Thoughts on Lighting Difficult Interiors & Really Hard Things To Photograph

I like to think, that in some sense anyway, I have built my reputation as a photographer by photographing some of the most difficult subjects I can think of. I enjoy it quite frankly, the process of doing something you weren't even sure could be done in the first place, never mind doing that in an hour, or having to catch a plane by a specific time and that clock is ticking away (run-on intended). 

I think I am somewhat of a generalist in my photography business and career, to the extent that I like to specialize in some of the most challenging styles in photography. For example, I love doing studio work outdoors. I like to do product photography on a table-top, no someone's actual kitchen table top. If I could shoot everything in outer space, i would. Scratch that, I will - at some undetermined point of time of course.

Knowing all of this when I first shot a retail location I went with the tried and true method of natural light. Well this did produce some better than ok results, I am not out here for better than ok, for serious. So after the relatively decent results I was able to produce, I swore off natural light forever and shot only with artificial. Then I got a different form of the better than ok results I had received earlier. It was then when I combined both natural and artificial lighting sources that I really got what I was looking for. That and combining multiple frames in post, having the right equipment, and getting a bunch of experience it paid off. 90% of it is really just doing the work again, and again, and again.

Here are some examples:

 An office building in Arviat, Nunavut. This took countless shots as the "lowered ceiling" many a crazy shadow to formed. Can you guess how many areas were light with artificial lighting?

An office building in Arviat, Nunavut. This took countless shots as the "lowered ceiling" many a crazy shadow to formed. Can you guess how many areas were light with artificial lighting?

 

 

 This one was photographed for Saje Wellness in one of their store locations. These are often done before the store/mall opens, early in the morning. This is a composite of images with lighting equipment and a long exposure to match. The interior store lighting is compact LED bulbs which, well they are amazing for the environment, often look terrible in photographs.   

This one was photographed for Saje Wellness in one of their store locations. These are often done before the store/mall opens, early in the morning. This is a composite of images with lighting equipment and a long exposure to match. The interior store lighting is compact LED bulbs which, well they are amazing for the environment, often look terrible in photographs.

 

 Sure this interior looks delicious, but is a photograph that is extremely difficult to take. Large reflective surfaces (like windows) and lighting just don't mix. This photo is the reason I now have grey hair.

Sure this interior looks delicious, but is a photograph that is extremely difficult to take. Large reflective surfaces (like windows) and lighting just don't mix. This photo is the reason I now have grey hair.

 Here is the same technique now with people added. Why, you say? Because it is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off. I added some colored gels as is the rule of photography with anything technology related.

Here is the same technique now with people added. Why, you say? Because it is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off. I added some colored gels as is the rule of photography with anything technology related.

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