On the topic of love (Happy Valentine’s Day) I’m going to share another post about that Woods Hollow house that I LOVE. You’ve probably seen images of houses or buildings that combine a view of a deep blue sky or sunset with the glow of the building’s interior lights showing through windows. I love these shots because it’s my favorite time of day. It makes me think about cozying up inside, winding down, having some wine. Dusk photos draw me in with the reminder of that feeling.
A twilight architecture photo can be quite complicated to make. I’m not a fan of straight up HDR functions within cameras or some editing software. The principal of HDR however can be applied to a more refined shooting and editing process. Well done shots require perfect timing, the right gear and and an artistic eye during post production. While they are still images that convey a single moment they can take hours and lots of layers just to achieve one perfect shot.
Here’s a collection of 16 of the 35 layers that went into the making of this one shot:
Yes, 35 layers! You can see how each layer may only accent a small spot. It sounds tedious but the method is a actually a creative process of light painting. It’s a creative process that flows into the editing stage too. Not all twilight shots necessarily require that many layers but this was an image with a large house and plenty of landscaping that I wanted to mold a little dimension into.
Before & After
Here’s a before and after showing a decent ambient exposure on its own, versus the extra post production combining layers of ambient exposures and layers with remote off-camera lighting. It’s a huge difference!
The best tutorials I found on using this technique for architectural photography are Mike Kelley’s Where Art meets Architecture 1 and 2 found at FStoppers (an awesome photographer resource). There’s lots of great tips including plenty of photoshop methods. Finding a faster way to do anything in photoshop is worth its weight in gold, am I right? I’m a total geek for professional education and loved seeing even basic techniques that I already knew being put into action by someone else.
Stina Booth is a commercial architecture photographer based in northern Vermont available to shoot in Vermont and throughout New England. Services include residential, municipal and commercial projects. To inquire about having your project photographed contact me.
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