On white

A few weeks ago I tried something new. I wish I could claim it was an original idea (although some would claim that no such thing exists any more), but no, this is a complete copy (in concept) of a post by the best photography educator around, Scott Kelby. In a recent blog entry (http://goo.gl/ES8XTM) he demonstrated a theme that he stumbled upon accidentally.

The idea is based on something we are all very familiar with – products, cars, models and so on, photographed on a seamless white background. It is great for achieving a clear, undistracted view of the product.  We almost take this look for granted when looking at a product catalog and many advertisements.

So, how about putting buildings on white? It is a little hard getting a roll of seamless white paper that long. But fortunately there is an easier way. All it takes is a slightly overexposed shot and a few simple adjustments and we have a building on white.

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago

It is really not hard to achieve this look, especially with Lightroom or Photoshop. First, bump up the contrast – a bunch and then a bit more. Also boost clarity quite a bit too. These tweaks will make the bright parts of your picture and the lighter mid-tones brighter (almost white) and do the reverse for the darker parts of the image. With one or two of the images, I also needed to do a little bit of local dodging to achieve the desired amount whiteness. I also took Scott’s advice and sharpened the picture like crazy.

Baha’i Temple in Wilmette just north of Evanston and Chicago.

At this point, you could choose to go black and white and I think that would be perfect for some buildings. I did not do that with any of mine shown here. However, you do need to do something about the color as the increase in contrast has accentuated colors unnaturally.

Marina Towers in Chicago.

To solve the color accentuation, I just lowered the saturation and the “vibrance” of the picture.

I will experiment with this look some more. It suits some buildings and some angles more than others. The first image, of the Trump Tower is particularly well-suited to this look, but others perspectives and compositions could work well too.

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse

Why not give this a try and share your images with me. And let me know what you think too.


Ps. My blog was feeling neglected and ignored. The last post was 6 months ago. Let’s hope I can do another post before too long.