Commercial Architectural Dusk Photography: Mile High United Way Headquarters

Challenging assignments like this one help you grow as a professional photographer.

A commercial building contractor client of mine wanted a beautiful twilight architectural exterior image of a recently completed project for their company's website and marketing. The project was Denver's brand new Mile High United Way building and I was excited to do the project!

Pre-production began upon arrival to the site to scout the location, I immediately realized this was not going to be your run-of-the-mill assignment. This awesome new building spanned the face of an entire city block on a very busy city street, and being surrounded by both buildings and visual obstacles, I knew this was going to be a tough shoot. After documenting the various possible angles with scouting photography, I now had to figure out how I was going to create a stunning image from all this visual chaos.

After testing a few angle options to determine the best visual story, I settled on the most desirable view showing the whole structure - but that was diagonally across a busy intersection...


Photo production date was set and arrangements were made for the building's interior lighting to be illuminated after hours. Arriving a couple of hours before sunset, I set up the camera with live-capture image proofing in just the right location surrounded by safety cones and was ready. Then patience and careful shutter timing became paramount to getting shots clear of traffic and pedestrians as the sun set and the magic of the fading ambient light played out. After capturing & recording all the phases of light during the twilight transition, I had enough pixel data to craft a stunning architectural dusk image in post-production. 

Hand-crafted digital image artistry of a architectural dusk photography begins by processing many selected frames for correct color, exposure and proper architectural lines. Then gradually masking & layering the best element of each frame into a vivid composite image produces a brilliant voluminous lighting effect and really illustrates that special look of magical twilight.

After the composite image was constructed, the skilled retouch begins. Requiring meticulous detail work at the pixel level, I was able to remove both traffic light signals, street lights, and pedestrians. The final touch was to add back some automobile light trails to the final image to provide a sense of the urban environment where the subject building is located. Below is the final image delivered to a happy client!

Mile High United Way Headquarters, Denver.  Photography by Mark Quentin/

Mile High United Way Headquarters, Denver.  Photography by Mark Quentin/

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Find more information about professional photography solutions for architecture and interior design here. Mark Quentin specializes in architectural assignments in the Boulder/Denver Colorado area. See more here!

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