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Beginner Photography: Architecture

Hey folks! This week we’re tackling architectural photography. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure the difference between architectural photography and real estate photography. For our purposes here, there really isn’t much of one. The difference between the two mostly has to do with its purpose and marketability. While real estate photography is meant to be temporary (it is only intended to sell real estate and must be up-to-date,) architectural photography can be timeless. It is meant to capture the essence and aesthetic sensibilities of a structure and show them in it’s best light (often literally.) You can see one of Tony’s videos on shooting architecture here, which I watched before going out shooting.

I certainly didn’t have any light set-up while I walked around my neighborhood, and I didn’t have any fancy gear like tilt-shift lenses. But I had the late-day sun and bracketing, so I worked with that. I use an Olympus E-M10 with a Lumix 14-42mm 3.5-5.6 lens, not the ideal set up for architecture, but it’s what I’ve got. I shot with a high f/stop and bracketed my shots. I then merged them in Lightroom (you’ll for sure see some chromatic aberrations in the trees from the process. I’m not that advanced yet!) Tony suggests using Photomatix if you can, it makes the HDR process pretty seamless.

Alright, enough talk, here’s what I wound up with:

Look! HDR doesn’t have to be gaudy!

I used a graduated filter to bring up the exposure on the house but leave the sky untouched

There seems to be a lot of chromatic aberration in this one, unfortunately.

Black and white was the way to go for the beautiful light and shape of these posts

Ah, this one I want to like, but I can’t seem to get the crop right. What would you do?

I’m in love with my neighborhood and had been meaning to photograph it for a while, so I have a feeling I’ll try more architectural photography over time. I want to capture the beauty that I see here every day.

So those are just a few of literal dozens I took this week. What do you think? Where was I successful and where did they fall flat? 

A reminder that this week our show is on Wednesday at 1pm EST! See you there.


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Controlling Vertical Distortion in Architectural Photography

The Mandir at Chino-large
Subtle distortion correction, both vertical and horizontal, was necessary here. But a choice was also made not to correct all the way. More on this below.

What is vertical distortion?

You’ve seen it before. It’s most obvious when photographing man-made things with straight edges, like buildings. If the thing you’re shooting is taller than you, you tilt your camera back to fit the entire object in the frame. Suddenly, lines that look parallel to your eye seem to converge toward the top of the frame and make what you’re shooting look strange. The wider your angle, the more of this you’ll see.

Peace Tower Vertical Skew
If weird is your goal, this kind of thing will get you there.

This is vertical perspective distortion. It happens every time your camera is not pointed at the horizon, and we’re going to talk about a few ways to deal with it, first while shooting, and then when you get the image into Lightroom. Sometimes you might want to keep the effect, but it’s good to know what to do when you don’t.

Continue reading Controlling Vertical Distortion in Architectural Photography

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Irix 15mm f2.4 Ultra-wide Rectilinear Lens Announced

Swiss newcomers Irix look to leave a wide wake with their first entry into the 3rd party manual lens market.

The Photography Show 2016 in Birmingham,

Swiss lensmaker Irix have just announced their 15mm f2.4 ultra-wide manual focus rectilinear lens. Produced for Canon EF, Nikon F, and Pentak K Full-Frame mounts (look at you Pentax!) the new Irix 15mm f2.4 aims to capitalize on photographers desires for a high-resolution capable ultra-wide premium lens offering.

Photo courtesy of
Irix Blackstone / Photo courtesy of

The new 15mm looks to set itself apart by packing in a list of dream features for fans of landscape, architecture and astrophotography. Most notably a good deal of attention was paid to precision manual focusing. The Irix 15mm f2.4 features a focus lock that can be selected at all focusing distances as well as a click-lock at infinity; the distance the lens will often live at. That’s right astrophotographers, no more pre-focusing in the daylight then taping down your focus ring and hoping for the best. Speaking of shooting at night, the hyper-focal scale and other lens markings are said to glow in low light.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Minimum focusing distance is a very short .25 meters or .82 feet. Along with it’s f2.4 aperture this combo could make for some interesting out of focus effects as long as you’re willing and able to get very close to your subject. Should you need to stop the lens down it’s aperture design features 9 blades and a minimum f-stop of f22. Irix_9_rounded_aperture_blades

Another nice touch not seen in other 3rd party options is that front filters are able to be screwed onto the massive 95mm filter thread while maintaining the use of the lens hood. As if that weren’t enough there is also a slot for gel filters to be slid into place behind the rear element.

Photo courtesy of
Front 95mm filter mount / Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Rear filter mount / Photo courtesy of

The 15mm f2.4’s optical design utilizes 15 elements in 11 groups. With all of the modern corrective optics present Irix claims their lens will be capable of resolving the best of what modern 50+ megapixel sensors can capture. Elements feature a neutrino coating to help produce an image free of outside coloration and maximize image contrast.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Because jumping into the market with a feature rich ultra-wide manual lens wasn’t challenging enough, Irix has decided to do so with two variations of the lens each aimed at shooters with different needs. First up is the Blackstone which lives in an aluminium and magnesium body engineered to handle the environment with weather-sealing and splash resistance. Next is the Firefly designed for the more mobile photographer. It’s body is lighter and it’s focusing ring has a more knurled texture.

Photo courtesy of
Irix Firefly / Photo courtesy of

Irix says that it’s ultra-wide 15mm f2.4 will be available in the spring 2016 so we won’t have to wait long to see if the optics can match the body’s ambitious design. Pricing has yet to be announced for this Korean assembled lens but expect it to fall between the Full-Frame offerings from Samyang/Rokinon/Bower and 1st party auto-focusing lenses.

Stay up-to-date and check out additional images and specifications at


Check out Tony’s review of the a6300 here. And you can see Andy’s past posts here.