Grader before and after Moss Grader

Anatomy of a Shot: Mad Max Grader

One of my favorite things to shoot are twilight photos of architecture/homes/commercial spaces. I love shooting these images because my method involves light painting and Photoshop compositing… both super fun!

For this shoot, I was creating some images for a marketing campaign for Glensheen. Shooting for twilight is always tough because it requires a sweet spot in lighting conditions where you get the ideal mix of interior lights and natural light. It’s also challenging because what the eye sees and what the camera sees are two different things. It always seems like it’s too early to start shooting, but if you wait too long, the image just won’t work.

The first thing I had to do for this shot was decide on the composition, and this particular scene was screaming to be captured. The biggest issue was that I would need to tilt the camera up to get everything I wanted in frame. This is where tilt-shift lenses come in. They are absolutely essential for architectural photography because they allow the photographer capture the entire frame without the vertical distortion that is unavoidable when pointing the camera up with normal lenses.

Once I had the composition dialed in, it was a waiting game. I kept firing test shots and as soon as the light was right, I took my wireless lights and fired a series of flashes at the building and on the foreground in different directions and different locations to accentuate the existing lighting and simulate additional dramatic lighting.

Once everything was shot, I brought the raw files into Photoshop and composited the best parts of each image together. I then corrected some the windows where there wasn’t enough light and removed any distracting elements from the frame. Finally, I replaced the sky to really make the image pop.

Be sure to swipe to see the before and after!