Brian Vanden Brink, Architectural Photographer
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How to Photograph Your Home

Want to take pictures like a pro? We asked four of the state's premier photographers for tips on shooting your home, family, garden, and vacation. Interviews by Andrew Vietze

Reprinted by permission from the January 2006 issue of Down East magazine. Copyright 2006 by Down East Enterprise, Inc., Camden, Maine. All rights reserved.

1. The most important thing is light. I look up at the sky and see where the sun is and how it's going to track, so I can map out shots in my mind. Light is crucial. It is really what defines architecture. It's the most important tool you've got. To pull off a shoot you have to be very aware of where the sun is at all times and use it with maximum skill so that you don't miss an opportunity. ©Brian Vanden BrinkYou must be prepared and have the shot lined up, have everything accessorized so you're ready when the light is right. Without a sense of light you don't have that sense of emotion. When seeing my work, I try to get people to respond, "I want to be there." Then I know Iíve found my mark.

2. So much of this work is about prepping and getting the right materials in the picture ó and stuff you don't want out. It's very important for there to be a sense of order in a photograph. I won't shoot a picture if I see something and say to myself, "That shouldn't be there." It's gotta be right, or it's out of the picture.

3. To me it's all about taking each house and assessing what in the world it's doing there and showing it in the best possible way. Sometimes a shot is more about the landscape and less about the house. Maybe you're looking out across the porch and showing the view more than the house itself. ©Brian Vanden BrinkYou don't want to isolate a house from its surroundings.

4. The key thing is not the equipment ó whether you shoot digitally or what film you use ó but being in the right place at the right time and knowing what you want to say.

5. A common mistake to avoid: People tend to shoot wider than they need to. Try to shoot with the longest focal length. It makes for a more pleasing, more compressed view. The idea of a shot is to reduce it, reduce it, reduce it ó eliminate everything you donít need. Keep it simple. Keep it very simple. Make sure everything you put in the picture is exactly what you want.

6. When I shoot a house it requires total and complete concentration. It's the only thing I do when I'm on the job. I live and breathe that house. I try to understand that house. Sometimes that requires very hard work, but it always requires concentration. Looking at it, looking at it, looking at it again, so that you can figure out what the problems are so you can present the building in the best possible light. That's my job.

 

P.O. Box 419, Rockport ME 04856 Tel 207-236-4035

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