September 28, 2016

Buildings don’t travel, which means that most people will experience any particular building only through photographs. Consequently, those who rely on photography to represent their work have a lot at stake. Each image must communicate as effectively as possible, enabling the viewer to fully appreciate whatever the photo depicts.  

I have learned over time that one of the best ways to get something to happen is to make it easy for people to do. It’s not that people won’t try, but in a busy world, sometimes a little more work is just a little too much. The most compelling photographs draw the viewer in and get straight to the point, without barriers or distractions. This immediacy results from many factors; here, we will look at one of the more apparent ones, which is the removal of unnecessary objects from the final image. 

By judiciously taking things out, we can create a smoother visual experienc...

July 26, 2016

Shadow is a color as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relation of two tones.
                                                                     -Paul Cezanne

In a world of shadows and highlights, the highlights seem to get the most attention. We watch highlight reels on TV, mark our documents with highlighters, and describe positive events as the highlights of our days. When it comes to photography, most of us are probably more attuned to highlights than to shadows, if for no other reason than because they are the brightest and most readily...

June 16, 2016

Context matters. Good designs can stand on their own in many ways, but buildings and spaces inevitably interact with their surroundings. Understanding context can deepen our appreciation of the design; for example, by illuminating the designer’s intentions, or revealing how a space functions. Closely related to context is juxtaposition, in which elements are placed near one another to achieve some effect. This is typically done by using contrasts of various kinds, including styles, colors, shapes, materials, and textures.

All of this matters in photography just as it matters in person. If the photographer is sufficiently aware of them, context and juxtaposition can be powerful tools for communication. The result is a photograph that says what we want it to say about the subject.

To see this in practice, consider two photographs of One Wells Fargo Center in Charlotte. The first version is cropped to...

April 4, 2016

This article is the first in an occasional series about the elements of good architectural photography. It is intended for art buyers, marketing professionals, and anyone else who commissions or creates photographs of the built environment.

Architectural photography is full of choices, because there is rarely just a single way to photograph a space. Becoming an informed viewer of architectural photography can help you navigate the possibilities, and obtain photographs that say what you want them to.

One choice that is sometimes overlooked is color versus black-and-white. For much of the twentieth century, black-and-white had a significant presence in architectural photography. This mainly had to do with the vagaries of film: compared to early color films, black-and-white films were more archival, less expensive, and easier to develop. Moreover, color films did not always reproduce color accurately,...

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Architectural Photographer

Charlotte, NC


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