Planning the perfect photomontage

10 tips to get the best out of an architectural photomontage

  • Will the photomontage be used for a planning application or marketing brochure?

    Photomontages for planning images should help the proposed building blend in to its context. Photomontages for marketing often need to present the property stand out and feel optimistic.

  • Assess the context

    Scruffy context, including vehicles and pedestrians, can be tidied up in Photoshop.

  • Have you considered an elevated viewpoint?

    Photographing a site from a telescopic mast, drone or aircraft can bring an extra dimension to photomontages. Mast based is good low budget option for viewpoints up to 20m. You then have drones for viewpoints up to 120m, but you should allow 1-2 weeks for CAA approval. Finally, helicopters or light aircraft are available for viewpoints over 150m.

  • Are the proposed materials inspired by the local architecture?

    Let us know the details so we can take a photographic record to re-create these materials in our 3D model.

  • Is the building going to have a hoarding or scaffolding erected during the works?

    For projects where only minimal external work is planned the site should be professionally photographed before a hoarding or scaffolding is erected. This step should prevent the need to recreate the exterior in a 3D model and keep budgets down.

  • Is any site survey data available?

    Topographical or elevational survey data helps us to recreate the required cameras in our 3D model. Not essential, but it will increase the accuracy of the final photomontage.

  • Does your timetable take the weather forecast into account?

    If your design isn't quite ready for us to start modelling but the weather is currently good, it may be prudent to capture the required views before the weather or even season changes.

  • Is the site north facing?

    If the only option is to shoot into the sun it may better to go for a sunrise, dusk or overcast approach.

  • Are there any trees in the preferred viewpoints?

    Leafless trees can make a photomontage feel bleak and masking out fine branches & twigs may increase costs. To keep costs down and enhance the photomontage we prefer to cover the bare branches with detailed CG leaves.

  • Would you like the photomontage populated?

    People do provide a sense of scale and can enhance the aspirational qualities of your proposal. When adding additional people to an image, it is important that they are curated carefully to fit the target market and avoid any unwanted preconceptions.

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