Post-production is an important and unavoidable part of today's digital photography process. Whether it be simple cropping, colour management or extensive retouching it requires a skill set on a par with the capture phase of a professional photography shoot that can only be obtained after years of working with digital photography.
Over the extensive time we have worked in architectural photography we’ve developed a style that employs a complex post-production technique that is suitable for all types of interiors from grand dining halls to bijou bedrooms. The process is a marriage of two halves: intricate lighting methods on location and crucially, well managed post-production back in the studio.
The process always starts with carefully considered composition and lighting. By balancing our static flash lighting with the available light in a space we create our base exposure. This forms the starting point for the final image. Once we’re satisfied we have the correct balance we move on to lighting the key elements of the image individually, capturing a separate file for each of these. This involves hand holding flash heads whilst standing in the shot to give maximum creativity. By manually manipulating the flash head we ensure we have complete control over the strength and direction of the light resulting in a more accurate final image. The second phase is the post-production process, where we manage the various RAW files. We employ a layering technique to assemble the numerous images. Starting with the base exposure we blend in the individually lit sections, gradually building up the final image as a composite. The results of this controlled technique are beautifully lit and balanced photographs, which deliver an enhanced feel to the space and the interior design of the subject. This technique can also be used with exteriors where the scene is continually changing and we need to capture the best elements of an otherwise impossible to create image.
This short film demonstrates our technique in action. We are always proud of the final images we produce but it is the process of creating them that is often unrecognised and not always valued as part of the whole production. We hope this short insight into our technique will reveal a little more of what’s required behind the camera once we’ve finished on location.
The above two images show how the same fundamental technique was used for a hotel exterior where it was impossible to capture the scene without any traffic. The solution is a number of exposures with the traffic in different places allowing enough options to create a final image clear of traffic.