Following the Light
Recognizing the moment when the lighting is right.
In addition to the photographic tools an architectural photographer uses, like a camera and tripod, there are many other “tools” or skills that need to be developed and practiced to become proficient in the craft and to stay in business. An ever-growing knowledge of architecture itself, learning to be in the right place at the right time, being courteous and respectful of others, being able to work well with people, and developing healthy business practices that protect your images (while giving your clients what they need to work with) are but a few of these skills.
But one of the most important aspects of architectural photography is learning to work with light and to recognize the moment when the light is right. Light defines space and brings architecture to life. Learning how to use light well is a lifelong process requiring persistence and patience. I’m still learning after over thirty years of practicing. The entryway of this house, designed by architect Peter Rose, overlooking Lake Memphramagog in Quebec, illustrates the important role that light plays in the photography of architecture. After two foggy and overcast days on this shoot, the sun finally came out and the vista of the lake became clear, explaining the reason why the house was built where it was. The sun filled this entry and transformed what had been a grey and lifeless room the day before into a dynamic and light-filled space. Apart from the photographic importance of following the light and letting the sun direct where you should be on your shoot, I like the life application of staying in the light and following the sun. Beats being in the dark.