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Shoot: How To Capture A Window View

Lesson 6 from: Intro to Architectural Interior Photography with Natural Light

Scott Frances

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Lesson Info

6. Shoot: How To Capture A Window View

Lesson Info

Shoot: How To Capture A Window View

First things I do, when I come in, if there's a big window situation like this is, I will shoot the view, just out the window, something we can insert into photos later on, if need be. One of the reasons I would shoot it early is if the weather's good, like it is right now, we will have that. You don't want to end up at the end of the day, and the weather's gone bad, you don't have a good view to use. So I want to introduce you to Ryan. He's been my assistant for several years. He's a great photographer in his own right. He specializes in shooting motorcycles and automotive. I've already set up the camera here by the window. We're using a shifting lens, enables me to shoot straight out, but slide the view over so I've got the city and the harbor together. When you set up like this we're going to shoot tethered. The computer's behind me, I'm gonna go to it and operate the camera from the computer. You put the lens right up against the glass. That way you don't have any reflection. Just ...

in case you do have some reflection around the edge of the lens, Ryan's gonna hold a black cloth over the camera and against the window, so there's no chance we'll have a reflection. So, you go there, and I'll go here. And first thing is we're gonna go to live view. I use Canon Capture, and you'll see there's a little focusing square here. And I'm just gonna double check our focus. It's perfect. And we're gonna shoot, we're gonna close the live view, and we're gonna shoot here. We're gonna vary the time exposure. Ryan, you can relax for one second. We're gonna shoot at ISO 160, that's my go-to ISO for shooting. It has the same fidelity as shooting at ISO 100, as far as I can tell, the tests I've done. I tend to shoot at around F9.0 when I don't need more speed. Shooting a smaller aperture than F9. you can get into a little more of a vignetting, and a little more soft focus at the corner of the lenses. So, nothing's moving here, except boats in the harbor, so I'm not so worried about shooting fast here. So at F9.0, the speed's going to be about 1/80 of a second. I'm gonna shoot a bracket, so all the way light to all the way dark, that way my retoucher has really good solid skies to work with, so highlights and shadow detail. And we'll always be doing that, shoot a wide bracket. It doesn't cost you anymore. We shoot at ... every exposure's 2/3 of a stop from the previous exposure. One thing I wanna point out is this is a shutter delay here, so when I'm shooting either with the shutter release at the camera, or shooting from here, first you can determine how long it is before the curtain opens for exposure. You flip the mirror up, and then the curtain opens. And that eliminates any risk of vibration from the mirror on your shot. And believe it or not in tests that I've done, that there is vibration if you don't do this. So I recommend at least a 1/4 of a second, but I find actually 1/2 a second was a little better. So we just do one exposure, here it is, it's a little light. This is the preview that comes in every time I shoot. And we're always gonna adjust from time, length of time, not the ISO. Not the, um, aperture. 'Cause if you change the aperture, you're slightly changing the depth of field, and things may not line up exactly the same. So you always want to vary your time. So the last one was on 1/80 of a second, we went two clicks. Three clicks is a full step, we went two clicks, it's 2/3 of a stop. 1/125 is 2/3 of a stop darker than 1/80, and here's the next one, it's gonna come in here in a sec. You can see it's a little darker. So we're gonna go right through this, we're at 1/200. You're starting to get more cloud shadow detail here. 1/320, we're gonna do a few more here, so we really get all the detail. We're gonna do one more, like I said, it doesn't cost you anything to go a little further. And we're gonna go back now. We started at an 1/80. I always repeat the one I started at, just in case there was a corrupt file. And then we're gonna go brighter. And we don't have to go, we're already starting over at 1/80, we don't need any more shadow detail than that. But I do one more. So now we've got the view. There's one other thing I want to say about the view, that perspective is straight out and flat, but we may ... almost certainly gonna be shooting that way, but I may shoot the shot of the room where the camera's turned. We wanna match that perspective. So I'm gonna do another shot of the view very quickly, I'm gonna turn the camera, it's gonna be an angle that might match the view that I'm thinking about from over there. Just gonna go over here. While we're here, notice I've put napkins under the tripod, protecting the surfaces. Also give your client and home owner confidence that you care, you're considerate. I'm gonna look at live view on the back of the camera here, and one thing I wanna say about that, the best possible focusing tool you have here is magnification in the live view. You can't beat it. If you're concerned about your ability to focus, that's the way to go. So I'm gonna close the live view here. This time it's very important that Ryan hold the black cloth, because now there's space between the lens and the window, and just like a mirror, this window's acting like a mirror, so the camera's shooting this way, and the reflection's this way. So he's gonna put a black cloth like this. And we know the bracket from before, we know a 1/30 is over exposed, we're gonna start there. And we're just gonna give the same bracket, we'll be able to see it come in here. You don't need to have your exposures grouped any closer than that. These cameras have tremendous exposure latitude. We have that. Thanks, Ryan.

Ratings and Reviews

chris cooper

This class was great! I think some of the reviewers are too inexperienced to realize the value of the information that was presented here. This is not an overly technical course but instead a course that helps you create a vision as an architectural photographer and that is priceless information. You can learn the techie stuff elsewhere but here you are getting into the mind of how one of the best interior photographer thinks. His years of experience are distilled into a great course. I have taken week long courses $$ with other architectural photographers and they were great too, but at $39 this was the best investment I have made into my career. To me as a working architectural and interior photographer with 15 years experience I was able to review my workflow and create a better and clearer vision for my work. It was inspiring. Thank you Scott!!


I really enjoyed watching the Great Master give some of the insight of his craft. Scott's thoughtful commentary and relaxed but very professional presence made this course captivating from start to finish and inspired me to continue a great deal. I saw a couple of glitches here and there and a few seconds of blacked out screen where Scott was talking about a 10 hour shoot day in order to capture a program of images. It would have been great to see what was meant to be showed instead of black frame. I wish there was a little bit more and Nicole would expand on correcting Selective Perspective as this is very interesting to me. Other than these minor points I thought it was a great course and well worth it to me.

Melissa Lind

Phenomenal class. This answers so many questions that I've had for years. I feel like I've been working in a vacuum and this reassures me about the perfection I seek in a shot. I could feel the minute adjustments with styling bringing each picture's refinement to the level of fine art that many people may be able to appreciate but are unable to achieve on their own. A well honed skill set. So thankful for the unveiling of industry secrets that have been developed over a lifetime career. Stunning work Scott, the human element that you craft is inspiring; your eloquence is inspiring.

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