Photoshoot on rooftop is a wonderful idea. Most of us choose studio, park, or other beautiful places for photography. This is uncommon, but shooting on the rooftop could be an amazing experience. This is perfect for people who like to experiment with different shooting environments.
If you consider some risk factors involved with this uncommon location, then you may find my tips very helpful to create some unique. As a pro photographer, I researched with various risky locations like railway track, expressway, and rooftop and shot some unique portfolios of my clients. I think rooftop is an amazing place to make portfolio, as it provides the utmost privacy.You may use this place differently. Things look awesome from above. This place is so nice to shoot panoramic view of the city and landscape. This is something like outdoor shooting where you have to depend upon the sun for light. Rooftop can be used for night-sky photography. You have to consider rain, fog, snow, wind, cloudy weather, and even darkness while photographing on rooftop. Ironically, you can turn all these apparently negative points to positive with my simple tips.
For most of the time, you have to depend upon natural source of light, but you can use a flash light as a fill-in light. You may ask, what is a fill-in light? Fill-in light is a light that is used to soften shadows. When an image is taken under bright sun,some shadows are generated around the object.Fill in flash fills those dark areas around the subject by softening the shadow. This is especially suitable for shooting models under bright sun. A tripod is often useful to shoot night sky from rooftop.
If you are going to make portfolio, you can take some snaps of your client on rooftop. Choosing a sunny day, you can start your assignment. You can choose any corner, and ask your model to place her both hands on the railing and look downward. If you live in a city and your building is surrounded by skyscrapers, you will get a beautiful panorama from this place. I would recommend you to only focus on the model. Everything behind her will be faded. To do this, you have to focus on her from at least ten feet away. You can make this shot more beautiful if you place your camera on the railing where your model placed her hands. The closest part of the railing to your camera will look fade and gradually the railing will look sharper as it reaches the model, because you only focused on the model. The main trick in this photo is aperture. Set the aperture to f/2.8. Adjust you shutter speed to 1/500s on a sunny day. Do not use any flash if you want a play between light and shadow in your model.
Back Light Shoot
From sunrise to sunset, rooftop gets enough light exposure from different angles. This place is great to shoot model with back light.
But avoid direct back light.Choose a place like turret.Sunlight should be reflected from turret’s wall to your model’s back. Sitting position is best suited for this shot. Ask your model to sit with style. Because of back light, you have to use low intensity flash in this case to get the detail of model’s face. Do not set your flash to release high intensity flash. If you do so, you will miss the charming effect of back light.
Party on rooftop is a great idea. This breaks the monotony of having dinner at dining room. This becomes a trend to have dinner at unconventional place. If you have such party, don’t forget to take some snaps in back light if you like to play with light and shadow.
In urban areas, you can find beautiful architectures. From the ground, you may not realize how they look like from above. If your house is located in such area, take some shot of other rooftops around your building. Especially roof tiles look awesome from above.
Who doesn’t like to fly?Virtually you can have a shot of your feet hanging from rooftop. The only condition is the height of your building should be comparatively higher than other buildings that can be seen from the place. Considering the risk involved in this shoot, sit on the edge of rooftop stretching the legs towards outside. Hold your camera and focus on your shoes. But if you don’t know the proper exposure for it, you may find clear and crispy image of your shoes in the foreground of blur and fade city panorama. So, how to set the camera so that you will get a clear view of city panorama along with your hanging legs from the rooftop? To do this, you have to use a wide lens or if you don’t have any wide lens turn your zoom lens ring to 18mm wide view. Set your aperture to f/16 with 1/80 shutter speed. Remember the day should be clear and sunny.
If you have fear psychosis of high altitude or giddiness, ask your friend to assist you or you can avoid this particular photoshoot idea.
You can get some adventurous shots from the top of a tall under construction building, if you can manage to have permission. Construction labor sometimes involve with high risk job, like skyscraper painting and plumbing. You can take some unique shots from the top, to capture their activity. The main aspect of this photo is to show the high altitude workmanship.So you have to highlight a particular labor.Below him, the basement of the building should be shown. Take this photo using f/8 aperture to get semi-clear view of the basement.
I have seen a lot of people playing badminton and even cricket and also kids that are running on the rooftop. So, take some sportive activity on rooftop. To capture any sportive activity, you have to use high shutter speed like 1/500 or 1/1000s to fix the moving subject. The day must be sunny.
A View from Above
This idea is suitable for tourists and travelers. Taking snaps from the rooftop of a hotel is a pleasure. Personally, I take these kinds of snaps to show market place, people’s activities of the street, and whatever around my hotel. This photo can serve as a documentation of culture of the place. Wide lens is perfect to get a panoramic view from above.
Portfolio Shoot on Rooftop
Shooting portfolio sometimes requires privacy. Rooftop is a perfect place to shoot portfolio.This place usually gets enough natural lights. If there is staircase railing, ask the model to lean on that facing sidewise while the hands will be resting on the railing. The model can bend one leg. I recommend you to only focus on the model using f/2.8 so that everything behind seem blur.
Close-up of Rooftop Tiles
If you are on some rooftop that has ceramic tiles, you can have some close up shots of the tiles to show repetitive effect. Shoot with f/5.6 and focus on the nearest tile row from close distance. This will create a rhythmic effect. The front row will be sharp and gradually will be faded with distance.
Rooftop is the best place for low light and night photography which may be difficult for new photographers. It requires a lot of experience. But if you follow my instruction, you may achieve an amazing result.
In my view, this is probably the best and toughest rooftop photoshoot idea. In this section, I will tell you how to shoot celestial objects like moon and stars from rooftop. The most important thing is you must choose a clear dust- or fog-free night. You need a tripod and a remote shutter release. You may have taken thousands of images under day light and artificial light.The idea of snapping at night is completely different. Telephoto lens is a must. 300mm to 500mm is recommended. All we know that the moon continuously change its position. Hence, one to two second exposure is enough. In night photography, you must use high film speed like ISO 800. But over film speed may lead to grainy low-quality image. So screw your camera on tripod and then focus the moon. Set the lowest aperture available in your lens. This may be f/1.4 or f/1.8. Now set the shutter speed to one second. Celestial photo should be taken in dusk, not during the night. I hope you will get an amazing shot of the moon. Always use remote shutter release. Do not press on shutter release button manually to take the picture. If camera shakesa little bit, the image will go blurry.