[BTS Video] Next Time You Photograph An Outdoor Building, Try This Technique

We are heading into the final stretch for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest and someone is about to win a truckload of gear! The latest video that caught my attention was from LA photographer Mike Kelley. Mike has been featured on our site before but in case you missed that post, his portfolio is full of some pretty kick ass commercial images of buildings and outdoor environments. So it was only fitting for his contest entry to showcase how he approaches an outdoor commercial architectural shoot. Mike uses a lot of exposures and some well thought out accent lighting to create a composite image that looks really nice. As much as I love this video, Mike won't win this competition by impressing anyone here at Fstoppers. Instead his video has to make a lasting impression among our celebrity panel of judges. If you have any questions for Mike, leave them in the comments below.

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Really fantastic results! The effort was indeed worth it. 

Alex Campbell's picture

Very nice! Great result!

Lovely final result.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Mike makes blood, sweat and tears effort look Zen-like.


Ps... I like how he digitally labels the gear he talks about (Pocket Wizards, Macbook Pro...)

thanks sean... a little after effects trickery

great work Mike, great video as well.

Let's Go DSLR's picture

This could just be my amateurish opinion: It's Very Nice, but maybe not like 6-7 hours Very Nice.

great work mike!

Gilly Ribeiro's picture

Great going, Mike! ;-) Great idea in shooting this vid!
Cheers... (Crazy_Guitar from POTN forums)

Dan Bargen's picture

Maybe it comes from my background of doing architectural 3d modeling, but I just can't get on board with some of the over-done surreal lighting and obvious masking areas in the final image. 

I'll grant you that clients often want images that pop and grab you, but when they want something with photorealism, the aforementioned elements can detract from what a building or space really feels/looks like.

Mike, if you're giving clients want, more power to you. IMHO, more want a little less of the color and light enhancements. I'm still stealing this technique should the occasion arise, though. Can't tell you how many times I find myself wishing I could do more to lift shadows in certain areas in-camera.

I really enjoyed watching the process and it's fascinating what can be achieved with a "simple" technique. Cool Stuff Mike! 

A bit off topic:
Correct me if I'm wrong NYC. To have that nice setup here in NYC it's a bit complicated. We are not allowed to have anything like strobes on stands if we are not insured.  Even though I had someone assisting me, I almost got in trouble for having an extra light stand in Central Park. I wasn't in anyones way, but the police asked to remove the extra stand due to safety measures. 

you have to get insured then... the photographer in this video is