My commercial architectural clients prefer a variety of daytime images as well as evening twilight images of exterior views for completed projects. If a building has outdoor lighting of significant quantity and quality, I will elect to photograph that exterior in the evening. I will bring portable lighting to augment the existing lighting – to fill in shadows.
Sometimes when I shoot in the evening, the interior is minimally illuminated, unless the owners can leave all the lights on for the photograph. This is seen in the example below where the owners did leave the lights on for me.
Most of my building clients are in northeast Wisconsin. I travel to the completed facility for daytime views, coordinating morning or afternoon light with the direction the front of the building faces. If and when I consider digitally combining a day image with an evening image, I will always put my camera on a tripod and mark the spot where I shoot from.
In the example below, I photographed this facility at 9:30 AM. The front faces north so there is never direct sunlight on the front of the building. You can see, in this example, that the interior details are obscured by the reflections in the windows.
As I mentioned earlier, if I decide to digitally combine two images for any reason, I will always shoot on a tripod and mark (ground paint, pile of rocks, etc) the center of the tripod and measure it’s height. When I return, I match the spot of the tripod and height of the camera for the second shot.
In the previous image, there is little to no detail apparent in the interior because of the natural environmental reflections. To address this problem, in post production, I layered the daytime image over the the evening image. I created a layer mask and digitally “erased” the windows on the top daytime layer. This brought out all the detail in the windows from the evening shot where all the lights were on!
I also enhanced the sky and removed the handicap parking sign on the right side of the building – before calling it a final.