Elevation is some of the most fun I have in my professional photography work, next to shooting and being with my clients, so I’m up for the necessity on most of my projects. There’s something about meeting your subject at eye level, or taking it even higher, that adds a new visual stratum to the story being told.
If you want to truly connect with your architectural subject, you have to get up off the ground – boom! Did I just blow your mind? Most don’t realize this is one key logistical aspect of architectural photography that helps create amazing results.
When we spot ‘good architectural photography’, can we always articulate ‘why’ it’s good? It goes beyond just being pleasing to our eye, having balanced exposure, or correct verticals and horizontals. Well-executed images have many elements that – when done well – work together in total harmony, and without you really knowing what each is separately. All just look ‘right’ in the shot.
For now, let’s focus on the element of elevation. I break the varying heights it into four ranges or levels:
- Ladder (5’-16’)
- Lift – scissor, man or bucket (16’ to 135’)
- Drone (up to 400 ft.)
- Aerial (manned aircraft, 400’+)
For a ground level architectural shoot up to a couple of stories high, a 5’-15’ ladder will suffice. For the next level, a scissor, man or bucket lift will get you where it’s optimal to shoot. Most of my project shoots are captured from above ground level on a ladder or in a lift bucket.
Now that drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are all the rage, the next level of height to capture an architectural project or property is aerial. Going by the wayside are the days of hiring a pilot and a plane, although there are still instances where this is very necessary, the expense aside! Drones are not the end-all-be-all, but they do cover so much fantastic aerial space (up to 400 ft. off the ground, according to current FAA regulations) with much greater ease that many in the AEC and CRE industries are choosing to add in this media to market their firms. Both still and moving images can be captured using drones, but their still image quality remains to be no match for professional DSLR cameras.
Knowing the desired purpose and objective(s) of a client’s project or property shoot is key to any successful outcome. How to get those results, and the logistics and costs involved, are best addressed in future posts.
In the end, elevation is only one element that helps make quality, well-executed architectural photography so appealing to the eye. If your project managers are still taking your project images, let’s talk!
Contact me any time, it’s worth a conversation.