Architectural photography and Photoshop


Architectural photography never tells the truth because it is not in his nature to do so.

All the decisions concerning the creation of a photograph –the point of view, the lighting, the narrative ...– are all choices that the photographer consciously takes from its unique individuality as a subject before the decisive moment of actually exposing the image. 

Whenever a photographer selects a frame, he is choosing a particular way of explaining the reality that he is analyzing with his camera. Each and every one of the choices that the photographer solves as part of the photographic process are thus expressing an opinion, his opinion on how he is interpreting reality.

Since cameras are not aseptic tools designed to repeatedly run a task, simple mirrors with a memory, you won’t then find anything close to an absolute truth in photography. Cameras are instruments played by humans endowed with thought to mindfully look at the world and to share their unique perceptions and opinions with others.

Considered this way, architectural photographs do lack honesty because they don’t certify or document a building, they convey an interpretation of it expressed by a photographer. Thus understood, architectural photography –surely as photography considered in general– will never tell portray the truth but will definitely explain reality in a plausible way.

Interpreting architecture in images means admiring it in all its glory to condense in a photograph the essential features and qualities that make a building singular and different and, from that picture, to explain them to a viewer who has not lived the experience of contemplating the building in situ.

Art and communication are based on the exchange of experiences: the role of architectural photography is to entice the viewer with its sole presence to seduce him and recreate in a picture the same fascinating experience of discovering the unique and essential harmony of a new architectural project or building.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of the projects that we know we know first by the photographs that represent them. Any means, strategy or technique intended to improve the experience of the viewer who looks at a photograph and synchronizes with it is licit as long as it makes communication deeper and smoother.

Porta Fira Hotel  |  Toyo Ito  |  Barcelona

Porta Fira Hotel  |  Toyo Ito  |  Barcelona

Editing in Photoshop –or any other software like DxO or Nik– as a decisive part of all the elections that make the photographic process determines the final way of actually conveying in a photograph the keys for interpreting it (from the most basic edition of exposure, white balance and color to the most complex of transforming and cleaning the frame of all the elements that may distract the viewer's attention). 

So, here is one example of what I consider one of my best architecture photographs for you to see how every step counts in achieving the best possible results: the unedited RAW file from the camera and the finished image as I visualized it in my mind, what I saw and felt when I chose my frame and implemented my creative decisions –and edited my vision in Photoshop– at the service of successfully communicating a project.

When dealing with communication, the message needs to be clear and genuine. My photographs will maybe not tell you the truth but you can be sure that they will never lie to you.


David Cardelús