Category: senior housing, case study, architectural photography tips, real estate photography
Author: Douglas Sterling
Keywords: architectural photography, affordable housing photography, architectural photography tips
Description: This Douglas Sterling post covers the approach used to a senior housing downtown revitalization project.
Photographing downtown areas can be challenging but also rewarding. The challenge lies in clearly pulling together architectural elements into one frame at the same time. Pre-visualizing in what the final image will end up looking like, composition, and on the technical size, exposure(s), correct white balance, filters, and layer blending.
When Dahlin Group and Eden Housing hired me to photograph Monteverde Senior Housing in Orinda, I was presented with these challenges. The project is a part of a downtown revitalization that required affordable senior housing. Located close to public transit, the project provides 66 affordable rental apartments for older adults along with one unit for the resident manager. The development has a number of sustainable features including solar hot water and photovoltaic systems. The contemporary design is supported by a wood podium structure situated on a multi-tiered site location. All of the architectural building characteristics needed to be captured methodically. The following describes the photography projects unique challenges and approach to meeting each challenge:
- The shoot needed to take place in January. Monteverde is very shaded due to the time of year and its location behind a set of hills. It is not a HDR processed image but a series of multiple exposures layered, blended and adjusted in Adobe Photoshop. Producing images like this takes time. I wanted the sky to tie into the tonal range with the building and so I added a slight magenta graduated filter to accomplish that.
- The downtown area had many sources of traffic. The development is adjacent to a community center, church, park and public library. There is a bus stop at the bottom of the paths. Issues we addressed were parking, minimizing impact on pedestrian traffic, and an accessible location to shoot this perspective from.
- The development has a steep incline (17% slope, 40-ft. grade increase). The foreground terraced cement structure was a problem that I overcome through my experience of knowing that what was important in getting it right as well as make the image look real. And in making it look real, I stitched 3 different horizontal images together in the effort to keep to the equivalent to a 24mm lens. A very effective method to minimizes the distortion factor that you would typically see when other photographers would make this image.
Ultimately, the photo shoot was a success. The project images were incorporated in marketing materials, which generated great exposure for my clients. The project won 2 awards, the Gold Nugget 2014 for 55+ and NAHB Best of 55+ Housing Awards.
Creating images that move you forward!