Category Archives Guest Blogger

Coming off such an amazing year, it's a bit daunting to think about the New Year already unfolding. Being a very fortunate photographer with the lifetime self-assignment of affecting the world as a visual storyteller, each day brings its frustrations and rewards, propelling me onto the next. As one who really hates calendars and loathes clocks, containerizing life in twelve-month blocks at times seems stifling. Like Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

The process of projecting the year to come in large part is based on the year(s) that has passed. It's comparable to what I always refer to as the great blessing of digital photography. We need to go through our day's images to see what we did right, and most importantly, see what part of the visual story we didn't capture or we can improve. While these are questions I ask others when they seek my photographic business advice, I ask them of myself when looking to the photographic future. Where do you want to take your photography and where do you want your photography to take you?

Where do you want to take your photography? This question often befuddles folks because there isn't a technical answer that quickly comes to mind. The usual quick answer isâ¦make it better. But that's a given and something you really don't need to put conscious thought into because it's going to happen without conscious thought. Your photography is always getting better as long as you constantly keep shooting. It's probably just not as fast as you'd like but trust me, there is no race to win being better quickly. As a creative, you should take this question and look inward for the answer, for it's in your heart that you'll find the force that drives your photography forward. That's right, the answer is your passion, that's where you want to take your photography.

Dang, there's no histogram that can help with that! And that's really hard to put on a calendar or purchase at B&H, that passion thing. What you can put on the calendar are lots and lots and lots of shoots, especially ones that really make you sweat! "So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor" is really sage advice! You want to take your photography where it hasn't been before, and from that exploration comes the growth that propels you to better photography. What can you look back on this past year that fits that description? How did you fare? Were there failures you can improve on? Are there successes you can build upon? You hold the answers inside your heart as to where you want to take your photography, you've just gotta listen to it.

April found me in an 8x8x6 plywood box with my dear friend for 18hrs on the very cold Platte River. Mark and I were once again going after the magical sunrise where we look out our wooden cell-like blind to the delight of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, dancing on the sandbars. And while we had an amazing sunset and lots of hours of conversation locked in our box (good thing Mark is such an amazing pastor), we awoke again to just empty sandbars. Not the first time for us, and not the last, but getting skunked is part of the photographic equation you've got to embrace. If I just shared the photos of the naked sandbars, sand isn't that attractive. Wanting to grab heartstrings, I know the purdy sunset shot with all the reds will suck you in and is the one to share. Perfecting your storytelling is just as important in where you want to take your photography as the f/stop.

After a 13-year absence I headed north again to the Tundra of Churchill, Canada in May for one of the most amazing bird spectacles a photographer can witness. I went looking for one species, the Hudsonian Godwit, a bird that in all my previous journeys to Churchill eluded me. Yet on this summer's trip, the first trip from the lodge and within a few blocks of the town literally on the side of the road, I nailed it. Go figure. When that happened I wondered to myself what I was going to do for the rest of the week. That's when you reach down and look for the photos, the stories that sum it all up. Think about it this way. When you grab your iPhone and show folks photos that sum up your trip, how many photos do you show them? One, two, five or fifty? Often it's just one or two that you find on your journey and put your passion into!

And no matter where you are in your photographic pursuits or career, you have to keep evolving or you parish (my version of the Darwin Photographic Theory). I pushed myself this past year into areas where I'm not only technically not as "sharp" as I should be but also personally very uncomfortable. In July, Jake and I headed to Oshkosh and while most naturally think of planes, I knew for my work that week, they would just be the backdrops. My focus was going to be people involved with aircraft and in particular, WWII vets. Shooting just shy of a thousand portraits in one day (and retouching), I thought I was gonna die! But I made new friendships and furthered others that I will always cherish. One new friend is Clancy.

