The Corn Exchange, Leeds

Our first Zoom meeting of 2021 took place on 7 January when Richard O'Brien presented a great tutorial on photographing architecture.

His basic premise was that you don't need expensive special equipment or privileged access to get superb architectural images. He proved that in spades and showed us his entire process, as he said, from exposure to edit.

His equipment comprises a Pansonic G9 (modern Micro Fourthirds) with a 7-14mm f/4 zoom lens and a 12-60mm F/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Plus a tripod, an L-bracket and one secret weapon.


Hungarian Parliament - Exterior

Each image he showed us had all the exposure details shown beside it and there were many tips and tricks explained along the way. You could see how you could do this yourself!

Hungarian Parliament - Interior

The Platypod Ultra is Richard's one bit of specialist equipment. A flat plate "tripod" that you can take where tripods are not allowed. It allows you to back the camera into impossible corners too (if your camera has a fully-articulating screen). Ingenious!

Platypod in Action

After the break Richard tackled post-processing. He uses Lightroom Classic  CC jumping into Photoshop CC for more detailed adjustments when layers and masks are useful.

Even his tips on the basic use of Lightroom will save me hundreds of man-hours in the future e.g. customising the control panel sequence to fit your own workflow.

Reception, Principal Hotel, Manchester - as taken

Richards workflow is based on using the available automatic adjustments globally, then improving on them if necessary, largely adjusting texture and clarity. Adding, perhaps, graduated filters, horizontal as well as vertical, and local adjustments by brush.  

Reception, Principal Hotel, Manchester - Edited

People in the foreground can be removed either by shooting over their heads or by taking multiple images and stacking them in PS where the "median" option removes anything that moved.

It was a terrifically instructive evening and quite inspirational for those of us slightly defeated by the usual high-tech, high-cost approach to architectural photography.

Our thanks to Richard for a splendid start to 2021!