Information and Resources for Photographers
I frequently get contacted by photographers looking to get started, learn more about architectural and interiors photography, or to assist me on my photo shoots. I was very lucky to have had some amazing people generously share their input with me, so I wanted to pay it forward in a small way right here. I occasionally teach workshops on architectural photography and have taken part in events such as CreativeLive and GulfPhotoPlus. Over the past few years I’ve worked with Fstoppers.com to create a series of three tutorials that go into detail about my entire workflow. We discuss everything from my equipment, to location techniques, post processing techniques, and business techniques (including marketing and pricing your work). Check out the trailers for my videos with Fstoppers, and scroll down to find discount codes for the tutorials and other products I recommend. You can purchase these tutorials at the Fstoppers store, here.
If you’re looking for a discount on these Where Art Meets Architecture tutorials, we happily offer a 10 percent discount if you’re interested in trying them out. Use code “save10fs” at checkout.
BlinkBid coupon code:
Blinkbid, a software I use extensively for preparing and sending estimates, licensing contracts, and invoices, has also agreed to offer a discount and coupon code for those who have purchased the tutorials. Use this link and enter the code “MKARCHITECTURE” at checkout to get 10% off a purchase of BlinkBid. Many thanks to the folks at BlinkBid for generously providing the discount! If you’re new to the software, I cover it in detail in my Where Art Meets Architecture 3 tutorial, which focuses mostly on creating images of commercial spaces and the business of architectural photography.
Q: What gear do you use?
A: I get this question a lot so I’ve put together a page which details everything I use. You can check it out by clicking here, and it goes over every little piece! That being said, I’m also of the opinion that the gear isn’t the end-all-be-all. A good picture is going to be a good picture whether it’s shot on sheet film, a Canon rebel, or a medium format digital back. I personally use Canon DSLRs with mostly Canon Tilt Shift lenses and a lighting kit that generally confuses anyone but me (my assistants included). Again, I think light is light, the only thing that really helps is having a ton of power. You can also check out the ‘resources’ page linked in the About section to get a feel for my favorites.
Q: How did you get started in architectural photography?
A: Long story. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: At the time, I was living in the Lake Tahoe area with aspirations of becoming a professional snowboarder. I got a head laceration requiring 15 stitches and while recovering at the hospital, met a friend of a friend who referred me to my first client who was working in the high end custom real estate market in the area. I had a week to learn everything I could about architectural photography. Luckily, I had a background in fine art through studying sculpture, painting, and digital media in high school and college. By the skin of my teeth, I knocked the first job out of the park. Repeat business ensued. I kept getting hurt while snowboarding, so finally decided to call it quits on the ‘snowboard career’. I threw all of my money into marketing my photography business, went door to door, got a solid client base of Designers, Architects, and Luxury Home Agents.
After a few years in Tahoe, I decided it was time for a change of scenery. I made a snap decision to move to Los Angeles, one of the world’s most prominent cities when it comes to photography, art, design, and architecture. I started the marketing engine all over again, and here I am many years later.
Q: How did you develop your methods for photographing architecture?
A: Many would consider me to be ‘self taught’, but it isn’t as simple as that. Of course, there was a lot of reading and studying, lots of practice both on location and in front of the computer, and a lot of advice from some very, very generous people who have offered their help ad nauseum. There are so many artists and photographers who have offered help and advice over the years that it would be impossible to recount them all here, but make no mistake; my techniques were built on the shoulders of those who came before me. I may have put my own spin on it, but by looking at photographs I liked, reverse engineering them, and copying the artists of the past, I was able to come up with a style that I found fit my mindset. This may sound redundant, but the best way to learn I’ve found, is just by doing. Just go out and experiment with your camera, bring it home and spend hours and hours on photoshop and searching your questions on the internet – it’s amazing how much information you can get just by searching. I still do that even to this day.
Q: Are you looking for an assistant? How can I assist you?
A: I unfortunately am not currently looking for assistants.
Q: Can you critique my work or offer business advice?
A: Due to the volume of emails I get on the subject, the answer is probably not. I am happy to offer some advice and guidance, but I’m not going to do your homework for you. There are so many variables in every question I get, the answer is always going to be different. A lot of the time, you just cannot learn by me telling you — you need to experience it first hand. Market conditions, client needs, the location, your expertise, your business skills and countless other variables come into play on every job, so it’s hard to really give good advice on these things. If, however, you are in the Los Angeles area, either passing through or otherwise, I might be up to grabbing lunch or a coffee, provided my schedule allows it.
Q: Do you offer any workshops or seminars?
A: I do not offer any workshops on a regular schedule, but I have joined up with Fstoppers to offer a workshop at their Atlantis Resort Workshop that happens in May and June of most years (none for 2016). If you can’t make it to the workshop, I would recommend my tutorial ‘Where Art Meets Architecture: How to Photograph Real Estate, Architecture, and Interiors’ which is also produced by Fstoppers. That will cover most of my workflow from start to finish.
Q: How do you make your pictures look the way they do?
A: It’s a combination of natural daylight, ambient light from what I’m photographing, as well as artificial light from strobes and/or hot lights. Basically, it’s just a lot of controlled mixing of light. Check out the short videos below which give some great insight into my process.