Ninja skills!

Interiors and architecture photography of a unique commercial space

When you are in the groove with your work or a task, you can cover a lot of ground and get things done but interruptions and distractions can have the opposite effect (like re-reading the same sentence ten times and it still not registering!). As a location-based architecture and interiors photographer,  I can be tasked with capturing images of real working environments. Spaces devoid of humans can work in some situations, but sometimes having people in the frame helps the narrative: what the space is used for, how we interact with it, providing scale. But, the last thing I want to do is to cause disruption to my clients’ business and annoy folk trying to do their work. So, this is where the Ninja skills come in… I don’t mean back-flipping around a site clad in black, but operating efficiently, discretely, with awareness of the surroundings and sensitive to those working in it. At the core of this is pre-planning and scouting before a shoot takes place.

A while ago, I had the opportunity to shoot the unique interior of a working commercial space in the iconic Park Hill development of Sheffield. This behemoth of brutalist architecture has been brought back to life to suit modern living and working thanks to the vision of Urban Splash. With the first phase complete, there are now a range of commercial and retail units occupied below the towering residential apartments above. One of the early adopters to the office spaces has been Yoomee, digital researchers and designers focussed on helping non-profit organisations.  Founders Nicola and Andy were visionary in taking the bold step of moving their business into new premises  and have worked to create a unique work space that suits their needs. The offices span the base of the tower with dual east and west aspects and house work spaces, meeting rooms and breakout areas across two floors. The fit-out (Ovo Spaces) has celebrated the brutalist fabric of the original structure but with modern fixtures and fittings and vibrant splashes of colour injecting energy and fun. 

With a complex, occupied workspace such as Yoomee, a scouting trip to site is invaluable. It gave me the chance to understand the space, direction of light according to time of day, build a shot list and meet some of the team there. It helps me to consider my equipment choices and helps to remove any surprises on shoot day. This way, I can get in, make like a Ninja and complete the shoot. For the most part, I was able to work tethered to a laptop (our preferred approach) allowing ‘live’ tweaks to composition, framing and exposure whilst providing an instant back-up of assets. Some of the spaces required panoramic stitching of images made easier with the Canon’s tilt-shift lenses, and thanks to the enormous windows and a cloudy day (lovely soft light), little need for supplementary lighting. It was a really fun shoot of a great space, made all the more enjoyable thanks to Rich Wells who helped shunt some furniture about and kept me caffeinated.

A scouting trip to your location is a valuable exercise to help us formulate the right approach to meet your brief. If you are thinking that your work space or business deserves to be shown off in the best way to your clients and customers, drop Clear Space a message or give us a call. We would love to discuss your ideas and help you plan a photo shoot that delivers (back-flips not included).