How to Photograph Buildings Using Two Canon 430EX Speedlites

Here’s an educational time-lapse tutorial by Los Angeles-based architectural photographer Mike Kelley in which he walks through how he goes about photographing buildings. His technique might be described “manual HDR” — after shooting the building over a longish period of time to capture different lightings, he then enters the scene and lights different areas of the building using two Canon 430EX Speedlites. Afterward, he loads the stills into Photoshop and selects different portions of the scene from different photos depending on the lighting he wants. The finished composite photo ends up looking as if it were lit by a large number of Speedlites.

(via Strobist via Fstoppers)

  • Melo

    That’s a ton of effort for something that could be created with a few HDR images and Lightroom.

  • Scott

    Not everyone likes HDR. Sometimes it takes more than a few bracketed shots to pull something off. 

  • Spencer Hopkins

    It’s a totally different quality of light and texture to use a flash than it is to take different exposures and make an HDR. It looks way better the way Mike did it in the video than it would had he just HDR’d it.

  • Tylergrundvig

    There is absolutely no way to duplicate this with bracketed images.  If there was, every exterior HDR image would look like his does.  The fact is, this is a technique he has perfected and it shows.  Just go look at his site. 

  • Avaviel

    The Oloneo Photoengine has a relight function that is useful for this. You take pictures at the same settings on a tripod, but change the lighting each time. Then you can edit set changing the light sources on or off depending on the shots.

  • Avaviel

    I’d argue that people who don’t know the power of HDR don’t like HDR.

    I’m not saying that this is something that can be done with HDR, instead I’m pointing out how powerfully that HDR can be used, in real situations.

    Behold, the power of HDR in the right hands:

  • Alex

    Shame the compositions are so damn awful… waste of time if you ask me.

  • Mike

    What do you think is wrong with the compositions?

  • Flávio Filho

    The result is Perfect, much better than HDR, which I don’t like at all! Actually this guy use the same techniques when we do Architectural Renders.

  • Anonymous

    What a great way to photograph exteriors. I don’t mind HDR when used on architecture but I guess more and more people are doing it – so it’s good to see someone trying something else.

  • duf