Shooting city views for an architect’s renderings

Shooting city views for an architect’s renderings

Last year, around the same time, I was hired by Kohn Pedersen Fox, a large architecture firm from New York. They wanted photos of a specific intersection in Toronto, so they could insert the rendering of a building they were designing for a Toronto developer.

At the time, I couldn’t talk about it as they wouldn’t give me the renderings until the project was made public. This week, the images surfaced online after the developer made an application to the city, so I can finally write about it! It’s exciting as the proposal is for the tallest building in Canada(besides the CN Tower). We will see if that height is accepted, but it’s cool nonetheless.

It was an interesting process, as they wanted very specific angles. It was difficult to know how much space to leave for the building in the close shots, as I had no idea what the building looked like. I used a 17mm tilt-shift lens to have really wide shots, tilting up as much as possible. As you can see in that first shot below, we’re so close to the building that they had to add space at the top of the image to fit the entire building. Needless to say, it’ll be impossible to shoot the entire building from so close once it’s built!

This second rendering is even more interesting to me. As you can see, I shot it during the day and they turned it into a dusk shot. Furthermore, they removed one of the buildings in the foreground so the podium of the tower could be seen. Quite a departure from the original shot!

The last published shot is probably my favorite. They wanted a skyline view and I shot from the One Eighty, a restaurant at the top of the Manulife Centre. It was hard to arrange as the deadline was short, but I had a beautiful sunset. It’s a great vantage point on the skyline!

Interestingly, they decided to remove the clouds (that I love 😉 )  and have a very simple sky. Beyond that, they simply inserted their building in the skyline and added some contrast.

It was a very interesting experience and I’m happy to finally see the results. I’ve contributed to renderings before, but it’s the first time I was hired specifically to shoot for a project like this.

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