Paul Schlismann's Blog

Paul Schlismann Architectural photographer recent work – Knock Knowles Nature Center

I recently photographed the Knock Knowles nature Center in Naperville for my long time client Wight and Company. The biggest challenge in this job, was that they wanted two dusk views on the same night, which is very difficult to do. In order to accommodate them, I set up two cameras; one for the front elevation and one for the rear view by the pond.  Timing is critical when photographing buildings at dusk, due to the fact there is only a 15 minute time frame in which both the sky and the interior lighting balance out. In addition to that, I almost always light the exterior of  buildings extensively for dusk exteriors, so that made it that much more difficult. I literally ran back-and-forth from front to back in order to capture the correct sky and interior exposure for both views. I lit the exterior views afterward and blended the layers in Photoshop.

Chicago Architectural Photographer Phonak Project

Recent project: Phonak
Client: Wight and company

As a Chicago Architectural photographer, I recently had the opportunity to photograph the interior space of the Chicago based headquarters of Phonak, for my client Wight and Company. This interior space is located in a commercially leased property and is typically the case, the lighting was comprised of standard flat overhead fixtures. My client, the interiors department of Wight and Company, wanted to show various operating spaces, which included a conference meeting/sales area off the brightly sunlit main lobby, where there was not only a great disparity in light levels, but also a lot of glass and consequently reflections. The interior designer and architect also wanted to show the open office work space environment as well as the “sound” laboratory. Having been a Chicago Architectural photographer for over 35 years, much of my work is interior photography as well as exterior architectural photography and I have had to solve every kind of lighting problem imaginable. This space had its fair share of challenges, not the least of which was overcoming the “unfriendly” lighting conditions.

High-end architectural photography requires a photographer who has the experience, talent and knowledge to capture the architect or designer’s vision. With an experienced architectural photographer, there is nothing left to chance. Composition is critical – down to the minutest detail. A good interior photograph is like a “portrait” of the interior space. Critical composition which not only clearly defines the space, but also illustrates the design elements, is essential, however, that is just one aspect of many that goes into creating a high-quality interior photograph.

In photography, as well as in any other visual art form, light plays a key role in a should be considered a critical compositional element in fine architectural and interior photography. Light adds atmosphere or a “feel” of the space. Most spaces have flat lighting, which appears “lifeless” in a photograph which is why I always add my own supplemental lighting. The art of lighting is an essential compositional element in good architectural and interior photography. I use my own lighting to add depth, dimension and drama and to lead the viewer’s eye through the photograph, clarifying and calling attention to the design details and creating visual interest. My approach to lighting portrays the space in the strongest possible way; it is an unique aspect of my work that my clients both respect and value. I use light as a creative tool for interior photography, as well as with exterior architectural photography.

Distinctive Chicago Aerial Photographer

Chicago aerial photography view of the new Chicago I55 interchange as it intersects rt. 355.

A Chicago Aerial Photographer might create very mundane images if not done in an artistic and creative way. Professional commercial photography is intended to sell the client’s product, whatever it maybe. As a Chicago aerial photographer, my job is to create effective images that will portray and sell my clients product.

I have heard the phrase by other photographers, that aerial photography can be “like shooting ducks in a barrel” – in other words, it’s simple and one can’t miss. Well, I beg to differ!

Having been a Chicago aerial photographer for many years, photographing for developers, corporate real estate companies, construction companies and architects, I can say that high quality aerial photography involves much more than merely photographing from a high elevation. As far as I am concerned, a good aerial photograph is no less of a “fine” photograph than any other genre of photography.

The two most important key elements in any photograph, as well as any good aerial photograph, are composition and lighting. Critical composition while flying thousand feet in the air and moving at 100 miles an hour is no easy task and requires a great deal of experience to do it correctly. Lighting can also be problematic with aerial photography, especially in the Chicago area. A Chicago aerial photographer almost has to be a part-time weatherman! Quality aerial photography can only be done under proper weather conditions in order to have clear light. The challenge in aerial photography is that cloud formations and atmospheric conditions change each day and in Chicago, sometimes even hour by hour. Furthermore, care must be taken to photograph not only on the right kind of day, but also at the right time of day.