The Future of Architectural Photography

The Phase One IQ3 100 Trichromatic Digital Back – An Interiors and Architectural Photographer’s Exploration and Experimentation

Four years ago, I ended my blog post contemplating the future. “Let’s see what they think of next,” I queried.
This, of course, referring to how technology would bring to the photographic industry higher quality standards across all platforms. Admittedly, what I was truly pondering was what would Phase One dream up and be able to create? How could their flagship camera for interior architecture become even better? Their answer has proven to be a miraculous, yet completely expected one.
I have been a Phase One camera owner since 2003, and I had utilized four different systems until 2014, when at that time , I upgraded to the state-of-the-art medium format camera system, the IQ260, complete with a beautiful technical camera built by Cambo Photography. As I had noted in our admittedly lonely blog post in 2014, the synergy of my workflow with that equipment was immediate, passionate, and I had definitely found the best “tools of the trade” for me. Flash-forward to 2017 and Phase One has done it once more with the introduction of the IQ3 100 Trichromatic digital back… again, I have changed how I think about my photography.
I had vacillated for months after the announcement of Phase One’s new technology, contemplating the business of interiors and architecture photography, my working methodology, what made sense financially… did I truly need to offer my clients more than 60 megapixels? Is 100 megapixels the Holy Grail for digital photography? When the Trichromatic was introduced, with a unique sensor which captures the most pure, accurate color of any camera manufactured today, my level of intrigue gripped me like powerful vise. Still, I held off, uncertain… holding fast to my IQ260, a digital back which I truly loved and one which I had come to rely upon for my signature “look.” It took months of contemplation and research, before I gave the IQ3 100 Trichromatic a test drive… and am I glad I did.

Privé Condominium, Miami Florida

My first shoot with the Trichromatic, this gorgeous lobby pictured above, was made possible by Capture Integration and Phase One. Chris Snipes has been my support and product specialist since 1995 and has managed Capture Integration’s sales team for years. I was thrilled that Francis Westfield, the U.S manager of sales from Phase One, joined Chris and myself on assignment in Miami, photographing Privé. Interior and architectural photography at this luxury high-rise condominium featured designs throughout the common areas of this residential property. We ran the system through its paces and simply stated, I was floored. Shot after shot, in each and every lighting scenario, I was left speechless, smiling and completely impressed. The Trichromatic was sharper, rich with detail and clarity, more refined and more pure than I have ever seen in a digital capture. Most importantly, and I can’t state this enough, I was inspired to do my best work. That rekindling of passion for the image-making experience is the real story I hope to convey, and that embedded desire to create and share photographs of the highest quality possible has inspired me every assignment since.

The Boca Raton Resort & Spa

A few weeks later, I was thrilled and proud to be commissioned to create photographs of the interior and exterior architecture at the Waldorf Astoria Boca Raton Resort & Spa. This would be the first real opportunity to challenge me, and more importantly allow me to solidify my relationship with the IQ3 100 Trichromatic. This assignment was a joy and for a photographer who derives inspiration from his subject matter, it was one of the most special experiences I have ever had in my career as a professional architectural photographer. The photographs at the resort were honest, with a purity of color and tone, and a simplicity of composition. It was my hope to portray the ambiance of South Florida’s most elegant and historic resort hotel with total respect to the environment and do so with my own dramatic signature style.

With our industry advancing so quickly and cameras becoming better and better, I feel it is most important to be at the forefront of technology… and as far into the future as possible. For me, working with the camera which is most effectively positioned to achieve the highest quality results, does ensure that I am creating work with the greatest potential for lasting value. This, above all, is “soul-satisfying,” a smart business decision, and allows me to feel like I am representing the best of the subject matter with my photographs. I will often say to my clients when asked about our Phase One camera system, that one of the main reasons I shoot with this camera is I want their work to have the longevity and lasting value it deserves. Each and every project. Each and every photograph.