Clancy and I struck up an instant bond from my very first click. You see him here standing in front of just one of the many aircraft he flew during WWII, a TBM Avenger. In his hands is a photograph of his and if you can identify the four aviation anomalies in the photo, then you're OK in his book. You see, Clancy amongst his other hooligan roles during WWII, was a Navy photographer. Most of the photos we see in history books from WWII from the Pacific are his.  After I got done taking this easy portrait (18-35AFS with the cement acting like a giant fill card and scattered skies above), I went over to shake his hand and say thanks. Clancy said, "You know light, you worked the situation perfectly." Our shortest phone call since that day has been ninety minutes, he's simply a hoot! And you could say I'm slowly, finally, getting out of my box working with folks.

And that's what we all must constantly keep doing, following our heart to push our photography further. Because it's in this pursuit we slowly, ever so slowly get the hint where we want our photography to take us. It's not about a destination, but rather a journey. And more often than not, it's not a journey we can note on a calendar and schedule, especially not in a twelve-month period of time and perhaps not even unfolding over a decade. I'm going on decade four, if that's any encouragement.

I've been very fortunate that life has taken me on an amazing journey for which I can take very little credit for piloting. The last few years has included my longtime passion for aircraft. And fortunately I learned early on it's not the aircraft but those behind them that is really the story. Sharon and I love to fly and when you get in the air with classic aircraft with dear friends at the stick, well there simply is nothing better (except a critter). Combining what I've come to do with critters and landscapes, seeking the light and wanting to tell the story, aviation photography has evolved into a big part of our lives now. All those WWII vets we've come to call friends tell us their exploits from the war, which coming full circle, with our friends flying their warbirds to turn those vets' stories into living images. And while we think we know where we might want our photography to take us, the serendipitous nature of being creatives, you just never know where the magic will take you.

"We need you to take a portrait." My good friends at the Texas Flying Legends Museum have carte blanche with me, whatever they need or want I'm there, so with such a simple request, I said yes. "Tomorrow at 1300, meet us in front of the XXX lodge, we'll pick you up." The next day with just the D4, 24-70, SB-910 and TTL cord, I was dropped off and walked across the street and waited at the XXX lodge to be picked up. Five minutes later two Escalades came down the road, the door opened on the second one and I jumped in. Greeted by the pilots of TFLM, we headed down the road. Ten minutes later I was in the personal office of Pres. George Bush at Kennebunkport, taking portraits. After it was all said and done I was asked if I wanted my portrait taken with the President. "Of course Moose does," the President said (the autographed print is one of my most cherished). Moments later I was in the office all alone with the President having a conversation about my dad and the President's time as a TBM pilot during WWII. You simply just don't know where your photography is going to take you!

And like all of you, I now look back on the last year and ponder what this New Year has in store. We need to know where we want to take our photography and with reflection we can focus better where that is. The heart is a great guide, keeping in mind one important fact. What the world needs is not more technically perfect photographs, but rather more photographs with passion. And when you share those photos, when you visually tell the stories of your journey, we take the world along with us. Photography is still one of the grandest pursuits I know and I look forward to seeing how the year unfolds in your photographs. "Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

You can see more of Moose’s work at and, check out his iPad app MoosePress to keep up with his iBooks publishing, and follow him on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube.

On the heels of the biggest college football game of the year, the BCS National Championship, I found myself laying in bed the next morning (yesterday) when the phone rings and the lovely voice of Brad Moore is on the line. "Why are you calling me this early?" I mumble. Well it turns out Brad was asking me to write this guest blog about my experience at the big game the night before. So with that in mind, I don't think I'll have any life-changing epiphanies or deep, touch-your-soul revelations, but I hope you will at least be able to get a glimpse into what things were like Monday night and enjoy some decent images.

As I write this, I'm not sure what the time is. I can read a clock, but I'm not sure how my body feels. As is the case with many of the shooters last night who cover both teams, I live in the Eastern Time Zone, and obviously the game was on the West Coast, so it felt like the game started at 5:30 and ended at 3 o'clock in the morning. But I digress.

