GEAR FOR ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Architectural photography is a haven for gearheads, and I frequently get asked what I’m using. So I figured I’d lay it all out and put it to rest once and for all. I rigged up a rather hilarious setup in my living room to shoot this, and took a few hours to lay it all out. Note that due to the limited space, I couldn’t put literally EVERYTHING out, so in many cases I refrained from putting duplicates down. In a few cases, I just have bags and bags of it (grip stuff) and I figured you didn’t need to see 5 umbrellas, 8 batteries and 15 CF cards. Click the photo below to enlarge it and see each individual number, which corresponds with a description of the piece below.
Here it is written out, with links to what exactly each product does. This is a constantly changing and evolving list, so I will try to keep it updated and create a dedicated spot on the site for it. Some of these links provide me with a referral bonus when purchased which allows me to keep this page updated. Enjoy!
My architectural photography gear list:
Gaff tape for everything. Pink/yellow/orange tape for visibility. I go through this like water.
2. Bose SoundLink (updated to newer version)
Great for turning a completely quiet and awkward set into a much more relaxed environment. The sound quality out of this thing is just incredible for the size of it.
Always great to have a solid reference of correct color when shooting challenging interiors. The notion of perfect color pretty much goes out the window on location but this helps me get close.
Being a photographer and not owning rechargeables is pretty stupid. These have saved me hundreds, probably thousands of dollars over the years. I buy Eneloops because they last forever and don’t drain on their own, work with speedlights and remote triggers, and hold a lot of charge.
Sometimes I need to get power in weird places. 100-foot extension cables, three-way splitters,
6. Light bulbs in various wattages
To fix color temperatures and brightness issues, I always carry a few spare bulbs. Sometimes the lights on location are burnt out too. Easy and cheap solution. Make sure they are NOT LEDs as sometimes LED color casts can be very funky and impossible to dim. Stick with fluoros and incandescent.
7. Black cloth, 1 and 2-stop white scrim, super clamps
I obviously can’t fit all of my grip equipment here, but there is a giant black filled with black cloth, white cloth, clamps, diffusion panels, light shaping tools, you name it. Shaping, taming and subtracting the natural light is just as important as adding and shaping our artificial light.
Standard bellows for most portrait and telephoto length lenses on large format.
9. ILEX No. 4 w/ Acme Synchro Shutter f6.3/300mm
Actually an 8×10 lens, but works very well on the 4×5 as a long portrait lens.
Instant film back for 4×5. The most breathtaking polaroids I’ve ever seen (granted I’ve never shot 8×10 instant)
Ah, the ‘ol Sinar. Very fun to use, and so interesting in that it takes me a whole day of planning to take a couple pictures. Really makes you slow down and think about what you’re shooting and has taught me a great deal about the intricacies of photography. I only shoot black and white with it, but it’s always fun to take it out for a day. The big problem I have is that I’ve got a drawer full of negs that, while beautiful, I haven’t done anything with. The Rodenstock 45mm is an amazing lens that I got a stupidly good deal on and I just couldn’t pass it up.
I’m a geek. iPads are simply the best solution for shooting tethered with the CamRanger, and I often give one to clients while they watch me shoot so they can follow along. I’ve been a Mac guy forever and just love the MBP for traveling. Be sure to max out your RAM or you’ll be hurting with from the large file size of composites.
My most-loved piece of gear, for it’s gotten rid of the need for lugging a 17” MacbookPro around on set all day. Instant wireless tethering and sharing. Too good, a steal for $300.
14. Fuji x100f
My travel camera. I bring it everywhere instead of my DSLRs. Picture quality is great and the colors are just PERFECT. Such a relief for me to not have to carry giant SLRs all over the place. It’s also great for tricking people into thinking you aren’t a photographer 🙂
I use gels on nearly every picture I make. Colors can be all over the place especially on location, and controlling the temperature of light is so important to creating mood. I use the Honl speed system gels for my speedlights and a giant Rosco pack that I cut up for the big guys.
16. Portable USB charger
Because you never know when you’re going to run out of batteries on your phone, iPad, etc. I personally use one I got on Amazon with the brand name ‘Jackery’ but I imagine they all do much the same thing.
I don’t know why I own the ND. I never shoot landscapes and it’s useless for architecture because the one I own isn’t strong enough, but the polarizer comes in handy every day. Nearly invaluable, but be prepared to bump your ISO like crazy. It’ll eat a good two stops. Nice for taming harsh sunlight and reflective surfaces.
Used to be a mainstay of my kit, now mostly used as small kicker lights or when I don’t need to light a massive space. Speedlights, while super easy and great if you’re okay with pushing high ISO, just don’t allow me the creative freedom I need when shooting large spaces lately.
19. Canon 50mm 1.4
Detail lens. Great for walking around quickly and shooting small stuff for vignettes.
Turns my tilt shifts into longer tilt shifts. The ability to have a 35mm TS is amazing when paired with the 24.
I will be honest, I only bought this because it was on sale for $100. I think I’ve used it once in my entire life. Useful as an “oh my god something really cool is happening on the side of the road and I need a picture NOW” lens cap, though, so it’s got that going for it.
22. Canon 6D
I like this camera a lot. Incredible value and amazing image quality. Little secret: I shot ‘Wake Turbulence’ with this little guy, and have printed it up to 110” wide. Looks INCREDIBLE.
22a: 17mm TS/e.
One of my favorite lenses. I don’t use it often, but when I use it, it’s mindblowing how good it is. A fickle beast, however, requires some serious practice before serious use.