Things Sometimes Go Wrong

October 25, 2015

Over more than 10 years of professional architectural/commercial photography, even with experience and the best planning, things sometimes go wrong......

This event happened some years ago, in 2009, but the memory remains clear. My brief (for the builder) was to capture exterior images of a new high rise residential building at Milsons Point. As is too often the case, I had a very low budget to work with.

I decided on a sunrise start (the building faced East). This was after conducting my usual pre-shoot planning which involves obtaining lots of detail from the  builder (consulting to achieve a brief of the images they wanted),  looking at site plans, calculating sun angles and solar azimuth (at various times of day), checking out likely good vantage points, checking the weather etc. and in this process I checked that the building construction was complete with the building said to be now in pristine condition suitable for the photography.  I was assured all was ready. The day arrived, the weather was good, so off I went.

residential high rise buildingBefore ImageNote the large advertising banner and the abseilers circled in red Residential High Rise Image Milsons Point"After" imageBanner and abseilers removed - hours of work to do properly.

So What Went Wrong after all this planning?

Well... for a start I found there was a massive banner sign hung covering most of the 11th floor front windows - a bit hard to ignore and nothing to do with the builder. This was an obvious problem but being there, I felt I needed to proceed. Then I found another huge sign hung on the northern face plus there remained portions of a construction barrier/fencing bordering the northern footpath. The assignment was getting increasingly difficult.  Still, I thought, with a bit of clever Photoshop work and some selective compositions, I considered I could still get the shots. So on I ploughed.

What really was the final straw for me was, after the dawn shots, I decided to spend my own time (not allowed for in the budget the builder had) waiting for the sun to rise higher and really add some colour and contrast to the building's east face. I didn't notice at first but would you believe someone had selected that day to employ a team abseilers to clean all the windows!

After this assignment we developed new skills in Photoshop - cloning and healing to fix and remove.... not only the abseilers but....think about it (because I didn't on the day)....we had to remove all the reflections of the abseilers and their ropes from a majority of windows in the building. In places, there were even reflections of reflections.

All on a fixed low budget price!  I learned a valuable lesson that day - as did the client.

High Rise Residential ImageNorth East aspectShows both banners - fortunately no abseilers in this view. Pre shoot planning is vital and the right questions need to be asked.