How to #2: Edit architectural photography images to produce a quality finish

Editing architectural photography images

For a detailed overview of architectural photography, please start at our Architectural Photography page

What is editing?

When we try solve problems like how to edit architectural photography images, we first need to understand the meaning of edit, and how it used in photography. While the term edit is often used to describe the processing of images in the digital darkroom, it more accurately refers to the process of selecting final images from a group, that will make it into our final output, whether that be online, delivered to a client, photobook etc. 

In the image on the right, small prints have been laid out on the floor to facilitate the editing process for a project. Imgaes at the top of the frame are those that have been rejected for one reason or another. They may well be good images, but may not add value to the final edited sequence. The issue of exactly what editing is is complicated further by the fact that the software applications we use to finish an image, is usually known and marketed as image editing software.

Image: Photographs laid out for editing - to illustrate the concept in "How to edit architectural photography images" article
Images laid out for editing

Manipulating images using software

This is what most people refer to as image editing: opening the image in a software application and manipulating it until the desired outcome is reached. Professional photographers may refer to this process as finishing. Some refer to it as post-production or post-processing. To others, the terms post-processing and post production refer to everything that is done to an image after capture, including archiving, which makes sense when you think about it. For our purposes here however, and for simplicity, I will continue to use the term edit to refer to the image finishing process. 

Architectural images usually require specific adjustments, which we will look  at next, but first we need to open our image in our software application of choice. I will be using Capture One Pro for this article, but you will find similar tools available in most applications. To find out more about the software applications that are available, read our “Image editing software applications” article.

How to edit architectural photography images using Capture One Pro

Why am I using Capture One Pro and not Photoshop or Lightroom? It’s simply a matter of personal preference. I switched form Adobe’s range of products a long time ago, when the company introduced its software subscription model. 

In the following video, I will introduce the most common editing operations that architectural photography often relies on. It’s great to get everything right in camera, but there is usually some improvement to be made on the computer. Out of the camera, we get our RAW images, the computer is where we maipulate and finish them to produce our final ouptut. Typical operations include white balance adjustment, levelling of the horizon if needed (even though we levelled the camera before we took the shot!), perspective correction, clarity, noise and sharpness tweaking. So let’s get started with “How to edit architectural photography images”.

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