charlotte bell photo
Charlotte Bell Photography

I'm a free lance photographer in Austin, TX and San Miguel de Allende, MX.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” — Henry David Thoreau

The challenge of photography is to capture these moments in life. Every location and every person is unique so my work is always new, interesting and exciting.

Architectural photography

High quality images are essential for realtors, contractors, architects and builders. Charlotte has the equipment, programing and skills to create the highest quality images for brochures, prints or websites. Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects. Architectural photographers are usually skilled in the use of specialized techniques and equipment.

Here are some tips.

1. Be sensitive to the direction of light as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections. High levels of contrast can fool cameras into exposing the scene incorrectly, but shooters can easily overcome this by applying exposure compensation. Another trick is to bracket shots at different exposure values (exposing one for the highlights, one for the midtones and one for the shadows) and later merge them in a dedicated HDR program (such as Photomatix).

2. A fish eye or wide-angle lens (and focal length) is ideal for this genre as it enables photographers to frame the entire building within its environment. However sometimes your glass may not be able to encompass the whole scene, which is where the helpful panoramic format can come in handy. Many compacts now offer a specific Scene mode for stitching together several shots in camera, but the same effect can be achieved post-shoot with dedicated panoramic software such as; as Hugin or PTgui if you are shooting with a DSLR.

3. We are told it’s what’s on the inside that counts and sure enough architecture photography isn’t restricted to the facia of a building. It can be difficult to correctly white balance an interior setting, especially ones that are reliant on various forms of artificial lighting, so remember to compensate accordingly in the White Balance menu or take a reading from a grey card. Interior shots in older buildings tend to be more irksome because they traditionally feature small windows and doors – thus lack natural light. Try using a tripod and executing a long-exposure and remember you could always utilise an ND filter to stop highlights being blown out when shooting in the day. Alternatively you could use supplementary lighting, such as a diffused flash but be careful as this may rob the scene of its atmosphere and detail.

4. When the sun goes down a new form of architectural photographer can surface. To shoot a structure as a silhouette during sunset, position the architecture between yourself and the sun. Make sure the flash is deactivated and expose for the sky. If the foreground is too light set the exposure compensation to a negative value to darken it. This effect can produce particularly enigmatic results. Night shots can be very dramatic and atmospheric too, but remember to take them when there is still some light and color left in the sky as this adds tone to the backdrop and help to illuminate details. As before get into a good position and set your camera on a tripod and wait for the dazzling display of urban lights from windows, street lights, signs – all of these in their rainbow of neon colors will add to the ambience. Use a wide aperture and long exposure, and if your camera is supported you’ll be able to employ a low ISO to ensure details aren’t depreciated by noise.

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