistry of the design not specific features.

I always ask the architect or designer what they want to see. They’ll tell me what features are important to them or what they did that was challenging or innovative. I keep this in mind but showing these features and mechanical aspects of the design are a secondary concern.  I work to show what’s cool, or unusual. I look at the space and focus my attention on the things that strike a cord in my soul, that speak to the creative artist in me or cause me to stop and take note of them.

When you’re shooting a structure or space try to see the space with your heart not your head, divorce yourself from the mundane concerns of the construction or the complicated mechanics of the design.

Cultivating an objective viewpoint can be challenging but it’s critical to capturing the character of the finished work. In my seminars I tell people that just because you fought with the contractor to get a light fixture mounted two inches to the right doesn’t mean it’s worth photographing.