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September 10, 2020

Depth of Field

Their work helps clients win awards, garner attention, and bids on future projects — architectural photographers


By Mortarr Staff Creators


Sharpest Shooters on Mortarr

We asked some of our favorites showcasing on Mortarr to share more about their approach to their photography work, what they consider to be the most important element of a photo, and what inspires them to continue honing their craft.

How would you describe your approach?

Pretty straight forward and a bit obsessive. I like to know what kind of photos are needed and what type of lighting is best for them. I like to find any photographs that have been made in the past of the project and work with them if they’re relevant.


What do you consider to be the most important element in photo?

These days you need a quick read of a photo. The story has to be clear and easy to follow for the viewer.


Who or what inspires your work?

I look at everything. Photographers, painters, dancers, tourists, movies, etc. Everything sinks in and builds up the toolbox. And I look at architectural drawings often to understand how architects see space.

What is your favorite project shot to date? What makes it your favorite?

It feels like my favorite project is always the one I’m working on. I recently shot the Musekgon Community College Health & Wellness Center, in western Michigan. No one from the firm was able to be on location with me so I asked for a plan with some angles they thought were important. It was a great experience in learning why you hire a photographer. I spent two days figuring out how to tell the story. I also was happy to not be tying up anyone’s time away from the office.

PROJECT: Nando's Peri-Peri. View More >

SECTOR: Bars + Restaurants

PHOTOGRAPHER: Emilia Czader — Chicago, Illinois

Tell us a little about yourself and your studio?

I am a Chicago-based architectural photographer with an M.Arch degree and over five years of

architectural practice experience. I collaborate with professionals in the architecture and design community to create artistic and marketable photography.


How would you describe your approach?

I would call my approach very collaborative, very transparent, and multidisciplinary.

Whenever possible, I begin by reviewing a floor plan and design drawings to gain an

understanding of the main architectural and design features, followed by a scout visit and test

shots. I use the test shots to engage in further discussion with the client prior to the actual

photoshoot. In my experience, the initial planning and secondary discussion that is part of my process guarantees that the final photography meets and even exceeds the expectations of the client.


What do you consider to be the most important element in photography?

Lighting is the most important element in photography. It makes all the difference in capturing

the mood that the architect or designer wants to communicate. The final result will differ depending on whether it is a day or evening shoot. Neither is right or wrong as an approach, but it is very important to consider it, depending on the project type and the story that we’re telling.


Who or what inspires your work?

I am very inspired by people and projects in the architecture and design community as well as

fellow photographers. A photography course in graduate school and later an apprenticeship with artist and photographer Michelle Litvin were my first true sources of exposure to the medium. Michelle’s work and approach to architectural photography had a huge impact on me and to this day inspires me. I am also fascinated by the work of Milan-based Spanish architect, designer, and artist Patricia Uriquiola. Her designs are spectacular at every scale! Finally, I always looked to design magazines for inspiration. There are too many to mention, but a few that stand out to me are Interior Design Magazine, Dwell, and ADPro. These magazines are platforms that showcase a range of creative and visually stimulating work.


What would be your dream project to shoot?

My dream project would be to collaborate on an extended, dawn-to-dusk study of a

contemporary architectural design that is set in an interesting context. I am very attracted to the idea of a project that is set in either a very urban context juxtaposed with a mountain backdrop, or a structure in a remote area such as at an ocean cliff or a never-ending meadow.

PROJECT: Education. View More >

SECTOR: Education

PHOTOGRAPHER: Josh Beeman — Cincinnati, Ohio

What types of photography services do you offer?

I offer interior and exterior architectural photography including drone photography and drone video. The majority of my clients are top architecture firms and I’ve had the pleasure of working with many leading advertising agencies, interior designers, landscape designers, and construction companies as well.

How would you describe your approach?

I artfully capture a building and its inhabitants in its natural setting to communicate the craft, and story of the project. The exquisite use of light to bring out texture and shape within a balanced composition sets my work apart. A very efficient shooting style and skill level in Photoshop enables me to work quickly on location, getting more shots in less time, which offers value to the client.

What do you consider to be the most important element in a photo?

Light, whether it’s the use of artificial lighting or sunlight. The sun is a very powerful tool in photography. One must have an astute understanding of how the direction of sunlight and time of day affect the outcome of an image.  Perspective is also essential. As Ansel Adams said, “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

How does your work add value to a project?

Architectural photography is the last phase of many months of design, planning, and construction. I combine technique, orientation, and people within the built environment to create a complete visual story; capturing the craft that designers and contractors work so hard to create. The results are stunning images that help my clients win awards, garner attention, and bids on future projects.

What would be your dream project to shoot?

My dream project would be a corporate university complex.  A massive innovative campus that combines landscape design, interior and exterior architecture, and interior design to create a world in and of itself. I long to capture the vibrancy of such a place and the relationship of the space to its inhabitants. I would love to show how all of the separate pieces come together to create something that daily changes the world.

How would you describe your approach?

I try to have a global approach of each project I photograph. Having worked for designers, owners and manufacturers has taught me to look at a project through different lenses. I move from a broad overview view to details of design elements.


What do you consider to be the most important element in photo?

The composition is the most important part of the photo. I try to compose mine as pictures I could frame and hang in my room.


Who or what inspires your work?

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and French photographer Laurent Baheux are two of the photographers who inspired me the most while I started learning photography. While they both focus on black & white and other subjects than architecture, the visual strength of their work never ceases to amaze me.


What is your favorite project shot to date? What makes it your favorite?

My favorite project to shoot to date was the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It’s such an iconic building and the recent renovation of its illumination by L’Observatoire International completely changed the perception of the plaza while beautifully highlighting the architectural features of the façade.