Home    |    About Paul Schlismann    |    Contact    |    Aerial Photography   |    Before & After    |    Blog

The Art and Craft of Fine Photography

For inquiries, or to see samples that pertain more specifically to your particular purpose, contact: paul@schlismann.com or call:

Los Angeles


Paul Schlismann has been specializing in the intricate and challenging field of architectural photography, as well as industrial and corporate photography, for almost 30 years. He is recognized for his attention to critical details, and for a style of lighting that best presents the subject -- whether it be a commercial exterior, or residential interior; a large industrial plant, or a formal portrait of the board of directors.

There will always be present an exciting atmosphere of light and composition, in which every element plays into the visual balance that any highly successful image must have. Even though Paul is a Chicago and Arizona -based architectural photographer, his expertise also spans the industrial and corporate markets, which have technical demands very similar to those presented when photographing architectural interiors.

Architectural photography | Exteriors | Commercial and Residential

Patience best describes the mannerism of a highly skilled architectural photographer -- and a good architectural photographer has a working understanding of architecture.

When photographing architectural exteriors, as with any successful photograph, critical lighting is extremely important. Most architectural lighting requires strong, clear directional light in order to emphasize the architectural elements, (however, sometimes photographing at dusk can be very dramatic) especially when there is a curtain wall and the interior space becomes visible from the exterior. Timing is critical for a dusk view: There is a window of approximately 10 minutes in which the intensity of the interior light is in balance with the exterior light. The bright interior in juxtaposition with the deep cobalt blue of a dusk sky can make for a stunning photograph. The direction of the light for a daylight photograph must be planned to coincide with the elevation being photographed.

In a studio, the photographer can place the light wherever it is most effective; however, in architectural photography, the photographer must work with the sun, so timing is critical. There are scenarios -- for instance, when photographing in a high-rise city environment -- when the sun may peek through the buildings and illuminate the subject for only a few minutes. Other factors such as traffic, window treatments, landscaping, parking lots, etc. all factor into the architectural photograph. These are elements that can be difficult to control, yet they must fall under the direction of the photographer. The ability to “control the uncontrollable” is a hallmark of a skilled, professional architectural photographer.

Architectural interiors | Commercial and Residential

Architectural interior photography is the most technically challenging genre of the commercial photography field.

Perfection is an inestimable quality when photographing architectural interiors, whether it be commercial interior photography, residential interior photography, architectural products, or hospitality and resort photography. Every detail is of critical importance when photographing interiors; it is not unusual to move a “prop” such as a flower, a quarter of an inch for optimum visual effect. Sometimes furniture is completely re-arranged, and if one were to view the arrangement of the furniture from any angle other than that than from which the lens “sees” it would appear to be way out of alignment, because the camera point of view is different.

Lighting is critical for interior photography. In the case of photographing corporate interiors, the color temperature of the light must be balanced, as florescent lights have a green cast; halogen a warm cast, and daylight can be very blue. The proper color balance is achieved through critical lighting and applying corrective color “gels” over the light source – which in some cases may be an entire window. When photographing offices, all clutter must be removed from desks, and everything made uniform. Every element is taken into consideration, and it is critical that nothing interferes with the visual intent and drama of the photograph.

Residential interiors – especially, interior design, kitchen, and editorial photography -- require critical lighting. Creative lighting can make an exciting atmosphere out of what otherwise would be a flat, uninteresting space. It’s not unusual to place lights outside to simulate sunlight, or use 10 to 12 strategically placed lights to light a kitchen. When illuminating architectural products, such as flooring or furniture, the photographer must use light to emphasize the product as well as to light the entire scene.

Aerial Photography

Paul also specializes in aerial photography in Chicago and Arizona. Aerial photography has its own set of challenges: Aside from the normal considerations such as lighting and composition, the photographer has to see, compose, and direct while flying at 500 to 1000 feet above the ground. Although a helicopter is desirable, frequently the photographer musts photograph from the open window of a small plane, such as the Cessna 152.

Even when a helicopter is available, aerial photography is very challenging: The aircraft door is off, and the wind, cold, and noise are constant distractions. One must also be able to communicate effectively with the pilot. Careful composition is very difficult at best while flying, because the scene is constantly and rapidly changing.

Corporate and Industrial photography

Corporate and industrial photography requires resourcefulness! Once again, creative lighting can transform a dark, cluttered environment into a dramatic stage from which to create highly effective corporate industrial photographs. Finding an effective background or the right viewing angle in a chaotic industrial environment is also a constant challenge for the industrial photographer.

Corporate and industrial photography also involves photographing “real” people as opposed to working with professional models. For instance, a good annual report photographer must be able to make the CEO and board of directors comfortable so they look pleasing and not too “stiff”. People become part of the story in the making of corporate brochures and annual reports. Therefore, it is very important that the employees are photographed in a pleasing manner to best reflect the company’s high standards.

Natural Landscape and Landscape design photography

Photographing landscapes, whether for the landscape architect, or the natural landscape, is indeed very challenging. As beautiful as landscapes are to the eye, the key to a good landscape photograph is the ability to select and isolate that part of the landscape in which the strongest visual statement can be made. Lighting is critical; the best light for landscape photography is the first and the last hour of the day when the sun is very low and the light can make every detail of the landscape “pop.” Mid-day or harsh light is not flattering in a landscape photograph, as everything gets washed out and uninteresting. Open shade can be nice lighting, too -- but the most dramatic light of all is “weather light,” the dramatic light that results from changing weather conditions and storms. Paul has been photographing the landscape since 1976, and is an important part of his photographic repertoire.

Paul Schlismann has the distinct talent of being an award-winning architectural photographer -- as well as one who can bring a diversity of talents to the shoot. His experience in corporate and industrial photography, including executive portraiture, aerial and landscape photography are additional talents. He is a perfect fit, for instance, for his hotel, resort, and hospitality clients that require the expertise of an architectural photographer, and the resourcefulness and people skills of a corporate photographer.

Exceeding client expectations!

Recent Work