Charles Davis Smith - FAIA | Photographer


Photography Tips:
The success of a photo shoot depends on project conditions such as weather, the time of day, the time of year and a cooperative owner or tenant. Most items are straight forward but tend to be overlooked.
Sunlight, Sunlight, Sunlight!     

Exterior photography is dependent on sunlight in 98% of the projects.  Some projects such as those in heavily wooded conditions should be shot on overcast or slightly overcast days.

East elevations should be photographed in the morning and west elevations in the afternoon. 

In Texas, north facing elevations will only have direct sunlight during the months of late May to mid August. Late June have the best sunlight for north facing buildings. Projects located to the north will see less direct sunlight on north facing buildings.

Spring and Fall Sunlight - These are the best months for exterior photography (except north facing elevations). The sun is not as harsh and the skies are mostly clear of pollution and haze. My scheduled usually fills rather quickly from March until June and again in September until late November.

Summer sun is at its highest and brightest point in late May until August to the point is washes out many shots. Most exteriors are photographed early in morning until 10:00 am and again late in the afternoons after 5:00 pm until sunset. Red ozone days (in DFW area) create haze and can be filtered with limited success.


Is your project complete and ready for photography?
While it is not always possible for every project, construction should be fully completed before you schedule your project. The General Contractor and ALL Sub-Contractors should be finished and off of the site. It is very difficult and expensive to shoot around construction, construction workers or construction equipment.
Submitting Projects for Design Awards
Architects and Contractors are notorious for wanting to submit projects for design awards before the project is complete or ready to be photograph. Please keep in mind that photographs of projects that are 'rushed' in order to make a design awards deadline will ultimately be used for marketing purposes. In most cases, the images will be used for many years. Many architectural design awards will allow projects to be submitted for several years after construction. 
Be patient, the design awards will be there next year!
Twilight Views:          
Best Candidates:
Buildings that face East or South. The sun will set behind the building and the sky will glow well after sunset.
Buildings that are transparent or having large amounts of glass.
Large amounts of glass are not necessary if the exterior of the building has ample lighting and landscape lighting. 

Worst Candidates:
Buildings that do not have large amounts of glass

Buildings that do not have ample exterior lighting that highlights the building in the evening. Please be sure that all lighting needs to be in working order.