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GarethC

M8 Architectural Interiors Advice

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Stitching is a very useful technique but ............ It is very time consuming. But I'm learning something new.

 

Yes, stitching manually is very time consuming for anything more than 3-4 images....but so rewarding as u begin to see the composite image emerging, but as has been said with CS3 and CS4 (i dont have CS4) it is very (relatively) straightforward, and there is ofcourse the option of bespoke stitching software if u have neither CS3 or 4. A panoramic head helps, but i keep coming across multishot panoramic images which i am told were all taken hand held.

 

For me, i also think the issue of lighting ratio internal/external is probably more of an important issue than lens selection.

 

 

Ali

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Guest guy_mancuso

Seems the most underrated aspect of this whole thing and that is light and without it just pack up and go home because if you can't do a excellent job of lighting than your dead before you start. I wish more people actually understood this more than what lens camera to use. I don't pull a camera out until the lights are in place. Frankly if you don't see the light ,bend the light or create the light than no camera or lens will help you. Bottom line photography is all about light without it might as well shoot stars instead. Have a nice Thanksgiving

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Guy

 

Lighting is of course all important but that doesn't mean that every interior actually HAS to be lit by additional lighting! The WATE shot I posted was taken on a cloudy bright day for example - it was not possible to actually light it for a variety of reasons and HAD to be shot 'as was'. Understanding what lighting or day to use IS important, just as is lens choice., etc.. Personally I rarely shoot on anything wider than 24mm on full frame for interiors - the WATE shot being something of a exception - although on occasion I do resort to 19mm.

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Seems the most underrated aspect of this whole thing and that is light and without it just pack up and go home because if you can't do a excellent job of lighting than your dead before you start. I wish more people actually understood this more than what lens camera to use.

 

Precisely my earlier point and never more true than for stuff like architectural photography.

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One can do panorama with and only with Photoshop CS3, even better CS4.

 

Hence do take a panoramic head.

 

The followings are done exclusively with Photoshop CS3. I was with Gilles when he did Lourdes panoramas for Liberation.

 

 

g i l l e s v i d a l - i n f o g r a p h i s t e

 

D, thanks for posting this link. These moving images are very exciting and enjoyable.

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Guest guy_mancuso
Guy

 

Lighting is of course all important but that doesn't mean that every interior actually HAS to be lit by additional lighting! The WATE shot I posted was taken on a cloudy bright day for example - it was not possible to actually light it for a variety of reasons and HAD to be shot 'as was'. Understanding what lighting or day to use IS important, just as is lens choice., etc.. Personally I rarely shoot on anything wider than 24mm on full frame for interiors - the WATE shot being something of a exception - although on occasion I do resort to 19mm.

 

Honestly your ambient is too hot which needed to be brought down about a stop and the foreground area could have been lit with strobe. If you did that it would not have been so hot beyond those doors also. It's about balance. I would have still used 5 strobes on that one. Being honest and trying to give you a good critique. Lighting is not only broad light but spotting different area's too. Now obviously sometimes you do not have the time or gear to do these things and it is not always a paying client to get you out there in the first place. Nor are you always going to want correctly balanced images. The point being most and i am being really honest here because I teach this stuff is a lot of people ignore lighting and just accept what is given , which is fine but they still don't understand what it does and really that is what my point was. I wish more folks would spend less money on buying a lens and get more rounded with there learning. That is not a plug either and something folks should really explore is learning more than buying gear. All that technology behind the gear is to help you do better and make it easier to be creative , what get's lost is actually how to do photography. I don't mean this at you at all but in general terms. We talk about which lens will be best for this but the reality is what techniques would work best and these are the questions that do not get asked but if it is the lens you want to know get one that has the least amount of barrel distortion. All wide angles have it so find one that has the least amount and your still going to have to correct for it in post. T/S lens are handy but not always needed but being level is paramount. Best advice there is a Pano head and get that perfectly level than put the camera on the tripod. Than raise or lower with center column to fine tune. This way the camera stays on perfect plane. At this point do not touch your ball head or tripod head any adjustment you make than you will be off. To often people are fooling around with the head to get level. Get the tripod center level than it should all fall into place.

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Gareth - I didn't have time to post when I first read your thread, but it alarmed and me if I had time I would have written an 'Irish' answer; that I wouldn't start from your starting point. But the thread has raced on in the last 36 hours or so, and you have had some incredibly generous advice from people who know how to do 'interior' architectural work [such as Alan, Sean, and Guy]. Thank heavens you seem to be relenting; take the 24 shift because it is the right tool for the job; it's bulk is an irrelevance and opting for the M8 only kit you described would be a disservice to your client. Get the picture right in-camera because it matters and shows [check Alan's website for confirmation], and heed Guy's warning that quality lighting is essential in this kind of work - it is not a take-it-or-leave-it incidental matter. Everyone can make pictorial images of pretty scenes, but good architectural photography requires good photographers doing meticulous work with the right skill set and the tools for the job. Anything less than that will show!

 

................ Chris

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Honestly your ambient is too hot which needed to be brought down about a stop and the foreground area could have been lit with strobe. If you did that it would not have been so hot beyond those doors also. It's about balance. I would have still used 5 strobes on that one.

 

The problem here is that it HAD to be shot as was! Personally I'm far from convinced that the shot would have benefited from using lots more lights, and it certainly would not have been cost effective. As I said it was an example of the use of a WATE.

