View Full Version : Shooting Architecture Question

Jay Lnch
4-Feb-2005, 11:42
I am looking to do an Architectual shoot and had a qustion about film or how to do this.

I want to shoot a Custom Home and a small low rise office building. I have seen some nice Architectural images where the sky is a very deep dark blue. They look like they are shot at dusk.

My question is how do you get these deep datk blue skies? Is there a special film that I should use?


Vick Vickery
4-Feb-2005, 11:49
In all probibility the photos you saw were made using a polarizing filter...these can be adjusted to darken the sky from a little bit to a lot.

Tony Galt
4-Feb-2005, 11:51
The simplest way would be to use a polarizing filter. The way it affects the sky will depend on the direction of sunlight , so you may want to try it out with different lighting, at different times of day, to see what the effect is with the buildings you intend to photograph. Also if you use a relatively wide angle lens certain conditions may create a distracting gradation of sky darkness across the frame. Otherwise, it is also possible to darken the sky with digital post-processing if you intend to scan your film output.

David Karp
4-Feb-2005, 12:20
You may use a polarizing filter, but here is another way to do it. The only problem with this way, is that you must pick the photo you want, set up for it, wait, and then come back another day to get another photo.

As dusk approaches, the sky will change color (assuming there are no clouds) to a deeper blue. Meter as you would normally. I always selected a medium tone on the building or used a gray card. Take spot meter readings off of the sky and the lights in the windows of the building. (Of course, this approach requires that window lights are on in the building.) Adjust your exposure settings by checking your medium tone reference fairly regularly. Things can change fast when dusk hits. When I used to do this, I would start photographing when the window and sky meter readings started getting close together, and then continued periodically to photograph. Usually, the photo looks pretty good when the window lights and the sky are at approximately the same meter reading. Eventually, you run out of light, and the sky reads black, or close to it. Things can get pretty hectic during shooting time. EasyLoad or ReadyLoads help in this situation. It also helps to have a helper hand you the film. Another help is to plan the shot and pre-label the film, or have your helper do it while you are photographing. I learned this method

from a photographer who used to shoot catalog images for our company, which manufactured exterior lighting. He used a Sinar P2 with a DB shutter system. It made it easier to work fast, since he did not have to reach around to cock a Copal shutter after each sheet was exposed. Once I learned the method, he took the #1 shot, and I took the #2 shot. That way we were able to get two shots each day, instead of one.

We used Astia. I assume the new Astia 100F would be even better, but I have not tried it. If you want to use negative film, I would go with NPS.

If you have time, you can shoot 2-3 sheets of each exposure. Have one developed, and save the remainder. You can adjust your processing based on how your first sheet, developed normally, came out.

Kirk Gittings
4-Feb-2005, 13:11
Are these the kind of images you are refering to? These are a few of mine that are on the web in various places.

http://www.jonandersonarchitect.com/profile.htm (http://www.jonandersonarchitect.com/profile.htm)

If they are what you are talking about then the suggestions that Dave gave are pretty good. I work slightly different. I place the windows on Zone VII then wait for the sky to dim to one stop darker than the windows, then I shoot 6 exposures. Two at the indicated then +1/2,+1,+1 1/2,+2 have one of the indicated processed and tune the dev. of the rest based on that one. There is some subjectivity in this but these brakets usually give me something dramatic. Which is what I want.

Otherwise the pol. filter works well in daylight unless you are using really wide lenses (you will get an uneven sky). In the SW here the sky is so dark blue that the pol. is rarely necessary for a deep blue.

4-Feb-2005, 13:59
Photoshop it in, just like everybody else.

4-Feb-2005, 14:58
Hi Jay,

Had pretty good results with both Provia and Velvia, but as suggested a few times above, PS will do the trick


Frank Petronio
4-Feb-2005, 15:23
Use color neg and wider brackets until you know...

Jay Lnch
4-Feb-2005, 16:36
Thanks everyone... Yes Kirk those are the images I am tring to create. What film did you use? Will Kodak Ektachrome daylight work?


Kirk Gittings
4-Feb-2005, 20:56

Those were made over twenty years and many different films. Currently I am using Velvia 100F.

Kirk Gittings
4-Feb-2005, 20:58

All were made with daylight film, all were lit by Halogen except one which was strobe. Yes many were made with earlier versions of Kodak Ektachrome.

Dan Jolicoeur
5-Feb-2005, 08:05
Bill, Why do you assume everybody is using photoshop?

David Karp
6-Feb-2005, 15:10
Interesting, story, for what its worth. After a company that I used to work for was purchased by a Fortune 500 company, the marketing communications director came to our company and discussed some of the changes we were going to have to make. One of them was that we were going to have to start using their photographer. As we walked around the office for a while, he asked me how some of the photographs were made. Every time, the conversation included something like: "This is nice, did you use Photoshop?" Every time, the answer was no, it was done on film, no post processing. After a few times, he told me to forget about their photographer and to keep using the photographer we had been using for years.

Kirk Gittings
6-Feb-2005, 22:44
I like that story. I truely believe that it is always better to solve a visual problem in the field if it can be solved. The results have the authority of something that happened in the real world rather than the virtual world. It is that authority that gives photography a unique place in the visual arts and defines a photographer from a graphic artist.

David Karp
7-Feb-2005, 09:00
I enjoyed it when it happened. The photograph that tipped the scales was one of a product. The background was blue, and we popped the bottom portion of the background with a softbox with an orange gell on it. The background looked like it faded from orange up to blue. The product in front of the background had some light coming out of it. We used some canned smoke and shot it into the path of the light. During the long exposure, the light caught the smoke, and it looked like a beam of light. The film came back from the processor, and we were done. No Photoshop, no extra work, ready to go. I am not against Photoshop, but from our perspective, it was nice to have the result without a lot of post processing, or paying for Photoshop time. It did not take that long to set up the shot and check it with Polaroid.