I feel like the most asked question I got when telling people I was going to the game: "Who are you shooting for?" So to get that out of the way, I am the team photographer for the Tennessee Volunteers and my counterpart at Auburn, Todd Van Emst graciously extended an invitation to help cover the game for Auburn. So out to California I flew.

Technical Specs
(3) Canon 1DX camera bodies
Canon 16-35 f/2.8
Canon 24-70 f/2.8
Canon 70-200 f/2.8
Canon 600mm f/4
Canon 1.4x extender
16gb cards

Shutter speeds were at 1/1000 or higher and fastest available aperture except for the fireworks shots which were f/11 - f/22.

Note: It was my first time putting a 1.4x extender on a 600 and it was great shooting downfield like that. Will definitely do it again.

If you watched the game, you know it was not a disappointment to football fans. Big lead. Big comeback. Down to the last few plays. Everything you want in a game (except the team I was shooting for didn't win).

Sidelines were exceptionally crowded, as you would expect from a big game, but I was extremely impressed with the organization and communication with photographers out there. It was shoulder-to-shoulder with shooters most of the way around the field. As you can see in the photo here, there wasn't a lot of room to move. But I never heard anyone having any trouble, which is unusual for a historically curmudgeon-y group. One thing I thought was pretty cool that you'll probably see more often was the use hard-line ethernet cables run to the field.  With the technology in cameras to now shoot tethered via Ethernet cable, this was huge for the shooters who had them to send their images instantly to an editor in the digital workroom. In a world of instant gratification, I can't imagine it can be sped up much faster than that.

You'll notice looking my photos that there are no photos of FSU raising the crystal ball. I was there shooting for Auburn so I followed Auburn off the field.  I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of those somewhere else if you really want to see them :)

Lastly, and most notably among the photography world, I want to make one final note. It was a wonderful night of College football. The BCS had its final game, as there will be a playoff next year. The weather was perfect, per usual in Pasadena, CA. And the crowd was loud and proud. It was a who's who of sports photography, with staffers from Sports Illustrated, Getty Images, AP, USA Today Sports Images, other top agencies, and even a bunch of bums like me who managed to get in. One person who was not there was the legendary Dave Martin. As many of you may know Dave Martin, aka "Mullet" died tragically while shooting the Chick-Fil-A bowl in Atlanta, GA.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images

There were several events Monday night to celebrate his life and what he meant to the photojournalism industry. I believe these events were the workings of USA Today Sports Images C.O.O. Bob Rosato. There was a group photo of photographers who knew Dave, there were T-shirts for people to wear, there was time on the Jumbotron dedicated to honoring Dave, and even graphic stickers for shooters to put on their gear to show their support.

But the thing I thought was the coolest of all, was a spot reserved for ole' Vern (the name he affectionately gave to many of his fellow photographers) on the sidelines.  With shoulder-to-shoulder shooters, and people standing behind those who were kneeling, it was very cool to see a space left open for a man who was dear to many fellow photojournalists. An honor that stood above the rest. If you don't know who Dave Martin is, please search his name or visit his tribute page on Facebook.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and look at some of the images I captured Monday night.  My hope for all of us is that we continue to work, continue to learn, and continue to get better in everything we do…

"Just shut up and make a picture."
– Dave "Mullet" Martin (1954 - 2014)

You can see more of Donald’s work at and, and follow him on TwitterInstagram, and OKDOTHIS.

Griswold Ain't Got Nothing On This!
Hello everyone and Merry Christmas! Corey Barker here and I just wanted to pop in and share a few things as we wrap up the year and get ready for what hope to be a very exciting 2014. One thing I wanted to share, or re-share is a video time-lapse I had done last year on taking a normal photo of a house and decorating it with Christmas lights all in Photoshop. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Well here it is and is set to some rather appropriate Christmas music. If you haven't seen it yet go ahead and check it out and if you are a NAPP member then you can see the tutorial in real time over at the NAPP member website.