 

I'd also point out that there has to be some variance in acceptability and style - otherwise we simply all take the same image (and there is a lot of it about already!). So respectfully I'll have to disagree with you on this one. For the usage required of it this shot is fine! (I'd also comment that it prints far better than it looks on the web).

 

I would however fully endorse your sentiments on learning as opposed to buying gear. The 'right' equipment for the job is of course essential, but owning it won't teach you how to take the photo.

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It's all important...the way we use light, the way we use lenses, etc. One of the tricky things about interiors is that we sometimes are limited by space and so must work with wider lenses than we might prefer. Working so close to the subject (using wide lenses) there is indeed the challenge of not distorting the space (so that it looks much larger than it is, out of proportion, etc.)

 

Small spaces can also be tricky to light because we want the light to fall in certain ways (from certain directions) be we also don't usually want the light sources appearing in the frame or causing flare.

 

I have a set of clients (inns) who've let me move them in the direction of shooting rooms at night. Evening is when we normally retire to our rooms and there's something about the look of a welcoming room at night that can be very attractive. So, for those pictures I use a mixture of existing lighting and warm quartz lights.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Sean you are lucky!

 

My problem here is that this interior is a public place only available when open and so only in daylight. So additional lighting would be too problematic. The best balance IS in this shot - cloudy bright. Any duller and the interior lighting dominates and colour shifts become distracting, and brighter and contrast is too high. I suppose my point is that you sometimes have to compromise and work with what you have - but again placement of lighting would be difficult as I WAS backed into a corner - and I'm still satisfied that the shot is quite acceptable given the constraints.

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Guest guy_mancuso

Exactly mood sets the stage . For bedroom shots the warm and romantic feel to it. Even though there is plenty of strobes going on you still let the ambient light dominate for the mood. For open spaces like family rooms when plenty of outside views are there than you want to balance inside /outside and give that feeling of space. Kitchens you still want a warm feel to it but still airy space. So different rooms or setting will dictate how the look should be and than using night work or day work for a certain feel to it. Most interior shooters will scout and figure this out ahead of time what time of day each room should be shot and how that look is to be made through the lighting of it.

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Sean you are lucky!

 

I am lucky in that respect. It's somewhat of an unusual choice for inns but it seems to work for them in terms of marketing and I've convinced several of them to try it. People call and ask for specific rooms that they are attracted to because of the pictures they've seen.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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One of things I've learned from people who light for cinema is to not be afraid of shadows. Sometimes it is tempting to aim for these kinds of nearly shadowless interior pictures that risk feeling sterile and artificial. I try to move away from that.

 

Back to the camera/lens question...this was also done with the 24 TS-E. Lighting was a blend of existing and quartz.

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Sean - Vertical-stripe wallpaper eh? That would have been fun on the M8.

 

................. Chris

 

Hi Chris,

 

Yes, but I think the stripes might not have been placed close enough together to trigger moire in the M8. Certain pin stripe suits though...

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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...Small spaces can also be tricky to light because we want the light to fall in certain ways (from certain directions) be we also don't usually want the light sources appearing in the frame or causing flare....

 

 

Small spaces or large spaces that are shot wide often leave few places to put the lights. Sometimes I leave the lights in the shot and then do another frame without them and retouch. Combine this technique with stitched panoramas and blending parts of several exposures and you'll see why it can be tricky and painstaking.

 

By the way, I use Autopano for stitching so it isn't the stitching itself that is the hard part. It is various aspects of precisely shooting interiors in sections that is difficult. For instance you can't generally get away with a spherical or cylindrical panorama as it will be too distorted. So you have to stitch in planar or rectilinear mode. This takes a lot of practice and thought. Make it too wide and the edges will be very distorted. Panoramic or any extreme wide angle is like any tool. One has to balance the desire to get a lot in the picture with what is a "good" picture. Sometimes I know I am not creating the best possible photograph of the room but I have to communicate the large volume of space.

 

I agree with Guy about the importance of lighting and feel that my skill with lighting is one of my strongest selling points. But this skill will be a bit hard for someone to learn quickly while also shooting interiors for the first time. And it requires a lot of gear that he simply doesn't have. It might be wise to see what one can do without lights (Digital cameras are amazingly better than film was for this.) and then study the pictures to see if they could be improved by adding lights.

 

Here are a couple of shots that I made without adding lights. It is just a matter of having a subject and a time of day that will work. I don't always have that luxury so I bring a lot of lights. (Plus maybe I want to be creative with lighting.)

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Looking at Alan's pix I remembered - another thing worth considering - irrespective of camera or lens - is a tripod able to extend as high as possible. I use a Gitzo 1548 with additional leg sections added which extends to about 2.5m. This has helped me in many situations!

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Indeed as others said, the use of light & composition I might add are more important than using this or that lens; however, generally speaking for architectural shot where very accurate framing is definitely important I would not use a RF kit - SRL or DSRL & eventually if you have access to it MF and larger are way more suitable for the job.

 

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all with the D2x, 17-35 & 10.5 fisheye - just to show that you can get creative with lenses too; as far as a high tripod, indeed it can help - you can mix shots from higher with shots from lower perspective points to give a different feeling, as in being more "in the picture" or less so.

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Even with good natural lighting I still tend to find you need two or three strobes to balance things up (and leave some detail visible through the windows). Quite often I will add a fourth or fifth light set to a very low output to just lift certain areas. The camera and lens usually gets little thought ("is it level, is the lens set to F11?").

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