by Michel Schamp
© 2019 OXOViSUALS
All rights reserved.
Creative architecture photography — Ziekenhuis Bernhoven Uden
professional corporate photographer professionele fotograaf bedrijfsfotografie creative commercial photography architecture exteriors interiors real estate private exclusive fine art
Vision on photography
Simply put, I believe photography is about capturing and conveying emotions. This applies to most types of photography including portraits, fashion, products, lifestyle, as well as architectural photography. In the end it is all about the viewer who is supposed to feel something when watching an image. An image is good when it triggers an emotion to the viewer. This can be achieved by elements of surprise pushing our imagination, or with visual storylines that are not only pleasing to the eye but also make us wonder how the image was created and if there are possibly any hidden messages present that at first glance we might be unaware of. Another important characteristic that I try to apply to my photography is that simplicity rules: less is more.
Light is everything
In my style of photography I tend to shoot my subjects in bright and vibrant colors, preferably under the best possible lighting conditions, resulting in images with fresh, warm and cheerful tones. Architectural light at its best radiates the soul of buildings and spaces. The architectural images that I shot of the Bernhoven hospital in The Netherlands were taken at the very end of golden hour and the beginning of blue hour under beautiful twilight conditions with gentle red, orange and blue sky tones. The red tones coming from a warmly lit western sky illuminating the front side of the building, and the dark blue tones radiating from the upper eastern skies emphasizing the stars.
Bernhoven hospital - North side facade
The art of architectural photography
As a commercial fine art photographer one of my specialities is architectural photography. Beautiful buildings created by architects around the world make our lives more comfortable with a pleasant environment both for working and living. In order to tribute to the creation of the architects who designed the buildings I try to achieve a synergy between my art as a photographer and their art. The social function of buildings along with the human activities characterizing its purpose are best photographed in winter, when it is dark early while there are still activities going on inside and outside of the buildings. In this case, a beautiful late November night was the perfect occasion for an architectural shoot of the Bernhoven hospital. With this shoot I tried to visualize the dynamics in and around the building in a live real-world situation.
Mastering the shoot
As soon as the perfect shooting conditions arrived I had to move around quickly in order to make the most out of the temporary perfect lighting situation. Twilight doesn’t last that long and ones it dissipates the sky transforms quickly to black. It is therefore a good practice to figure out beforehand where the spots are for taking the best shots, so when showtime arrives you can swiftly adapt and effectively handle all planned shots. In shooting situations where there is a big difference in exposure between the light inside and outside of the buildings I take two (or more) shots, one exposed for the interior and the other for the exterior. In post production I then merge these exposures into one perfectly lit final image.
Bernhoven hospital - Front facade
Once I have captured all the shots of my shot list it is time to start processing them. Some people think that in post processing everything is possible. While that is true for all the creative directions you can choose to go with your editing and design, it is not true for the final quality of the post processed image, that is, if your source materials are poorly captured then post processing can only help you to a certain degree. This means that you have to make sure to capture the photographs in the highest possible quality. To be able to create high quality captures first of all you have to use a tripod. Next, it is important to go with the lowest ISO setting supported on the camera. This will give the lowest amount of noise in the recorded pixels. As the length of the shutter speed is not really relevant since you are shooting on a tripod, what you do have to consider is the F-stop or aperture. Best practice here is to use the aperture at which the lens performs at its best, usually to be found around F8. If you want to achieve extra depth of field you can always go beyond F8 and close the aperture further down.
Editing high quality shots starts in Adobe Lightroom. In the first stages of editing I use Lightroom to edit the RAW photo files. Lightroom allows me to fine-tune all the data contained in each pixel that was captured in the highest possible dynamic range at the lowest possible noise levels. Normally I shoot all my images 0.7 to 1 stop underexposed to preserve the highlights to consequently bring back the lowlights and shadow areas in Lightroom. Photoshop comes into play when multiple exposures have to be merged to create one detailed file. For the shoot of the Bernhoven hospital I also used one of my personal stock photos of a starry night sky. By adding a beautiful pattern of extra stars to the contrasty blue sky behind the building I was able to give the image that creative and original fine art touch to really make it stand out.
Bernhoven hospital - South side facade
If the architect of the building says WOW! what a beautiful photo then my mission is accomplished. Or if the business or organization currently owning the building is proud and impressed watching and having the final images then I have achieved my goal. As a commercial and fine art photographer it is my challenge to constantly impress new customers. It is therefore my true pleasure to create thankful works of art for businesses and individuals from all walks of life.