The Bear & The Hare Christmas Spot
Many of you may know of my friend Aaron Blaise, who is a former Disney animator and perhaps one of the best illustrators I know. He also has taught at the last two Photoshop World's and has wowed crowds with his skill in creating realistic character art all in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq.

Just this past year Aaron went back to his roots to do some 2D hand drawn animation on a Holiday commercial for a London based company. Aaron had told me about the project months ago but couldn't reveal too many details. When I finally saw the finished piece I was nearly brought to tears. It's a beautiful piece and has a lot of heart. It shows how 2D animation can still capture our hearts the way the old Disney classics used to.

Aaron did all the animation of the actual bear and hare characters and other animators did the rest. What is interesting is how they did it. It combines practical model effects with 2D characters and animated as stop motion. When you are done watching the video go and watch the behind the scenes of how they did it. That is as impressive as the piece itself.

In the end the spot is nothing short of amazing and big tip of the hat to Aaron and the rest of the production for making a piece of art and not just an advertisement.

A New Down & Dirty Book is On the Way

Just this past week I finished up Volume 2 of the Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers book. The first book was a big hit with designers and was filled with eye-catching images. I believe this next one is as every sequel should be, better than the first. I have completely new material throughout the book with an expanded 3D chapter that takes Photoshop 3D to the extreme. In addition to more 3D I have my Hollywood Effects chapter with a complete movie poster project from start to finish. I also have a short chapter where I use images provided me by notable photographers like Moose Peterson and Glyn Dewis.

As I mentioned the book is in post-production and hopes to be shipping sometime in late January/early Feb 2014. Be sure to look for that soon and also check out for more info as well. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to see in the book.

This was created with images shot by Glyn Dewis and is a play on the movie Looper starring Bruce Willis.

This is the poster project I referred to earlier. This tutorial is fully step-by-step starting with the raw image right out of the camera.

The 3D chapter boasts some of the most eye-catching and complex 3D you probably ever seen in Photoshop. You will see how this very logo was created entirely in Photoshop with no third party applications used at all.

What about product design? No problem, learn how to create and combine simple shapes into an elegant product shot that you can view and render from practically any angle.

As I said, these are merely a small taste of all the fun that is to be had in this newest Volume of Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers. What always drove me to write such a book like this was because these books, and the first volume, were the books I would have been looking for if I were a design student or aspiring artist. Often just seeing what is possible is enough to fuel your creativity and drive you to create something that sends that thrilling chill down your spine. I only hope this book can do that for you. Stay tunedâ¦more to come!

You can see more of Corey’s work at, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Photo by Drew Gurian

A big thanks to Scott and Brad for having me back here on Guest Blog Wednesday. In the past I have discussed workflow and why you should only show your best work. This time around I want to talk about something a little different, keeping yourself motivated.

I am writing this on Monday evening after a crazy week of shooting five different concerts in five nights with 17 different bands.

There was a lot of standing around and waiting.

There were some really odd restrictions.

There were some very crowded photo pits.

There were some really challenging lights.

And I loved every second of it.

I have one of the best jobs in the world.

The question I get asked a lot is "What is your favorite band to shoot?" or "What was your favorite shoot?" The answer might surprise you.

My favorite band to shoot is the next one. Doesn't matter if they are a huge name like Jay Z or a up and comer with the opening 5:00pm slot on a multi-band holiday show like J. Roddy and Business. I approach each one as if it is the most important shoot ever, and for those three (or two) songs, it is.

Recently, I was reminded how I important it is to take each shoot, each day, each moment and make it the most important ever. It was all because of Andrew Youssef. Andrew was a Southern California based concert photographer. He wasn't a friend, we didn't know each other well. We were more like work acquaintances. We shared the photo pit on numerous occasions. We chatted in hallways of venues and swapped concert photography horror stories. Bad lighting, pushy photographers, good publicists. The stuff that we had in common at the time. Andrew was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2011. He lost that battle on November 30 at the age of 38.

