Architectural Case Studies – Planning and Approach
Every project is so different from each other, that I wanted to share a collection of different projects in several categories
- Multi-family / Mix Use photography
- Institutional architectural photography
- Commercial architectural photography
- Hospitality photography
- Residential and interior design photography
Here is a bit of the back story and how I approach them in terms of planning & coordination.
Kirkland Uptown, Kirkland
In the middle of downtown Kirkland, this incredible new project is transforming the city. A mix used / multi-family and commercial development is part of Kirkland Urban. Shot for the architect Weber Thompson, the developers Ryan Companies & Talon Capital, and the real estate agent Indigo.
This project was shot in different phases as the construction, interiors design, and landscaping were finalized. The images were created with all the parties involved in mind, as the architects, developers, and real state had different requests for their uses.
With over 50 images to deliver, the project was captured in 3 days, between interiors and exteriors. Including people and the human element to my project is vital to show scale and motion, it’s not only a great element that enhances the architecture and design but also lets the viewer connect at a more human level.
Frost School of Music, Miami
While planing this shoot, at the Frost School of Music, designed by HOK Architects, we had to consider:
- Campus schedule, to align the classes and their availability
- Coordinated with the Campus security for access
- rent a lift for higher perspective over the trees
- we had several users with different requirements: the architects, the University of Florida, and the contractors like the Window company,
- we wanted to include people in the shots to show university life and class activity. For this, we need to coordinate with teachers and faculty to show up at different times of the day.
The building has a very interesting layout, long and narrow, surrounded by tall trees. So with the initial marking from the architect, the exteriors were capture accordingly to the unique times of day when the sun illuminates the different angles of the building.
This institutional project was shot in 2 days, one for exteriors and architecture and another for interiors, classrooms, and offices. In total, I delivered 30 images.
Olympia Capitol Campus, Olympia
Another interesting project shot for Bassetti Architects at the Olympia West Capitol Campus in Washington State. The client wanted to capture the restoration work done throughout the exterior of campus buildings. With the initial marking from the client we were able to have a game plan to know at what times of the day I was going to capture each building and from which angles.
It was also important to show the campus life. In several of the angles, I capture multiple images with people in them to then composed all together in post-production.
The scope of work included two buildings, and in total the I delivered 15 beautiful images, with several dusk shots.
Chotto Matte Restaurant
Things change a bit on the commercial hospitality side. Usually, we have to work at odd hours, under tons of pressure to deliver the images as fast a possible for publishing.
In this case, after months of construction the Chotto Matte was eager to open and I shot this as contractors were going out of the back doors and chefs were coming into the kitchen for opening night. My client was the restaurant, with the architects ( Andy Martin Architecture) and general contractors as additional users. The PR agency took the lead in coordinating everyone and during the walkthrough with the architect and owner we created a shotlist of about 15 images.
The restaurant included a retractable roof, a 19-ton Sicilian boulder, and graffiti art on the walls. Additionally, the design of the restaurant included an amazing door the would open to the public. In all, I had about 3 hours to complete the shoot before opening night. So a precise shot list really helped me accomplished the job. As I was doing the interiors I set up a second camera outside to capture a Dusk shot. At that time of the year, the blue hour only lasted around 25 min, so it was important to have the timing right,
American Airlines arena canopy
This is a massive solar canopy that extends on top of an open plaza, with 14 solar skylights designed by DLR. The client wanted to show the space being used during an event with the giant screens on. The challenge here was to coordinate the client’s needs with a public event at a certain time of the day.
There were a lot of requirements for this commercial project. The shoot had to take place during a home game, 30min before the game, otherwise it was already too dark. Coordination was key to capture the reach blue skies over Miami’s skyline plus screens on at the right time.
This shot was made from a bridge next to the arena, a good 10 min walk. By the time I walked down, dusk was over and I was able to capture a few more graphic elements of the canopy and lighting. It was a really short period of time and I had to schedule a second night to shoot more images from the inside of the plaza at dusk.
The shot list also included daytime shots, to show how the light goes into the space and showing the possibility of alternative uses. Overall I delivered a range of images, from city view to details that can be used to tell a complete story for all the users
Now things get very hectic in the Hospitality world, you need to keep a very tight schedule and be mindful of guests, to be the least intrusive as possible. Guests that are paying hundreds of dollars and we all know what a bad review can cause.
One of the challenges we face all the time is to coordinate the available rooms, with the right views and the right times of the day.
In this shoot for the Fontainebleau Hotel, I worked with a bed stylist to prepare all the beds in advance before I arrived at each room. She took care of the styling, flowers, pillows, etc. Rooms are generally small so it can tricky to interpret them without distortion.
This hotel complex consists of 6 different buildings with different views. So, we divided the photoshoot by views and building in order to be more efficient carrying all the equipment from one room to the next.
Among the different locations in the hotel, we shot this restaurant at 2 am after it closed for the night. A shot like this usually takes around 45min, this implies coordination with the restaurant and hotel staff for late hour work
After resetting the table, a few of them were taken out in other to show better the space and flow of the restaurant. Additionally, my crew and I lite the far end corners to show the depth of the space
Azul Beach Hotel – Jamaica
This is another project that had a different set of challenges. This project was shot in Jamaica for Karisma Hotels in 5 days. It involved travel, customs, lots of equipment, a crew of 4.
After several weeks of preparation the hotel marketing team, created this shot list with their needs, descriptions, locations, and requirements.
Once I arrived at the hotel after spending 6 hours in customs with 2 assistants and one stylist we walked through the property to put in order the shot list depending on the location and the hotel’s availability. In photoshoots like this, it is key that the hotel’s staff is well informed and willing to cooperate. One of the challenges here was to do all 34+ images in 5 days with a rainy day in the middle.
Weather plays such an important role that you need to keep your eyes open, be flexible if bad weather comes your way.
For this shot, we needed that all guest room would be cleaned and organized early in the morning, thanks to the hotel staff. Additionally, we set up lights to the right of the frame in order to fill in some light on the bar. .
This shot was done at the pick of the night lobby action, where everyone is getting ready for dinner, all the swimsuits are hanging from the balconies, and guests are strolling away. In this case, the hotel sent out a notification to every room that a photoshoot was in progress and that we needed to have access to the rooms.
The night crew was super helpful accessing the room and making it as natural as possible so the guest would not get upset.
JW Marriott, Aventura
Can you guess where is this room?
The hotel was getting ready to remodel all the rooms so they set up a model room inside of a parking garage.
This project was shot for JW Marriott, as they are building a brand new tower and all rooms will be remodeling to this new concept.
The challenge here was to create an image with a believable natural light the hotel can start using right away for bookings and press releases.
In the model room, the fake balcony was 1 foot deep with a fake backlight photo. I shot another view from a possible location to then match it in postproduction.
Miami Vice House
On residential projects, I like to create a less formal shot list but still based on the positioning of the sun to really take advantage of those magic moments created by the light entering a room. I had one day to shoot all interiors and exteriors. At this point, the designer was in talks with several magazines to publish the house and they wanted to make sure we had vertical options for potential magazine covers.