You work hard to build something to exacting standards that is solid and long-lasting.

So do I:

I’m known for producing high quality and creative job site photographs.  My approach is much more than just taking pictures with a smart device. As great as smart devices are they cannot compete with the challenging light, color and contrast issues inherent on a job site. I build photographs with a professional approach. To exacting standards. Solid. Long-lasting.

This Photograph is Very Good

I want clients to know the why behind my work. Why the time of day matters, why the lens matters, why the file format matters and why the editing process matters. The techniques I’ve refined over the years contribute to successfully building project photographs.

Here’s why:

Composition. I’ll admit it, I got lucky. This photograph is a tableau. The angle of the tractor, the turn of the head, the hand on the wheel, the positions of the workers and what they’re doing are about as good as it gets. Progress photography is essentially documentation, nothing is set up beforehand. But it’s my business and joy to see these scenarios, to work them properly and to bring them to you.

Light. Morning and afternoon, (when the sun is closest to the horizon) wonderful things happen within the photographic process. Especially if there’s a hint of fog or clouds. Lighting describes volume, form, color, shape and texture. Reflected light off the buildings is adding to the emotional impact. I look for these situations.

Shadows anchor subjects to the scene and give depth to the photograph. Notice the shadows on the berm to the right? Awesome!

POV. I opted for a low point-of-view with the subject coming towards me. This dynamic works especially well as the light is coming from the left.

Field of view. Progress photography is about taking in as much as possible. Wide angle lenses work best. I especially like the way wide angle lenses exaggerate relative scale. In this photograph, the wide perspective gives the tractor a toy-like quality. Double awesome! However there are times when a tighter shot is necessary and zooming in for a closer look is easy with a professional grade zoom. I use a 24-105.

Color. The two complimentary colors in this scene are blue and yellow. Or cool playing off warm. I’m always on the lookout for color relationships.

Tones. The importance of balancing light and dark tones cannot be overstated. In the editing phase I sometimes make myself crazy trying to ensure that the appropriate light and dark tonal relationships exist for each delivered image.

Contrast adds or subtracts the amount of the deepest black and lightest white tones. It also emphasizes the location of these tones. This step is tricky and takes a lot of practice to get right. Luckily I’m here for you!

That’s it. That’s why this image is super.

For grins and giggles, here’s the original camera RAW camera file. The bones are present, but it takes a keen eye and a steady hand to make magic!

Thanks for reading.


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Michael Stern

My work depicts, appreciates and honors the people who build. Their specialized equipment and stunning challenges are marvels I behold and get paid to interpret. Hope you enjoy this site.
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