Architecture Photography of a Backyard Vacation

pool landscape overview A beautiful pool is the centerpiece of your backyard vacation

Everyone loves a backyard pool. In the crazy year of 2020, during a global pandemic, no one was allowed to travel, so that exciting tropical vacation you had planned was a no go.

But what if you could bring the vacation to you? What if you built a beautiful oasis right in your backyard?

As a pool design and installation company, this is the message you want to send to potential clients. They are not buying a container for water, they are buying the vacation experience at their own home!

The goal of the client is to showcase the experience without people actually visiting the pool. My client was preparing a new website and marketing campaign. They had just completed the design and build of a custom pool they felt represented their best work. Great photographs are the answer to showcasing their work to a wide audience.

I start the process with a discussion about what the client is looking for. What specific characteristics to the design are unique to their service or skills? What, if any, custom features incorporated into this pool design were requested by the homeowner? Does the client have any photos created from previous jobs? Older photos can help determine the style used in the past, and provide guidance on the company brand.

Once the parameters are determined, I use an app called The Photographer's Ephemeris  on my iPhone to determine the times of sunrise and sunset, and the angle and direction of the sun on the scheduled day.

Armed with that information, I determined that the best time to complete the job would be late afternoon. The sun would be dropping behind the pool, and I would be able to shoot through the sunset and after, capturing a wide variety of lighting conditions. 

In architecture photography, I will need to capture overview shots as well as detail photos. The goal of the overview is to serve as an introduction to the environment, an invitation of sorts to bring the viewer into the space. On my initial walk through the site, I look for the best angle for this overview, as well as take note of interesting details. I then shoot in both the day light conditions as well as evening, so the client would have options for a variety of marketing purposes.

Your backyard vacation doesn't end when the sun goes down.

Time management on this type of project is critical. The sun drops both slowly and very quickly, depending on what I'm trying to do. Yes, there is some waiting for the sun to drop, but the prime conditions are very short-lived. Even though I was on site for almost 3 hours, I only have a few minutes to capture the best light, so constant attention is required. I want to be efficient, and not waste time, so I shoot the details while waiting for the sun. I just need to make sure I'm ready and prepared when the light gets to the sweet spot.

When shooting details, I look for unique features and interesting compositions. The first feature was the large step of shallow water at one end of the pool. This was the main feature requested by the homeowner.

The requested large shallow step

 This view showed the step in relation to the rest of the pool. I don't need to show the whole pool, or the whole cabana in the shot. I show just enough for context, and eliminate distraction. This way, the step becomes the main focus.

This pool is not the usual rectangular shape. The soft clover shape makes it unique. I wanted to capture this aspect in such a way that would highlight its form. The image below was my favorite from the shoot, and the client's as well.

The unique shape of the pool created interesting lines.
I started with the premise that this was a vacation in your own backyard. I want to show a calm view, and promote the relaxing environment such a vacation provides.
The bright colors added to the style of the yard

This view creates the calm environment, but the image uses the contrast of bright colors against both curved and straight lines to invite the viewer into the pool.

Every job has a goal to meet the needs of the client. The overall goal is straight forward. This client wants to showcase their work in the hopes of generating more work. Sometimes there are more specific goals, such as to highlight a certain feature or detail. These goals can be very specific or more general. I always make sure I meet these goals, but the creative process and my personal style will have an effect on my interpretation for the final images. Sometimes, if time allows, I shoot images the client didn't specifically ask for. The client may find something in these he didn't expect, which is great, or sometimes these images are just added to my library of work.

The built in fire pit adds light and warmth to the experience

This image was a great view of the setting, but minimizes the pool, so not the best image for this client. It still works in my portfolio, especially for the potential landscape designer client!

The final step of the process is back on the computer to clean up and finish the images. This starts with basic brightness and contrast corrections, but in some cases multiple images were composited to create the final. In addition, some of these images required removal of a house in the background. All pool ladders were also removed at the client's request.

If you have an outdoor or indoor project you'd like to showcase, as a builder, designer, architect, or even a homeowner, call me at 978-857-0497 or fill out the online form, and let's create some beautiful photography!

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Friday, 23 April 2021

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