Philadelphia architectural photography, Philadelphia, Photographer, Michael Albany, exterior,



In the news lately you have heard that in many ways our economy has to transform itself, it needs to morph into something new. I have also heard that each of us has to transform ourselves too. It is said that the careers of our parents and grandparents, where you could look forward to finding a position with a company and spending your entire career there, are gone. With the world as it is today each person just starting out can expect to change employers 13 times in a 40 year career. Each time they may have to transform themselves into something new.


Transformation has become the norm rather than the exception. For each new client your company has to change and adapt to the needs of that situation. As the driving force to those adaptations you have to think in ways that are challenging and different. To make change the norm, not just a constant, you have to remain pliable and innovative. You have to see opportunity at every turn and with each challenge you have to welcome new ideas so that each becomes an opportunity rather than an obstacle.


Just last week I was photographing two locations for a construction company. Each had its own challenges. None of the preparation had me expecting the challenge of a memory card going bad ¾ of the way through the shoot.
Here I was with the creative director of this company shadowing me for the first time and when we are within sight of calling it a wrap, I have to tell her that everything we had done to that point was gone. After hanging my head for a moment I looked up and told her what happened and said that I would need to reshoot the first location over again as well as all of the shots we had gotten at this location.


Of course I told her that this was a technical problem and because of that it is 100% my issue and that the reshoots would be at no charge. She opted to call it a day as would have I in her position. I then proceeded to reshoot the location where we were.


As an architectural and estate photographer, I often find myself waiting for the light. Waiting for the sun to reach the right place in the sky to compliment the building in that perfect way to show everything the architect meant to be seen. In the case of the first location of the day, we had arrived at 7am to catch the morning sun so that we could use the evening to highlight the second location. Now I had to shoot midday and make it look, not just good but great. The only way to do this was to shoot interiors during the day and squeeze time in to do both exteriors in the latter hours of the day.


Before Transformation


So it was that I had to adapt the way I had planned the shoots. I was able to get back to the first location and reshoot the interior without incident. The sky was helpful as were the trees near the entrance. This gave me the chance to shoot fast and get the shots needed and still make it back to the second location. Here was the challenge.


The second location was behind schedule to begin with. At a local university there was a rush to get the building complete prior to the students coming back to school in 3 days. The construction company pulled out all the stops and had crews everywhere doing everything. I had to get shots of a building to make the construction company and the architect proud. I had to do it around electricians, plumbers and maintenance crews putting on the finishing touches.  I had no time to wait for the light. For that matter, I had no time to wait for the grass to grow. There wasn’t any yet due to the heavy equipment being there longer than anticipated.

I was able to clear away the work trucks and vans, set up lights inside the location and grab a few quick shots. I also took shots of the lawn across the street so I could virtually “move” it to the new building.  I think the image was transformed from a snapshot to a true image showing the architects vision and the construction company’s ability.

After transformation

Because the companies, the university and I were able to be flexible, adapt and think around problems the students have a beautiful new art center to grow their education. A place where they can transform their creative ideas into reality.


Until next time…

2 replies
  1. Frederick W. Chapman
    Frederick W. Chapman says:

    Hello Michael!

    I enjoyed reading this article and couldn’t agree with you more about the need for adaptability and transformation. I’ve been doing exactly that myself — transforming from a career in the academic world to a new career as an independent consultant.. Thank you for your timely words.

    Way to make the grass grow, bro!

    Fred in Bethlehem

  2. Dawn
    Dawn says:


    I enjoyed reading this article. I found it very informative and thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing your insights.


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