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Photographing Commercial Property Exteriors

There's no doubt that interiors photography is a skilled profession – but shooting exteriors, and creating environmental images of those same properties, is a whole different ballgame. One which sometimes doesn't get the level of attention that it should.

I’ve carried out a number of interiors shoots where the brief casually asks if I can ‘grab a couple of shots of the outside while you’re there’', which is a little strange. Being able to showcase a property in the context of the environment in which it's been built should be a vital part of the marketing requirement. Fortunately I have the experience to fulfill this part of the brief as well - but not everyone does.

With interiors, you can pretty much control every aspect of the scene, from lighting to staging and more. But when you’re shooting outside, much of that power vanishes, and working with available light becomes vitally important. That’s why you need a photographer who is experienced in shooting outdoors as well as indoors.

Good preparation is the first step, and an essential one. You can’t move a building to suit the sun of course, but you can plan around the best times of day to photograph it to its best effect, when the light will help to create the most appealing scene. To this end I use a number of specialist apps that enable me to track the exact position of the sun (or even the moon!) in relation to a specific building, in any location worldwide and on any date. Meaning I can advise on the best time of day to plan a shoot – and even if the sun doesn’t play ball, the brightest part of the sky will still be where we need it to be.

It’s also important to think about how time of day affects the quality of the light and the angle of shadows. A ‘golden hour’ shoot (an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset) can give a much better result than shooting at midday – maybe with the low sun glowing off a mirror façade. Or if the subject suits, then a ‘blue hour’ session (an hour before sunrise or an hour after sunset) can be the right answer. With the extra benefit of street lighting coming on, and window lights adding warmth and interest.

However, the more complex the lighting conditions, the more challenging the shoot - leading to a requirement for some fairly specialist skills, which could fall well outside of the day to day remit of an interiors photographer. You need someone who is able to not only take advantage of amazing light when it's available, but also to maximise the potential of average or poor light when schedules leave you with no option, as often happens in the real world!

I’ve been shooting landscapes, both urban and rural, for well over 30 years, so there aren’t many lighting challenges I’ve not come across. And in the last few years I’ve received a Highly Commended in the International Urban Photographer of the Year Awards, and a Silver placing in the International Epson Pano Awards – so when it comes to this type of photography, I have plenty of experience.


For example, you may need an urban night shot with car trails to enhance a lighting scheme, or a panoramic mural to demonstrate the scale of a large development, or an interior image that's all about the view from the window. With specialist skills in areas like long exposure photography, ultra high resolution stitched panoramas, and exposure blending to capture extremes of high dynamic range, I can create all of these and more.   

I’d love to chat about your projects in more detail, so please get in touch if these types of images sound interesting, or click the link to find out more about my Commercial Property Services - and of course, I can also shoot your interiors as well!


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