1. ## architecture assignment advice needed

I'm not an experienced architectural photographer, but I've been asked to photograph a two-story building that has been renovated for a law office. The structure takes up a city block, so it will be a horizontal shot, taken from an angle, not straight on. My question: If I use either a 75mm or 90mm lens and stop down to f32 or f45, will that be enough to bring everything into focus along the front of the building, or should I definitely plan to use front swing. In other words, by using a wide angle lens with its inherent good depth of field, will I still need to employ Schiempflug? Also, it's my understanding that my 4x5 transparency will be digitized, so that any color corrections, etc. will be taken care of in Photoshop. In light of this, should I plan on using a polarizer or other types of filtration? I'm a little nervous about this assignment. Thanks for your advice.

2. ## architecture assignment advice needed

I am an amateur myself, but I've spent some time recently taking pictures of buildings. There is no way to be sure without either being there or knowing the dimensions of the building and the point of view of the camera, but I would be highly surprised if you needed to use a swing with either a 90 mm or 75 mm lens.

Of course, the hyperfocal distance depends on just how much the final image will be enlarged and how it will be viewed, but taking a coc of 0.1 mm (for 4 x 5), the hyperfocal distance for a 90 mm lens at f/32 is 2.53 meters. So if you are at least that distance away from the nearest point on the building, then everything from 1.26 meters to infinity will be in focus. The hyperfocal distance for a 75 mm lens at f/32 is 1.76 meters, so it should be even easier to get everything in focus. Of course, if you stop down to f/45, the hyperocal distances will be even shorter. If the images are going to be blown up to wall size and viewed close up, then 0.1 for the coc would be too large. You might then have to double the hyperfocal distances, but even so, you should be able to get everything in focus.

If part of the building will be closer than numbers of this order of magnitude, then you will need a swing, but a very slight swing will do. One thing you should keep in mind is that in the detent zero positions, the standards may not be exactly parallel so there may be a slight swing already there. If that swing is opposite to the direction of the building facade, you may have to correct for it by swinging very slightly back the other way. You should be able to tell if you need any swing correction by looking closely at the ground glass with a loupe. But keep in mind that for most applications, using a very high power loupe will be equivalent to using a very small coc, and can mislead you about what will actual appear to be in focus in your final image. Most people argue for not going higher than about 4 X.

3. ## architecture assignment advice needed

I can't think of any reason not to use your front swing. If you are not confident about using it, a little practice should take care of that. The benefit is that you could avoid using a less than optimum aperture. Regarding filtration, I think it would be desirable to use whatever you would use if there was not going to be any digital work. The better the starting point, the better the end result might be.

4. ## architecture assignment advice needed

Can you get access to a building across the street? An elevated vantage point from an adjacent office (with windows you can open), rooftop, or fire escape can often help with this kind of shot. If you have a wide enough lens and the street is wide enough and there is a time of day when the building is well lit from this perspective, you may be able to shoot straight on. Or if the corner of the building is interesting and the light works for you and if there aren't too many street lights in the way, the building on the opposite corner might provide a good spot to shoot from.

With a very wide lens, a polarizer often produces uneven results. Try it and see. You might find it useful to improve saturation in one part of the frame, but it won't likely produce an even effect over the whole frame with a 90mm lens or wider.

5. ## architecture assignment advice needed

You are taking the photograph from an angle. Within good compositional boundaries, try to keep that angle to a minimum. Angle shots of building corners accentuate the corner and make it look inordinately large and looming.

One way to help this is to frame the building, deliberately decrease the angle an amount (bring the camera back towards horizontal a little), and then compensate with rear shift. As you decrease the angle, some of the building will go off the ground glass, but shifting will bring it back into view. However, by decreasing the angle, you get less distortion.

Whether or not you can do this, as well as swing, will place demands on your image circle. If you have the image circle, it will help to keep the building looking natural in the photo.

6. ## architecture assignment advice needed

will I still need to employ Schiempflug?...

There's an iterative process of "tilt near, focus far" or is it "tilt far, focus near"? Duh!

Yes, you will need it. Read Tuan's note about scheimpflug somewhere on this site, or else you'l give yourself a big headache as I did recently.

P.S.: Don't expect to be an expert on this assignment.

7. ## architecture assignment advice needed

Ben, If you don't have one go get a digital camera. No, not to do the assignment with, but to take some shots to study. I keep a 5 MP digital camera with me and take some shots before I set up. It plugs into my laptop and gives me some angles to study. I use this on landscapes too, when I'm close enough to the car. It just gives you a chance to look at a pic and evaluate how it will look when you fire the shutter.

Good luck.....it will turn out great.

8. ## architecture assignment advice needed

you could just stop down to get everything in focus, but the price is extended exposure time. Depending on the location of the building (and time of day) you may be able to get away with this, but if the building is on a busy street you'll have to use a fast shutter to avoid any blurring - ie movements.

Why not try both methods? Get you shot 'in the bag' with a small aperture, then try some movements.

9. ## architecture assignment advice needed

You've already received good advice, Ben, so I'll take a slightly different tack. My suggestion would be to take some time to pre-scout the building before you actually photograph it. Using a small digital for this can be handy, but just using a framing aid to see what view different lenses will give you is often sufficient. While pre-scouting, consider things like what distinctive architectural elements give the building its "identity", what time of day will light that aspect most pleasingly, and that sort of thing. How is it lit at night, and would a night shot make a nice supplement to the daytime image? If the building is in a business district, would shooting it on a weekend, to avoid traffic and such, be better? Consider, too, what the building looks like toward dusk, when you still have enough ambient light outside, but the interior lights have been turned on. Consider using the back of a pickup truck, or the top of a van to give you a better angle and camera position.

In other words, think creatively first, and then apply potentially different techniques that will augment several creative approaches. Don't be afraid to give the client a couple of choices, image-wise.

10. ## architecture assignment advice needed

Thanks, everyone. As an amateur, I'm not used to getting paid for making photographs. Getting a fairly decent amount of money for this assignment kind of raises the stakes, and it's got me kind of antsy. When you're an amateur, the pressure is off. Well, now it's on -- big time. I wish I could have a clone of Norman McGrath (a great architectural photographer) with me when I shoot this. Thanks again.

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