As professionals, Maulik Patel and Vidhi Patel, the team behind Inclined Studio in Ahmedabad, is keen to balance concepts with technicality. This balance between idea and execution has won them quite a few awards, like the IIID Magazine 2017 cover page and more than 150 satisfied project owners. Inclined Studio is famous for exemplary photography work in architecture, interior and landscape sectors. For Maulik and Vidhi, the client is the soul of the project. However, they do not hesitate to use their own sensibilities and understanding to project the client’s values and individuality through the lens.
Basically, the Inclined Studio team takes an idea from the client and takes it through development to realisation, using a traditional approach along with the innovation. The studio was established in 2015 and in the past 5 years, it has photographed more than 700 projects in the three disciplines as mentioned already. Their work keeps getting published in reputed publications, including design magazines and books. While Maulik is an Interior Designer by education, Vidhi has studied architecture.
Speaking about their life so far, Maulik says on behalf of both, “Life, as they say, is full of surprises. I actually took a degree in interior design but had no plans of working commercially. However, one thing led to another and here I am, shooting interiors for architects, hotels and design companies in Gujarat and outside.” Vidhi pitches in with her take on what architectural photography is all about. She says, “Architectural photography is the documentation of buildings and similar structures from an artistic or realistic perspective. Interior photography is almost entirely about solving problems – light, colour, reflections, space and time – all of these will look like conspiring against you.”
Taking the discussion about architectural photography further, the Inclined Studio team enumerates the advantages of it. These are:
- Helping people obtain a visual understanding of buildings/structures without having to visit them physically.
- Building a valuable database resource to allow students of architecture expand their vocabulary.
Maulik and Vidhi go on to describe the significance of good equipment, basics about composition of a photograph and lighting, etc. For the photography enthusiasts in this field, here are the pointers –
The team uses Sony a7r 3 with remote release, which is the most suitable for their professional work and reliable too. It produces beautiful photographs with a dynamic range.
The lens used is Sony 16-35mm f4. Speaking about this Maulik says, “For some spaces 16mm is useful but this is really as wide as I would go. Any wider just starts to look unnatural for my taste and objects close to the lens will become elongated or fall away. Use with caution and keep it straight at all times!”
Interior photography is all about composition. It is not just about space, but also about letting the photographer enter that space and touch it through his lens. Vidhi believes that there are three basic categories of photographs to be taken in an interior set up – the hero shot, the detail and what I call the ‘navigator’. Let’s take each one in turn.
Maulik explains, “A hero shot is usually wide-angle and will include as much of the room as possible without going to extreme (focal) lengths. The first thing I do when I enter a room is find the best angle, or angles for the ‘hero’ shot: this is the main, single photo that will present the room on a website or in a brochure. It is always my starting point and it’s the shot I’ll devote most time to in terms of getting the composition, lighting and styling right.” In fact, when Maulik and Vidhi meet the client or visit the location before the job, they take some quick snaps to allow them to go back to their office and start thinking or preparing ahead.
After the Hero shot comes the Detail shot, which reveals a lot about the atmosphere of the place along with its history and styling. Maulik explains his process of getting detail shots, “I work quite spontaneously for these shots and it’s a great chance to play with the natural light or with architectural features like doorways, staircases and windows.”
This shot helps the viewer create a kind of mental map of the location being photographed.
Shoot At Different Times
The first and the foremost point to remember is you should shoot in a range of weather conditions as well as times of the day. We may not realise it but shooting in different weathers and timings of the day will give you a range of photographs, with minimal effort. Vidhi explains, “People often tend to seek the most dramatic lighting to shoot architectural wonders, such as sunset hours when shadows are long and colors bright. Shooting a series of images during different times of the day, or even in various weather conditions, can help to paint a fuller story of the building’s relationship with its environment.”
Good Lighting is Key
Whether you are shooting during day or night, morning or evening, good lighting is the key to get a great photograph. Perfect lighting helps the photographer create the right impact in the image, vis a vis space, structure and atmosphere. In fact, lighting is important in shaping up the viewer’s understanding of a specific architectural project. According to Maulik, “All the images have been made with a mixture of natural light, HDR blending and multiple exposures. Lighting and post-production are a big part of interior photography.”
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