Moody Bible Institute / Chicago, IL / AJ Brown Imaging

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to photograph at the Moody Bible Institute downtown Chicago.  They had just completed a remodel of their Culbertson Hall.   It is a beautiful space and we had a blast shooting it.


In todays architectural photography world if you are shooting a space with no people in it then you are doing it wrong.  It has been a trend in the industry for years and for good reason.  These spaces were designed specifically for people.  Showing off projects with no people make them seem a little bare and lifeless.  Adding people to the photographs also helps the viewer understand the scale of the space and imagine themselves in it.


Adding people to architectural photographs is a completely different animal.  Not only do you have to light the space well, you have to light the people in the space in a complementary way too!  This raises many challenges in the positioning and power of the lighting.

We were scheduled to shoot the week before students got there so finding people to include in the shots was rare.  We ended up using a couple students we bumped into,  a few young looking staffers, and my assistant Payton (who still looks 19.... his words not mine) in several of the shots.




Desperate times called for desperate measures, in the image above you will find the extremely rare appearance of yours truly!!!


Western Illinois University / Architectural Photography

The funny thing about architectural photography is sometimes you can end up shooting a project multiple times.  This exterior dusk shoot was my second at the new Western Illinois River Front Campus.  I shot some interior images at this location late last year for the interior design firm Paragon Commercial Interiors, and I will be going back again this week to shoot a few more for Dewberry, the architecture firm.   


Dusk shots are not as easy to pull of as they look.  There is a very small window of opportunity when the ambient light balances perfectly with the artificial lighting.  If your lucky this window will last about 30 minutes.  In some cases if you time it out just right and there is enough existing lighting on the building, you don't have to bring in your own supplemental lighting.  That was the case here at WIU.  With the help of some of the security staff who were running around inside the building making sure none of the timed interior lights were turning off on us, we were able to maximize on this small window of optimal light.  


In this bottom image you can see we are starting to push that window of optimal natural light.  If it were to get much later than this we would need to use some of our own lighting to bring out detail in specific areas.  With detailed and precise planning we were able to get 6 dusk shots at WIU in one night!  This makes architectural photographers and architecture firms very happy!

Columbus High School's Architectural Photography shoot


Here is a small preview of a recent shoot I did at Columbus High School in Columbus Junction, Iowa.  The above image is the new administration building as well as an off site outreach center for Muscatine Community College.   The project was designed by Shive Hattery Architects and Engineers who were recently named one of the top firms in the US by Architectural Record. 


To go along with the new admin building the school also added a new sports facility that includes a gym, locker rooms, and wrestling facility.    


Short blog post this time as I have a lot of work to catch up on after returning from my fishing vacation to Minnesota.  Talk to you soon!