Category Archives: architectural photography

Agree Realty photography

Agree Realty photography

These images from the Agree Realty photography project that I did for Biddison Architecture are two of the more complicated interiors images that I produced as part of the overall project. This very stylish kitchen and dining space presented a couple of technical challenges. Number 1 was the blue LED lighting strip that runs the length of the far wall. When exposures were made based on the ambient light level of the room, the LEDs were well beyond the dynamic range of any camera sensor or film. Also, the intensity of the LEDs cast blue spill light throughout the room. While this looks very natural in person, in photographs this blue spill is exaggerated and becomes overwhelming, filling the space with blue light. The second challenge was to maintain detail in the dark wood on the refrigerator, lower cabinets, island and stools.

In order to properly expose the LEDs and avoid blue spill light from contaminating the neutral colors of the space I used multiple captures. First the room lights were turned off and captures were made for the blue LEDs. Next, the blue LEDs were turned off and captures were made with the room lights turned on. The final captures were made using flash to light the dark wood paneling and stools. A Gossen ColorPro 3F color meter and a color checker were used during image capture to insure accurate color rendering. All captures were color balanced in Adobe Lightroom before final compositing in Photoshop. In post production we restored just enough of the blue reflections and spill light to provide a realistic look.

Biddison Architecture did a great job in transforming a tired and dated building into a beautiful and comfortable headquarters for Agree Realty. Biddison Architecture received an AIA Detroit Honor Award for the Agree Realty headquarters project.

Agree Realty photography

Agree Realty kitchen

 

Kitchen at Agree Realty Headquarters

Kitchen at Agree Realty Headquarters.

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Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

My goal was to produce a dramatic architectural photograph for my client. Parking structures might not be as sexy as a 50 story condo tower, but our modern cites couldn’t survive without them. And in the hands of great designers and builders, these very utilitarian buildings can look as good as the offices they serve. A chance to do night photography at the Detroit Medical Center is the type of project that an architectural photographer loves! This new parking structure for the Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital utilizes precast concrete panels manufactured by Prestessed Systems, Inc. who hired me to photograph it. The decision to do a night photograph was based on two factors; 1) with a night shot of the building the darkness would hide much of the construction at the south end (far left) of the parking garage. 2) The second, and most important reason is that night photographs look awesome when properly executed. With the sun setting shortly after 9:00pm, we decided to arrive on site at 8:00pm to begin setting up. Once camera position was determined and the tripod and camera locked down, we brought the generator out onto the median (at the far left) and set up 2 Lowel DP lights (with 1000watt bulbs). The first captures were for the sky and the interior lighting of the structure. Once those were done we started the generator and turned on the lights. I started by lighting the south end of the building (far left) and used 2 lights to light approximately 1/3 of the building. We moved the lights and repeated this until we had captures of the entire building well lit. Then it was just a matter of layering the captures together in postproduction. The moon was out when we did the architectural photography, although it was not a full moon. I removed the “real moon” in post and replaced it with a full moon from my files. I love photographing all types of buildings and interiors and all types of architectural photography, but my favorite type of photography has always been night photography. Overall, I’m very happy with this night shot at the DMC.

Detroit Medical Center Night Photography

Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital parking garage.

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Architectural & interior photography at Southfield Town Center in Southfield, Michigan

In early May I was contacted by Deutsche Bank in New York about providing architectural photography of the Town Center complex in Southfield, Michigan. This is a landmark complex in the Metro Detroit area and with it’s reflective gold glass and distinctively shaped office towers, it’s impossible to miss the Town Center complex as you head north on the Lodge Freeway from Detroit. Located 10 miles north of Detroit, the upper floors of the office towers afford a good view of the Renaissance Center to the south and the surrounding Detroit suburbs. The complex consists of 5 office towers totaling 2.2 million square feet.

Being involved in the purchase of the Town Center complex by 601 West Cos. from Blackstone Group, Deutsche Bank wanted good quality architectural and interior photography but they did not have the luxury of waiting for ideal weather. Deutsche Bank told me that they need 3 -5 exterior photographs and 1 or 2 good interior photographs of the large atrium.

One shoot day the sky was cloudier than I would have liked, but do to my client’s schedule I had to shoot. As Deutsche Bank was not looking for sunrise or sunset photographs of the exterior, I began shooting shortly before 9:00am. I photographed the exterior from various locations throughout the day and then moved inside to photograph the atrium when the late afternoon sunlit was steaming in through the large glass wall. The final photographs of the day were a couple of exterior photographs taken from a Lodge Freeway overpass north of Southfield Town Center.

Then next day I posted 25 proofs online for my client to review and by 5:00pm had delivered high-resolution digital files of the six photographs that they selected

The results of the day were some nice photographs of the complex and a very happy client. Also encouraging was word that the new owners, 601 West Cos. are planning on spending between $40 and $50 million on upgrades to the complex.

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Detroit architectural photographer

Detroit architectural photographer

Being a Detroit architectural photographer, I should be used to this weather, but I’ve had just about enough cold, snow, ice, freezing rain and more snow for one winter. I’m not sure how people do it in areas of the world that are really cold. Working outside when it’s -10F is not too bad when you are properly dressed, but in the mid-west we know that this is temporary and it is going to warm up in a few weeks. Somehow that makes it much easier to put up with working outside in the cold. I can’t imagine living in a place like Barrow, Alaska where the average mean temperature for July is only 40.4 degrees! How do you work outdoors when it’s -45F?

Like most people living in the U.S. mid-west or southern Ontario, I enjoy the different seasons. Autumn can be spectacular and a snowy winter can be fun and beautiful. One of the great joys of being an architectural photographer is the opportunity to spend so much time outdoors while photographing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. But this cold weather is outstayed it’s welcome and I am very ready for spring!

Detroit architectural photographer

Woodward Tribute in Pontiac, Michigan on a snowy winter night.


Roses against a red brick wall at the Chass Center on Fort Street in Detroit.

Roses against a red brick wall at the Chass Center on Fort Street in Detroit.

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