The Smallest Rooms in the House

Discovery Channel does Shark Week.. Mark Teskey Architecture is proud to feature:

BATHROOM WEEK!

Palatial Water Closet

Bathrooms are easily the toughest room in the house to feature.  When you’ve got a palatial marble palace like the bathroom shown above, it’s fairly easy.  Most homes don’t have water closets that are quite this large or well-appointed.  A more typical example is something like this:

Parkview Bathroom

Large or small, fancy or plain..  what are some of the challenges that I face on a daily basis when photographing a bathroom?

1) Size.  More often than not, bathrooms are small, narrow rooms.  The door is often at the narrow end of the room opposite the fixtures, creating one and only one useful and attractive view of the room.  To portray the beauty of the bathroom, I use my widest lenses and I photograph vertically if it’s a long, narrow bathroom.  This usually allows a view that shows the fixtures, the tile, and the lighting all in the same image.  For most people, that captures the ‘essence’ of the room.

Minneapolis Guest Bathroom

2) White Balance.  My Canon (and pretty much every camera on the market) gets it wrong every time.  Since most bathrooms don’t have a lot of natural light, the camera sees all the white tile and incandescent light and makes everything very yellow.  Fortunately, it’s easy to fix by manually setting the white point at 2800K in post-processing.  The vertical example shown above needed a significant white balance correction to get the colors right.

3) Mirrors.  I don’t ever want to appear in one of my architectural photos.  I get a really good laugh whenever I look at a photo on MLS and see the photographer or his gear in the picture.  Normally this isn’t a big problem in most rooms – but it gets nasty in bathrooms where the mirror is located opposite the door.  Sometimes I can do a crazy billiards shot to get the picture – but it’s usually impossible.  In that case, there’s no recourse other than using Photoshop to edit myself out.  Here’s a classic example of a potential reflection nightmare:

Asian-influenced Edina Bathroom

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to feature a different room of the house each week.  I’ll be taking a look at some of the tips and issues involved with photographing each room to get the best possible images.

Go Somewhere Special…

Mark Teskey

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