The thing is, Andrew kept shooting. He kept going to shows and taking great photos even while battling cancer. It really put it into persecutive for me. I have had days where I didn't want to go shoot some opening act. Where I knew the lighting would be tough and I would be pushing my camera into the 6400 ISO and higher zone. I didn't want to go hunt for parking downtown only to stand around waiting to shoot some band I have never heard of. But I have never had to battle cancer.

Imagine loving your job so much that nothing could keep you from doing it?

Imagine loving your job so much that it actually made you physically feel better when you got to do it?

So, my favorite band to shoot? The next one, and the one after that. Every single time I walk into a photo pit, I feel rejuvenated, I feel alive. Each one of the 17 bands photographed this past week got the same level on intensity and focus from me. Each of the bands had me striving to capture the best possible images. Sometimes I have to stop, take a deep breath and look around. I'm one of the lucky ones, I'm doing what I love.

The reality is that no matter how much I love this, there re times when I need a little creative pep talk. Here are a few of the things that I try to keep me interested and motivated to getting the best shot.

1) Change focal lengths: I love the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. So when start to feel like I am just going through the motions, I switch up lenses to something wider like the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens or the 20-35mm f/2.8 lens. It's uncomfortable, it can be frustrating, and it forces me to really look at the scene as it unfolds in front of me.

2) Change locations: There isn't much space to work in photo pit and I usually start over on stage left. So when I am feeling complacent, it's time to move over tot he middle or stage right.

3) Use the lighting: I have really started to try and use the stage lighting more in my images. Instead of just focusing on the performer, I start to look to see if I can incorporate the lights as an element in the image and not just as something illuminating the subject. This can mean dropping the shutter speed a little so you have to really time it right to get a sharp image.

4) Stop and watch: There are times when the lighting is so tough, that it is better to put the camera down and just take a few moments to watch what is going on. Look for lighting patterns or angles that might make a better shot.

5) Stay out of the pack: I really don't want the same shot as everyone else in the photo pit. So I tend not to crowd right in the same areas as everyone else. I will try to get a different angle on the same scene by shooting from further rout to the sides. This works really well with bands that like to reach out to the crowd.

6) Turn around: This is something that I really need to do more often. Photos of the fans watching the show can be just as much fun as photos of the band.

The payoff is that if you treat each shoot as if it was the most important thing you could be doing, chances are your images will reflect that. I know mine do.

You can see more of Alan’s work and keep up with his blog at, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also come check out his classes at Photoshop World Atlanta or on, and pick up one of his many photography books or eBooks.

Shooting Stars
Admit it, you are enamored by certain stars; you follow and keep track of all of their movements. I'm a sucker for stars too, but more of the celestial type. There is a certain magic to shooting at night and capturing what can't be seen with the naked eye. Hopefully these tips will inspire or help you improve your night visions.

The Right Stuff
In order to successfully capture the night I would recommend a digital camera from the last 2-3 years, a sturdy tripod, and a cable release. I tend to shoot wide, 18mm-21mm, to include more of the sky. However when shooting wide, it is very important to incorporate an interesting foreground. Trees, rocks, and structures will add more dimension and scale against the night sky.

Get Out Of Town
Get away from all the light pollution of the city to better capture the starry skies. If you can't see the stars, then neither can your camera. This shot was taken 40 minutes north of NYC, at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The three crosses shot (later in the blog) was taken in the remote town of Las Cruces, Baja - and revealed more stars than I had ever seen or imagined.

Be In Tune With The Moon
Photographing under the moonlight can be a magical and therapeutic experience. The size and brightness of the moon will depend on what phase it's in. Knowing this and what time the moon will be rising, will dictate the length of your exposure. I use the MoonPhase app to plot out what nights will be the best to shoot. The app, Moonrise, lets you drop a pin on a location/date and find out when the moon will be rising and setting.

