Back in mid-September I drove about 1,400 miles through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and back into Georgia to photograph 18 commercial properties for a client. In early October I flew up to New York to photograph two more. I enjoy going back and forth between residential and commercial property photography – I like the change of pace and getting to switch out one set of challenges for another.
With residential property photography I’m mostly dealing with interiors where there aren’t usually moving objects (I bracket all of my shots so I can blend the different exposures – moving objects can sometimes be problematic) but I do have to deal with multiple sources of light that all create different color casts and white balance issues. With the commercial work, which has mostly been exterior photography so far, there is only one light source (the sun) so getting the white balance right isn’t usually a problem. But there are lots of moving objects (cars, people, trees blowing in the wind, moving reflections in windows) and the location of the sun always has to be taken into consideration.
The Bojangles’ above faces northeast. The front of the building is only briefly lit by the sun after it rises above the tops of the trees across the road and before it starts to move around the side of the building. On this trip is wasn’t possible for me to be at this property at that time of day so I just had to work around the face of the building being in the shade. This is where knowing your way around your editing software is essential for doing client work. I blended three exposures together and then selectively edited the shady area for exposure and white balance without making the image look unnatural.
When the face of the building is lit by the sun things are much easier. And I love it when the sky cooperates.
I removed a lot of power lines, utility poles, lamp posts and a few other distracting objects from this image. I don’t make edits like that to the images that I deliver to clients (unless requested), but when preparing images for a blog post or for my portfolio I like to clean up the clutter.
Long flat buildings like movie theaters produce images with a lot of sky and foreground. Cropping to a panoramic format can bring the focus back to the building.
This property took a while to photograph (it was rush hour and there was a lot of traffic in and out of the gas station) and quite a bit longer to edit. Four exposures and a lot of masking in Photoshop later and I’m finally happy with the results, though.