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Thread: Any suggestions for basic architectural lighting?

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    Any suggestions for basic architectural lighting?

    I have been asked by a friend to photograph an apartment they intend to rent as part of their hotel business. They would like it to look professional (of course) with an emphasis on the design and the furniture, as well as giving it the impression of roominess. I have a good selection of equipment and a good general technical knowledge, but all my lighting experience is related to people, not architecture. I have a Hy6 and 54LV with a 40mm lens. My lighting consists of two 500w/s Hensel monolights and a metz 54mz4. I don't have too many modifiers -- a medium softbox, beauty dish, two umbrellas, some grid spots and a reflector. If the 40mm on the Hy6 is not wide enough, I have a D3 with a 17-35mm zoom.

    In any case, are there any general recommendations or tutorials on how to light a room with a basic two light kit? I had considered just blasting the room with the beauty dish, but I am sure that will not get the look I would like. Is it better to use the spot on a key areas and let the rest be filled in by the beauty dish or softbox on a lower setting? I am sure anything depends greatly on the nature of the room as well, but if there are general suggestions I would be interested to hear them. Will stitching give the same impression of expansiveness that you can get with ultra wide angles? I had considered it in case the 40mm is not wide enough.
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    Re: Any suggestions for basic architectural lighting?

    I'm sure the pros here can give better advice, but your scenario conjured up an assignment I had a very long time ago to shoot a floor-full of offices in a legal firm.

    My approach then was to try and achieve the most natural appearing look possible. Which meant trying to illustrate how the office would appear to someone there during working hours. Whatever lighting existed in the room-- whether it was task lighting, room lighting, window light, etc.-- appeared as it would to the naked eye (at least that was the goal). I used longish exposures and appropriate filters to balance the transparency film I was using. I also employed a couple of "hot" lights to fill in obvious shadows but they were very subdued and almost un-noticeable in the final images.

    The results were warm and pleasing. The lighting felt natural and thus avoided a too-clinical look which might be a byproduct of over lighting with powerful strobes.

    Of course that was film and presented some interesting challenges in terms of color temperature. I'm not sure if digital would make those same challenges easier or not.

    Best of luck and post some of your images if the client doesn't mind.

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