ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP with STEVEN BROOKE
You can do good work with a simple camera. Participants using point-and-shoot or automatic cameras should review “Learn the Functions of Your Camera” listed below to determine what manual controls you have. If you are thinking of purchasing a camera these are good guidelines.
35MM DIGITAL SLR CAMERA: Your camera should have complete manual controls including independent controls for shutter speed, aperture, focus, white balance, and ISO. Capacity to shoot RAW files is preferred. RAW files contain all the data captured by the sensor, allowing maximum control. If your camera does not shoot RAW, set it to the highest resolution JPEG you have.
24MM or 28MM WIDE ANGLE LENS: This is the preferred focal length for a “full frame” camera. “Full frame” means that you use the entire 24mm x 36mm sensor. If your camera has a sensor “crop factor”, your wide angle should have the equivalent coverage of at least a 28mm. For example, cameras with a typical 1.6x sensor crop factor need a 15mm or 18mm lens to cover what a 24mm or 28mm covers on a full frame camera. If you have not purchased a camera, a full frame camera is highly recommended. Many students have had success with one of the Canon EOS Rebels with an 18-55mm lens. An additional lens in 35-105 mm range is suggested but not required for landscape and details. This can be a prime lens or zoom. The zoom supplied with your camera is usually fine for what we will be doing in the workshop.
A CABLE RELEASE is not necessary but very useful to avoid movement.
EXTRA BATTERIES or a BATTERY CHARGER if you have rechargeables.
8-16 GB STORAGE CARDS: Sandisk brand cards are highly recommended. Cheap ones will fail. One is sufficient. Two are better. Prices have dropped. If you can afford 16 GB storage cards you should buy them.
A TRIPOD is absolutely necessary. It should be sturdy, with horizontal, vertical, and pan controls. A quick-release mount is suggested. Buy the most stable one you can afford.
PHOTOSHOP 5.5, 6.0, or CREATIVE CLOUD on your computer. The industry standard for photo processing. No other program will do. If, for some reason, you cannot get Photoshop, we will work with what you have.
A MOUSE WITH A SCROLL WHEEL: The computer pad will not work. You must transfer your files from your storage card either to your computer or to a standalone hard drive. This can be accomplished with a card reader that plugs directly into your computer; or, if your camera has a connecting port, a direct connection via a USB or FIREWIRE cord.
LEARN THE FUNCTIONS OF YOUR CAMERA: Please read your manuals. You should become as familiar with your camera as possible before the workshop begins. We will ideally shoot with all MANUAL settings: f/stop and shutter speed set independently. If your camera can’t do this, you can shoot with “aperture-priority.” If your camera can only shoot in automatic mode, we will work with that. If possible, make these changes on your camera before the workshop:
MANUAL FOCUS ONLY – Disable auto focus if possible.
EXPOSURE METER – Set to AVERAGING or EVALUATIVE or similar.
Do not use SPOT METERING.
Set “STYLE” or “SCENE” (or whatever the presets are called on your camera) to NEUTRAL.
Disable SHARPENING, Disable NOISE REDUCTION – These may also be presets on your camera. We don’t want this.
Set EXPOSURE CONTROL to ZERO – We will not use this at all.
Set RESOLUTION to RAW – Highest resolution possible – we prefer to shoot only RAW, no JPEGS. If your camera does not shoot RAW, set it to the highest resolution JPEG.
Disable AWB (automatic white balance) – Learn to set the white balance manually to correspond to lighting. For most of our work this will be the DAYLIGHT setting.
Set CAMERA COLOR SPACE if possible to ADOBE RGB (1998).
ADOBE BRIDGE/CAMERA RAW/PHOTOSHOP: We will go over everything in the Workshop. When you sign up for the workshop, I will send you WORKFLOWS to review. Again, if you cannot install Photoshop, we will try to work with what you have.
ADOBE BRIDGE: This is your digital “light table” that loads with Photoshop. Make sure it is installed and recognizes the files from your particular camera. If not, go to ADOBE DOWNLOADS to get the most current version.
CAMERA RAW: This is your digital “dark room” for processing files. It usually loads with Photoshop. If you don’t have it, go to the ADOBE site and download the correct version for your version of Photoshop and your camera. If you are shooting JPEGS, you can still open them in CAMERA RAW for the best processing.
PHOTOSHOP: This is your digital “retouch studio” for final work. For architectural photography you should use this program. Make the following settings in Photoshop:
EDIT>COLOR SETTINGS: set RGB to ADOBE RGB 1998
PREFERENCES>PERFORMANCE: set HISTORY STATES to 1000
BASIC PHOTOSHOP FUNCTIONS: Know the location of these basic Photoshop functions. We will discuss how to use them at the Workshop.
Make them visible by going to WINDOW in the menu and checking TOOLS
The best reviews of cameras and lenses are at www.fredmiranda.com. I purchase from B&H Photo or Adorama. Both are reputable, have competitive prices, and will exchange damaged goods. Check your local stores and be a smart shopper. This is especially true for stores like Best Buy. Stay away from ebay. Many of my students have had success with one of the Canon EOS Rebels with an 18-55mm lens.
FINAL NOTE: we will accomplish a lot in our workshop. The more you have prepared ahead of time, the more you will take from these sessions.
QUESTIONS: Contact Steven Brooke - firstname.lastname@example.org - with any questions.