“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Fred R. Barnard
No matter what the occasion, we must choose our words carefully, not just ramble on until we exhaust our audience’s patience. Similarly, as an architectural photographer, I strive to make concise visual statements that showcase the value of the designer’s vision in an artistically substantive manner.
I’ve often found it perplexing that some people see the careful process of arranging and aligning furnishings and styling elements as tedious. I don’t. Far from it. In fact, it’s one reason why I enjoy my work.
Positioning tables just right is great fun. Placing chairs far just enough away from their companion tables to communicate the scale of the space while making incremental adjustments to the height and position of the camera to capture the flow of the design is often a private, unshared reward. The payoff of working in such a precise and exacting manner is in the impact the final image has on how people respond to it.
Challenges Faced – Challenges Overcome
Every shoot has obstacles. Thankfully, I overcame them all while photographing the Wi-Fi Café at the Brio Apartments in Walnut Creek, CA for KTGY Architecture+Planning, SummerHill Housing Group, and CDC Designs. Did you notice the reflection of my camera in the window? No? Of course not!
How did I manage to align the table and chairs just right and avoid the appearance of visual clutter? Patience. (Did I mention I really dig this stuff?) I even successfully positioned the barrel back chairs to fit the representation of their intended use of space without breaking the flow of the geometry or allowing their form to be distorted by my wide-angle lens.
A well-crafted composition requires that every detail is carefully thought out and planned. From the tables and chairs, to the positioning of the bolsters and the book and bottle in the background – even showing the reflection of the television in the exterior window was a conscious act.
Light, Energy, and Flow
To really convey the designer’s vision for this space, I needed to capture the image at the exact moment when the ambient interior light, exterior daylight at dusk, and metal halide lights illuminating the sculpture were perfectly balanced in order to focus attention on the energy and flow of the interior design in context with the exterior environment.
To maximize the impact of the composition, I supplemented the interior lighting, enhancing the form of the chairs and the overall flow of the image, and added depth by creating floor shadows in the foreground.
Success – A Moving Response
In art, the worst response of all is no response – a casual turning of the page without comment. As an architectural photographer, I work to engage the imagination, to create memorable images, and to make the viewer eager to see more. In essence, I create in order to evoke a visceral response, so that the recipients of the message will speak the thousand words for us while we modestly accept their praise.