Focus To Infinity
Autofocus doesn't work for most night photography; there simply isn't enough contrast in the scene. If you are shooting the stars and not including any foreground for 20-30 feet then switch to manual focus and set it to infinity. Note that most AF lenses go past infinity - so make sure to align the infinity symbol correctly to the MF hash mark on your lens. To focus on dark foregrounds without contrast use a high power flashlight so you can autofocus. Once you have locked down the focus - switch the camera back to manual focus so when you trigger the exposure it doesn't search for focus again.

The 500 Rule For Better Celestial Skies
There are two ways to interpret stars - either as star points or star trails. Digital capture has made photographing star points, or celestial skies, easier than ever. A good starting point for capturing a celestial sky is a 25 second shutter speed, ISO 3200, at f/4. That was the exposure details of the Milky Way shot over Independence, California.

How do we figure out our exposure?

The most important factor is time. The earth rotates and when we capture star trails we are actually capturing the rotation of the earth - the stars remain constant.

There is a simple equation that will tell us how long we can expose until the stars start to trail. It was originally called the 600 Rule, which is probably safe for viewing on the web. But if you want to print or view the images at 100%, I recommend using the 500 Rule, where you divide 500 by the focal length of your lens.

500/24mm = 20 seconds

500/50mm = 10 seconds

The more telephoto the lens, the more it will zoom in and magnify the movement of the stars.

Now comes the balance of ISO and Aperture.  The two factors to consider is how fast and sharp your lens is wide open and how high can your camera's ISO safely go?  I typically like to stop my lens down at least one stop - so from f/2.8 to f/4, and there is often a big difference between the noise at 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO.

Let Them Trail!
Star trails definitely have that "wow" factor, especially if we can point our camera north and expose for at least one hour. The problem is noise. Nothing creates more noise in-cameras than long exposures - it's like a herculean effort to hold that shutter open! A quick and easy solution is to go into your camera's menu and turn on your Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR). This will create a black mask over your image that will eat away most of the noise in-camera. However this often takes the same amount of time as your exposure (1 hour exposure + 1 hour LENR) and renders your camera useless until the "processing" is over. A more productive way is to take a series of images that will equal one long exposure and then stack them together in post. For example 18 five minute exposures = 1 ½ hours.

The trick with stacking is that you need to use a cable release like the Vello Shutterboss, and make sure your interval between images is no longer than a second or else you will have significant breaks in your stars. Even at a second, blown up to 100% you will probably notice subtle breaks in the stars.

Which do you like more - the star points or star trails?

Stacking In Post
There are lots of star stacking actions out there but I've gotten the best result by simply opening up all the images as layers in Photoshop and then changing the blend mode to lighten for each one. This will quickly and simply connect all the lines.

Operating under the stars can be a magical experience. I want to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to share my nocturnal visions with you. If you want to learn more - the book I co-authored with Tim Cooper, Night Photography:  From Snapshots to Great Shots, was just released! If you are in NYC on Wednesday December 4, we are having at book signing/gallery opening at the Soho Photo Gallery from 7pm-9pm and would love to see you. Also, night workshops are some of the coolest ways to get more comfortable photographing in the dark. There are lots of options across the States that offer hands on teaching often in locations that you normally can't access at a night. You can find out more info on my workshops and adventures at

Carpe Noctem!

You can see more of Gabriel’s work at, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

I want to thank Scott and Brad for allowing me the opportunity to be the guest blogger and share some of my experiences with you. I am primarily an architectural and landscape photographer and love shooting both for different reasons. While landscape photography is a more personal art form, architectural photography is a collaborative project. Most of my clients are builders, architects or interior designers; my job is to convey their design in the best possible light and to showcase how their clients will utilize that space or building.

