When working for architectural clients there are usually two types of images they’re looking for. A main advertising style photograph, often called the “hero”, and the more detail focussed shots, showcasing interesting design features, often less dramatic than the hero but just as important. Mostly the hero photos are displayed by themselves, perhaps on magazine covers or websites. Other supporting detail shots can be put together as montages or with added branding, used as printed pamphlets or promo packages. Todays images feature examples of both. Let’s get started.
The Hero: MarkIs Main Entrance and Canopy
MarkIs, Yokohama, Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd, 2013
Advertising style architectural images are traditionally shot at either dawn or dusk to get that deep blue colour in the sky, and to also make use of any exterior or interior lighting on the building itself. Hero shots are usually very “graphic” in nature (at least mine are) with strong lines and accented angles. Here are some of my thoughts on this image:
- The main design elements for me are the main entrance, with its vertical and horizontal lines, framed by the tapering shape of the landscaping, topped by the canopy on the roof.
- The Steel canopy with its cut-out shapes is a focal point. I wanted to photograph it around dusk to be able to view the blue sky behind, emphasising the hollow shapes and design.
- I went wide to show the entire entrance and all the elements as a whole, interacting with each other rather than focus on specific details.
How I Edited It – Workflow Video
For those interested please have a look at this video and some of the others on my YouTube channel for other editing and BTS videos.
Detail Photos: Branded Pamphlet Mockups
Here are a few extra detail shots I made along with the main photograph. I’ve created pamphlet mockups, branded with my logo, as a way of demonstrating how detail photos can be made stronger when viewed in context together rather than just individually. These supporting images are key in illustrating specific points of design and to make viewers more aware of the building as a whole.
Public Space and Canopy Detail – Two Images
Above you can see how simple yet visually pleasing two detail photos can be when used together. Add a sidebar with my logo and this could be used a nice little promo package for clients or for brand awareness on the internet. The 2:1 crops work nicely together as does balancing the blue sky with the green above.
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Wide Angle, Detail and Panorama with Branding – Four Images
I mentioned before that showing architectural detail shots together rather than individually can look really good because the shots next to each other provide visual reference. You can see the panelling detail, bottom left, next to a wider ground level photo with the same panelling visible on the wall above. They all tie in to one another.
Alternative Branding Placement and Colour – Three Images
Finally, I changed the colour and position of my logo to see how it looks. To be honest the sidebar with the lighter colour is a better choice but I want to show that were not limited in layout or design. It all depends on the photos that makeup the spread. Logo, no logo, alternate colouring, two photos, a triptych, it’s all possible. Putting detail shots together into packages can really add visual interest. The sum can definitely be greater than the individual parts in this case.
Final Thoughts On MarkIs Design
Mitsubishi, as a giant multinational corporation with literally hundreds of designers at its disposal, you might think their designs would be unoriginal and boring, but somehow they manage to stay fresh and creative with most of their projects. Some thoughts on the overall design of MarkIs Mall:
- For what is essentially a five storey rectangle the exterior design has been nicely matched with the surrounding greenery.
- Mitsubishi is known for their large industrial style buildings, but they’ve added an obvious open or airy feeling to the entire facade by copying angles of the trees in the large steel canopy, located above the rooftop garden.
- The exterior walls have styrofoam looking textured panelling on certain places which for me is a strange addition.
- The public green spaces and landscaping are mimicked with the addition of hanging planters all over the exterior. Given time those will eventually have long ferns and grasses growing out of them, running all over the walls covering the painted siding and giving a greener more natural feel.
- There is a very green design type feel to the design. I believe the architects worked closely with the landscape designers and even partnered with a garden design firm, as the entire roof deck is a fruit garden, open to the public.
- I think the overall idea was to cram as many businesses into the interior – over 180 – without making the building look like an out-of-place monstrosity, which they’ve successfully done.
I hope I’ve given you some insight into how I process a main hero image and how I present other detail images to clients. I Don’t always create these types of photomontage as deliverables to paying customers, only if they ask. Most times the client wants to make their own so I deliver the individual high-res files for them to put together themselves.
Individual detail shots are a key component for the work I do and when presented together with one or two advertising style “main” photos as a package, really goes far in presenting the architects complete design vision to the viewer. A well-lit, well composed package of architectural photographs presented in the ways I talked about above can do very well with promoting any new design project or development.
Thanks for reading and you can take a look at more of my work at http://www.jsegalphoto.com.