Photography is a field that definitely uses a whole lot of fancy equipment. Most people who want to “get into photography” take a step back when they realize this.
Interior & architectural photography is one of the genres that uses even “fancier” equipment. If you’ve ever wonder what these photographers use in their daily business, here’s a little insight.
Camera & Lenses
The core component to any good photographer’s arsenal is the camera and lens.
Despite what you might think, the type of camera doesn’t have to be the “fanciest” around. Unless you’re a seasoned pro or printing on a billboard, most people can’t tell the difference when it comes to the final images. It’s more important to know how to use the camera.
With that said, a better camera does help the photographer through the entire process of creating a final image. There are many factors that contributes to a photo’s image quality out of camera: ISO noise, white balance, and a bunch of other technical jargon. These factors allow for a more precise representation of your project. The better these features are on a camera, the easier the job will be during the editing process.
Any full frame camera will do a good job for photographing interiors and architecture. The brand and model are the personal preference of the photographer.
The lens, on the other hand, does need to be pretty fancy.
For the best results, interior & architectural photographers use a specialized lens called a Tilt Shift Lens. This piece of glass allows the photographer to gain a perspective no other lens can accomplish. It’s an expensive lens, but in this type of photography, you can’t live without it.
Professional interior & architectural photographers generally have some type of lighting in their toolkit. Unless your project is extremely well light by daylight, the photographer will put this lighting to good use.
The type of lighting a photographer uses varies, but this genre generally includes two categories: speed lights and strobes.
Speed lights are the flashes you usually see on top of a wedding photographers camera. They are called “speed lights” because they are fast and very portable. This versatility comes at a cost though. A speed light usually isn’t powerful enough on its own.
Strobes are much more powerful “flashes”, similar to what you’d see in a studio. Advances in technology have made this type of lighting much more portable. This is great for interior & architectural photographers. Though much larger than a speed light, a strobe can be ten to twenty times more powerful.
Photographers will use a combination of these lights for your project. Usually, different lighting will be used to light a single scene in various ways. Several images will be taken, all lit differently, then combined in photoshop.
Tethering is when a photographer connects their camera to a computer or tablet. This allows them to view the image on a much larger, higher quality scale.
For interior & architectural photography, the details are everything. The stools must be perfectly spaced out. The faucet must be turned at the perfect angle. Tethering allows the photographer to see all these little details and adjust accordingly.
Editing Software & Hardware
The project is far from done when the photo shoot is over. The editing process most often takes much longer than the shoot itself.
All photographers need a fast, memory heavy computer. Image quality keeps increasing and so do the file sizes. Interior & architectural photographers can use up to twenty different photos to compose a single, final image. This means they better have a good computer. Many photographers upgrade every year just to keep up with memory lag.
On top of a good computer, the latest editing software is also essential. First, a photographer will need software for tethering. Next, they need software for cataloging. Last, and certainly not least, they need software for editing.
This genre just doesn’t allow for photos to be ready straight out of camera. Photos must be extensively edited and composed to adjust for things like poor lighting, color correction, and even removal of electrical plugs. To accomplish all this in an efficient manner, the latest and greatest software mush always be on hand.
I’ve covered the big components so far, but there are many more tools a photographer uses. Don’t be surprised if he shows up to your project with a ton of equipment. There are things like light stands, tripods, flags, soft boxes, diffusers, CTO gels, and much more. Yep, interior and architectural photography is an equipment heavy field, and that equipment is expensive!