Posts Tagged ‘Architectural Photography’

Light and Dark: A Story Told Through Pictures

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

 Pacific_Palisades_CA (1)

A Narrative in Shades of Gray

I am an architectural photographer in Los Angeles. My job is to tell stories through photos. That’s what I do. It’s a dream! I’d rather not talk about it, but instead shoot it. Then it will be infinitely clear. The narrative, the moment caught, the tone, the various shades of gray and color, all come together to create the story I want to tell. But as a photographer, I encounter the challenge of light and dark every day. You see it’s not only the lines or the architectural subject in the photo that so much defines a great picture. No, instead it’s the meticulous patience to create the perfect light and dark shadows that truly make a picture exquisite.

Palos_Verdes_EstateFor instance, it might be capturing the moment when the light hits the Spanish tiled roof creating a brilliant gold silhouette exactly where it meets the trees. Or how I light the inside of the home so that it spills out and brightens the yellow light through the picture windows just as the sun sets behind the home. For me, there is no better way to tell a story than through light and dark shades. It’s always a delicate dance though. You straddle the fine line between realism and imagination with every photo. The great 20th century architect, Louis Khan once said as reported recently in an Arch Daily article titled Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow

A plan of a building should be read like a harmony of spaces in light. Even a space intended to be dark should have just enough light from some mysterious opening to tell us how dark it really is. Each space must be defined by its structure and the character of its natural light.

The best architectural photography in my opinion, is that which reveals the beauty of the structure through realism—exposing the lines and form — while still creating an aesthetic fantasy that captures imagination. When it works, it’s pure joy.

“The Truth is a Snare…”


Light and dark – it’s what defines all that we see with the naked eye. It’s the basis of every story we tell. That includes the ones we tell through pictures. A recent article in National Geographic said it best:

By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again. After all, as Kierkegaard also wrote, ‘the truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught.’

That pretty much sums it up well – the art of creating a great photographic story. And, I’m the lucky guy who gets to bring you a new story each week by illuminating the most stunningly modern and sometimes historic architectural spaces in all of Southern California.

Have I told you lately how much I love my job? Oh right, I just did.

For more architectural photography or for business inquiries, contact photographer Paul Jonason for a consultation today.



The Power of the Visual Image

Monday, April 25th, 2016



After watching the Prince tribute on SNL this weekend, I am reminded of the power of the visual image to capture a moment. As a professional photographer, of course I know how important an image can be – it’s my career. But even us old pros need a reminder of how special the art of visual image is sometimes. The capturing of a split second in time in an image can say more than a thousand words ever could. At the end of Prince’s concerts, I had forgotten how he sometimes ends a set. He gets silent and lifts his guitar almost like it’s a God offered for worship. I had a moment where I clicked on that image in my mind, as if it were a still photo image and thought how incredible that one second capture in a still, would be if someone in fifty years, asked, “Who is Prince?”

I experience this kind of visual synchronicity all the time when I am shooting a home for instance, and the sun begins to set creating a sky that I couldn’t have painted any better. Or when a bird flies into a shot, unplanned. A little magic caught by the lens. It’s a different kind of narrative.

With that in mind, I have included what I think is a powerful image from a recent photo shoot. It’s a photo of an old Dodge truck from 1939. Take a look and see if you agree with me when I say, “There is nothing like the visual image to tell a story.”

Dodge Truck 1939

Dodge Truck 1939




Restaurant Photography In Los Angeles, Tamarind Of London

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Actually this gorgeous new restaurant “Tamarind” Of London is located in the Newport Coast Shopping Center, California. A spectacular location at the ocean right next to Newport and Laguna Beach. Being hired to photograph this new restaurant right before the official opening was perfect timing as everything was new and fresh.

The restaurant features a full menu of exotic Indian cuisine cooked in their large Tandoor ovens and served up in an elegant fine dining setting. A classy full bar sits next to the dining area and is separated by the three large red ovens which are one of the restaurants signatures.

Designed by Steven Langford Architects, the restaurant has a colorful modern industrial look to it that fits well with the elegant dining interiors. The restaurant is not large, but is well laid out to create a nice flow between the dining room and bar area.

Restaurants are always one of the most demanding Architectural subjects photographically. They normally have limited access to power outlets making lots of extra cords necessary. Coupled with the need to cover the windows with fabric to control the light, I used my full bag of lighting tricks to get the job done. To keep the light balanced with the restaurant illumination, I used several of my large tungsten soft boxes plus small spots to fill in the dark areas and control the contrast.

Next time you head to South Orange County and have a taste for some great spicy curry, check out “Tamarind of London” at the Newport Coast.

South Bay DIGS Magazine

Monday, March 7th, 2011

When publisher Warren Dow came up with the idea for a new magazine advertising the exclusive Real Estate of the South Bay of Southern California, one thing was clear, fantastic photography was going to be needed to highlight the unique properties that are shown for sale in the magazine.

South Bay DIGS, features the exclusive real estate market of Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach along with the entire Palos Verdes peninsula. Most of the properties for sale are in the $4,000.000 to $20,000,000 price range and everything in between. Bring your check book if you go house hunting!

For my style of photography, shooting the properties at the very best time of day is critical. This means sunset, night time, or sunrise to show the homes off at their very best. A normal photo shoot with my style of Architectural Photography involves setting up my huge 12′ Gitzo tripod with one tripod leg balancing on a wall and the other leg hopefully sitting on firm ground.  Special equipment like a 21 megapixel Canon Camera and 17mm tilt shift lens also help in some of the extreme compositions we find ourselves faced with.

Interesting articles about local people and businesses round out the magazine. Recent articles have included Restaurateur Chef Robert Bell and his Chez Melange and Mama Terano restaurants. I was proud to have photographed the new Mama Terano menu and structure for their new web site. Other interesting people that call the South Bay home are the Mattress King himself, Larry Miller owner of Sit ‘N Sleep who is putting the finishing touches on his new seaside home.

Digs Magazine features a new Hermosa Beach Home for $15 Mil

Hermosa Beach, Southern California

Pick up a copy next time you cruise through the South Bay area and see what is going on!

Digs Magazine Malaga Cove, CA

Million Dollar View of the South Bay

Paul Jonason Photography: Night Time Photography, Commercial Photographer, Architectural Photography.
6520 Platt Ave. #156 West Hills, CA. 91307 | 818-687-8075