I ended my last blog four years ago pondering the future of photography in terms of equipment, aesthetics, technical advantages, and thinking deeply about color depth, dynamic range, and the ability to shoot long exposures at dawn. I think where I am today is perhaps more metaphysical and contemplative in the sense that I am starting to question what the future holds as it pertains to photographic reproduction, the experience of image creation, and how framing and sharing “life as it happens” is so ubiquitous in our culture.
Again, I ponder the art and commerce of architectural and interiors photography. I am very proud to be able to create work which matters not only in the short term, but my hope… for a lifetime.

Miami Interior Architecture with L.A. style

Crisp lines and sensual curves accent an incredible, state-of-the-art law office overlooking downtown Miami.  This photography assignment, brought to us through Los Angeles-based interior design and architectural firm, AREA Architecture, is one of my personal and recent favorites.  Dynamic art, gorgeous woodwork, a subdued color palette of warm grey and midnight blue, golden wood-grained columns alongside onyx walls create an interior space which was at once inspiring and challenging for us to photograph.

Working with Los Angeles designers was also a real treat.  I have included several of the photographs which I feel best tell this stylish, bold and whimsical architectural narrative.

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Miami Modern Interior – Fisher Island Residence

Prestige, luxury and style define this incredible Fisher Island residence, located just off the coast of Miami.  Pepe Calderin Design brought intense color, artistic interior architectural details, and a whole lot of drama to this traditional floor plan.  The unbelievable fireplace is a masterful focal point, and along with the red glass wall accents, ceiling details and space planning, luxury and style find a whole new and bold definition.

From the photographer’s perspective, one of our strategies was to focus on the architectural elements, and create clean, crisp lines with my compositions.  I always try to let the design speak clearly and shape the images I create.  In this case, where there were challenges, there were also wonderful photographic opportunities.  Take a close look at the fireplace in the living room, and the gorgeous tile work in the bath.  Very tough to shoot… but still, yielding some pretty gorgeous results for us.  We had two days to shoot this residence, and working with Pepe, as always, was amazing.

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Miami Interior Photography | Ivette Arango Creates Beauty on a Massive Scale

I had the amazing opportunity to photograph an incredible private estate in Coral Gables, Florida.  At over 40,000 square feet, this is certainly one of the largest residences we have ever photographed.  Particularly challenging because of its scale and our limited access to the property, we created 40 images over the two-day shoot for our client.

For a project of this size, and with only two days to shoot, I needed to develop a shooting and working method which was efficient in terms of my approach to lighting and composition.  Bold washes of light and utilization of the designer’s built-in lighting design were balanced with the natural ambiance of the south Florida late afternoon for most of our interior images.  Where and when I could, I used smaller, focused lighting instruments to highlight architectural and decorative elements, such as in the dining room, as well as the grand foyer.  Look at the ceiling above the iron chandelier in the foyer, as well as the wood detail in the dining table for examples of this approach.  For our hallway shots, most of the light is natural as it softly accents the incredibly theatrical light thrown from the chandeliers to the ceiling.  Our exterior photographs were all about the architecture, sculpture and unbelievable sense of space this property affords.  Crisp, Florida sunlight brought out the lush greens and warm hues of the stonework.

Dramatic images for an architectural photographer are often created with the tools of our trade… finding the harmony between design, form and the 3-dimensional space within a camera frame, and creating drama with strobe units and accent lights.  That is generally my shooting philosophy.  However, in this case, I will humbly say, it was all about the subject.  This assignment illustrates what good design can do for photography, and not the other way ’round.

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Miami Interior Design Photography – Architecture and Interiors Create Inviting Style

Miami is known for its beaches, but its incredible skyline offers an eclectic mix of modernism and historical art deco style.  This photographic assignment was really a treat for us, as we were asked to shoot a range of truly beautiful and modern interiors.  Viscayne Towers overlooks a glistening and moonlit Biscayne Bay, and my goal for the images was to showcase the warm, elegant urban lifestyle of the interiors with downtown Miami as its backdrop.  This slideshow features some of my favorite daytime, and evening views of this chic high rise condominium.

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