Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tips for Removing any Obstructions and to un-clutter the Front Elevation

When you prepare a property for a photo-shoot there might be several elements that either obstructs the view, is not required in the frame, will give a negative impression to the viewer or take away the viewers’ attention from the main subject i.e. the building; here are some tips to help you get around them.

Look out for garbage/recycling bins, advertising boards, hockey or basketball nets, garden tools, old newspapers, water hoses, pool items and toys, cloths left on the clotheslines etc. also watch out for excrement from any pet animals on the yard.

Any of these items if included in the picture should be deliberate and to create a feel of activity, of human presence etc. else it is better they are all removed from the scene. You could move them temporarily to the garage if there is one or place them somewhere towards the rear of the house (the side which will not be featured when shooting an angled perspective of the front elevation).

Dealing With Cars

If there are cars, it is better to park them in the garage or on the opposite side of the street. It is not advisable to park the vehicle directly in front of the property.

At times you will come across situations when there are parked vehicles on the street or a garbage bin, directly in front of the property you wish to shoot and you have no means to move them from the frame. In such situations the best solution to get around the problem is to raise the height of the camera and shoot from a height that will help you exclude any obstructions in front of the building from the frame. You can use a stepladder, shoot from the top of a vehicle, raise your camera above on a strong light stand attached with a tripod head and use CamRanger to operate the camera, find a suitable vantage point on any building which is opposite the one you wish to shoot and has a clear, unobstructed view etc.

One other option you have if the building is some distance away from the street (is situated in a large compound or is separated by a walkway or a wide pavement) is to use a wide angle lens and photograph the building from an oblique angle that excludes the vehicles on the street altogether.

When none of this works and you are left with no options other than to photograph the building with the vehicles in the frame, you can try to achieve some artistic effect and make it look that the vehicles were intentionally included in the frame by capturing the reflection of the building in the car’s glossy paint work or on the front windscreen. Just make sure the vehicle is clean and tidy and is presentable (not a shabby one with dents and other issues) you could maybe change the color of the vehicle or do some minor touch ups to make them look good in post but try to get most out of the situation while on location. Also try not to include the vehicle registration plates in the image, they serve no purpose, is a big visual distraction and will also date your image.

In cases where you need to photograph the exterior from across a street, you basically have three options. There will be traffic on the street; the amount of traffic will vary depending how busy a street is however the options you have here are:

  1. Patiently wait for breaks in the traffic to take your shots.
  2. Shoot from a higher vantage point so as to avoid the street and the traffic altogether from the frame.
  3. Shoot with a slower shutter speed so as to include the vehicles as streaks or blur for an artistic feel. This works especially well during early mornings and late evenings when the ambient light levels are low and the vehicles all have their lights on.

Related Reading

  1. Architectural Photography Tutorial – How to Put the Camera At a Higher Angle
  2. How to Photograph Tall buildings? How High Should I Position My Camera For Best Results?
  3. How to Effectively Convey a Sense of Scale in Architectural Photography?
  4. Architectural Photography Tips – How to Photograph North Facing Buildings
  5. Right Weather For Photographing Architecture