Here are a few tips to successful architectural photography:

Determine Photography Scope
Ask questions to find out what their photography needs are and how they will be using the final images. They usually want every aspect of their project photographed until you inform them of how many days that will take and the cost to accomplish it. After a few minutes of silence you will hear the words "I don't think we need to do that many photos." This is when they start to focus on the most important aspects of the project that need to be captured.

Visit The Job Site Before The Shoot
One of the most important steps, if at all possible, is to meet the client at the job site before the photography shoot date. This will allow you and the client to determine the rooms and angles that will be photographed, decide what time of day will provide the best light, how many assistants are needed, discuss styling, and get all the contact information for the building. I also send my clients a link to my website that has a pre-shoot checklist for them to go over and make sure they have everything they need.

Use A Tripod
If you think you can hand hold your camera and capture sharp images with a straight horizon, you're kidding yourself. Architectural photography is about keeping the perspective of the building correct. A lot of the newer DSLR cameras have built-in levels and if your camera does not, you can buy a level for around $30 that will slip onto your camera's hot shoe.

Put Yourself In The Corner
Very rarely will you photograph a room straight on as this will not give the room any dimension and will flatten it out. By placing yourself in a corner, you will give the room or building more depth and interest.

Don't Put Yourself In A Corner (I know what I just said.)
There are some situations where photographing your subject straight on will make sense: when the subject is very symmetrical. When it happens, and it is rarer than you might think, it can be a very strong and compelling image.

Photograph At Twilight Or Night
Having a well-done twilight exterior in your portfolio will get you work, no question about that. They are very powerful photos that your clients will want and pay more for. If you are photographing only interiors, one of your setups should be at twilight when the color temperature of both interior and exterior are the same. There is only about a 20 minute window when this happens and you need to have your lighting ready for it.

Photograph Using Tungsten Lights
With tungsten lighting, you will have more control than you do with strobe lighting. Tungsten will give you a completely different look than most other photographers who just use strobes. The bad part of using tungsten lights is that you will be working late into the night, but it's worth it.

Water Down Sidewalks And Driveways
This is especially important for residential photography and less crucial for commercial buildings. If you don't water down sidewalks and driveways, they become the brightest elements in your image; by watering them down they become dark and create a reflection of the building and is an added benefit.

Don't Overuse HDR
I am asked all the time about how much HDR photography I use in my photos. The answer is as little as possible! Digital cameras do a great job of capturing a lot of information and post-processing in Adobe Lightroom can usually get what is needed. You should bracket all shots in case you need to use HDR or pull parts from different exposures to get what you need for the final image.

Use A Color Target
The correct color is essential for architects and interior designers and you better capture it for them or you will do a lot of post-processing over again. If you tether your camera to the computer, you can white balance the photo with the client right there and get their input on color and/or any problems that will have to be corrected on post-processing.

Look For The Little Things
With all that is going on with lights, clients, assistants, make sure you look for the small thing that can ruin a good photograph. It can be a pillow out of place, a cabinet door ajar, or a footprint in the middle of your shot because of carpeting that was not brushed. Have the rest of the crew look at the computer and see if they can find anything you may have missed.

Use A Tilt/Shift Lens
If you have one, it is a great lens that was made for architectural photography; if you don't have one, you might want to rent one and try it out. There are many places you can rent them from and the lens I would recommend is the 24mm tilt/shift. This is a very good lens for interior photography which will allow you to make rooms look larger than they are and you will have less post production than if you shot the same room with standard lens.

One of the good things about architectural photography is that it's not a moving subject and a building is not going to have an attitude or show up late. I have always had a love of architecture and photography and making a living with the two things I enjoy is a dream come true. I hope some of these tips will help the next time you are photographing a building or interior.

Randy Van Duinen is an architectural photographer in St. Petersburg, FL and works with The Digital Photo Workshops. You can follow Randy on Google+ and Facebook. His blog at is where he talks about anything photography and Photoshop related. Randy has been a contributor to Light It Magazine and speaks around the country about Lightroom, HDR and architectural photography.