What architectural photography gear I use.
Very often I am been asked about the gear and equipment that I use for my Architectural and Interior Design Photography.
This is the place to state that architectural photography is a technicality oriented and experience based niche and the gear is taking a very minor part, At the end of the day I can photograph almost all of my photos in my portfolio with any camera and lens.
So here is the breakdown for my architectural photography gear list:
When it comes to up scale commercial photography work that goes for billboard and print I find myself in need for high resolution cameras.
I personally use the Canon 5DS (50 Megapixel)
Although 70% of my time I shoot on medium resolution (24mp) I do need cameras that can accommodate higher resolution. (a 5ds replacement is due in 2020)
If you aren’t exclusively working as a commercial photographer that relies on large scale prints, I would highly recommend to get the newer and cheaper models out there.
The 5ds camera dose-not excel when it comes to noise levels and you can find yourself very fast with lots of noise in the photos.
For all you Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Fuji lovers, any camera above 16mp would do the trick, the key for me with canon is the availability to shoot with Tilt Shift lenses that are not available in many other camera brands out there..
When it comes to lenses there are two categories in my view. The Architectural lenses and all the others.
Tilt Shift Lens give you the availability to shift the lens left, right, up and down allowing you to move the camera perspective without moving your camera.
Canon 24 Tilt Shift Lens
This is very useful when you need to photograph buildings from a lower perspective, when you need to avoid mirrors or you don’t have straight forward photography angle.
Canon 17 TSE – is great for photographing small spaces and high rise buildings when you can’t go backwards and capture the whole building. It’s always my second go to lens.
Canon 24 TSE – is my main lens, it gives more a closeup look for interiors and large spaces and push you to find creative angles rather than shoot wide “side to side”.
TSE – again the biggest strength of the Tilt Shift (TSE) lenses, is that it helps you avoid distortion you get when using a wide angle lens and the ability to shift up, down, right or left without moving the camera to capture images in proportions.
- note: TSE lenses are manual focus only.
Canon 24-70 II – Is a great commercial and lifestyle lease and also uses as a double for architecture and interior if something will go wrong with my TSE lenses, it is also great to use it for all the closeup and detail shots.
Canon 16-35 and 17-40 – Are great lenses however I would not recommend to use them for architecture and design unless you don’t have any of the above. The only reason is that they are ultra wide lenses with a lot of distortion. If you need to use any of the ultra wide lenses I would recommend zooming in to 24mm at minimum and photograph only straight forward with them, angle shoots getting too much out of proportion.
Studio Lighting / Strobes / Speed-lights
The lighting category splits into 3 sections, Big Studio Lights, Small on camera flashes and continues lighting.
Speed-lights (on camera flashes) I use 3rd party (not canon originals) speedlights.
I choose the 3rd party for 2 reasons, first they are cheaper and provide almost the same quality as the originals, second is that I have 3-5 of them in my photography bag and i use them most of the time on manual setting for environmental lighting.
Studio Lighting / Strobes I personally work with Profoto B1 and Flash Point 600 Pro sets.
They are great to move around with, and photographing high-end homes and resorts or lifestyle shoots is always a plus when you don’t have cables running around you and your team.
Continues Lighting – there are many options from light guns to light sticks, from LED to tungsten lights to choose form depending on your preferred setup.
Profoto B1 Set
Transmitters and Receivers
There is not better way to get creative with remote triggers, I personally use the Profoto and Flash Point remotes when it comes to flash operations, but any 3rd party flash system has its own triggers and remotes and all of them work great.
When it comes to camera remote and trigger my preferred choice is the Cam Ranger, it does the job great most of the times and I can wait for the 2nd version that should be here soon.
There are endless options to choose from when it comes to tripods, I use the same Manfroto aluminum tripod for over 8 years, I didn’t choose the carbon fiber just to have more weight on the tripod making it more sturdy.
Only recommendation I have is to the hight of the tripod, I would recommend that your tripod will reach above 5.5ft (170cm) this will help in complex places when you need to go higher than normal.
Personally I like the most the Manfroto Junior 410 that has been on the market for years, the only disadvantage is that you can’t tilt the head vertically only to one side.
There are many tripod heads out there geared for architectural photographers, I would recommend to find one that let you to fine tune the camera position by small stops for most accurate results.
Bubble head is always good to have on the tripod and the head to make sure your starting point is most accurate.
There are many light stands in different sizes, heights and price range.
My most favorite are the Manfroto 4BAC series that allow the light stands to attach to themselves and save space on transportation, they come in few models depending on the hight and I love them due to their stability, hight and most important the fact that I can stack them and overall smaller foot print.
With that said, my only recommendation is the safety of you, your clients and their home, make sure that the light stand can support 50% more than your most heaviest overall weight and it’s sturdy enough to hold the wight.
Bags and Cases
When it comes to bag it mostly depends on your setup, I like to travel light however always making sure I got all my backup equipment as well.
I use Lowepro backpack for all my photography equipment that includes 2 cameras, 3 lenses, remote controls and sometimes speed lights or tripod head when traveling.
The second bag is a rolling bag from Lowepro as well, and there I hold my 2 studio lights, and small light adapters.
In case or traveling for lifestyle work I take the Manfroto light stand bag that can accommodate 4 light stands and use it for 3 light stands and folding umbrella and soft-boxes.
Thats all, I hope I was able to answer most questions about my architectural and interior design photography equipment and gear.