Architectural Photographer Nashville - Marriott
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Exploring Nashville as an Architecture Photographer

As an architecture photographer, I am constantly paying attention to the built environment – whether it is where I live or in the cities that I visit. This is my first time actually moving to a completely different city, and I find myself not only looking at and paying attention to it but studying it in detail.

In January, my family and I moved to Nashville from Minnesota. Like most Yankees, the climate was a huge factor but the main reason is to be closer to family and to be more centrally located to make it easier to travel to architecture photo shoots throughout the country. The no-state income tax thing certainly helps! I briefly hinted at this potential move in my last blog post – which also happened to include my first commercial architecture photograph in Middle Tennessee!

As I am becoming more familiar with my new city, I want to get to know the architecture. Last week I set up my office space in the Green Hills neighborhood and have been exploring downtown Nashville for hours every single day. For the record, at 5pm in January – the light here is absolutely beautiful when not overcast!

As I am driving around, I am taking photos of different buildings that stand out to me so I thought that I would start a series on this blog to feature some of the beautiful architecture that Nashville has to offer from an architecture photographer’s perspective. What I will be doing is sharing some of the scouting photos that I took on my iPhone and then sharing the final images. Be forewarned, some of the photos you are going to see are probably pretty cliche for those of you in the Nashville architecture community, but being my first time seeing any of these, I hope to bring a newfound appreciation for some of the amazing structures that grace the city.

My first photos in this series are of the J.W. Marriott building in downtown designed by Arquitectonica. I scouted this location over the course of three days trying to determine when the light was best as well as the different compositions that were available.

This first angle was taken from the roundabout behind Music City Center (photos coming soon on a future post!). There are a number of problems with this composition, namely all of the foreground distractions – although it could be fun to show the building in relation to the roundabout sculpture. I may revisit and recompose as it shows a clear view of the more prominent and obvious architectural elements. I would also like to see the ground level.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

This second shot was taken from the parking lot of the Frist Art Museum (photos coming soon!) Again with the foreground distractions. This won’t work unless I can get my camera higher with a drone.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

This final scouting photo was taken from the alley behind Customs House Nashville. This vantage point works, and I plan to use it, but from a different view.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

I took more scouting photos of this building but ultimately decided on two compositions that I haven’t seen in any other photos of this building. This first one was taken from the parking lot across the tracks from The Union Station Nashville Yards.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

And, as mentioned previously, this one was taken from the alley behind Customs House Nashville. The foreground elements were incredibly distracting so I decided to focus on the top half of the building. I especially love the gradient of light reflecting across the building.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

And, finally, I have seen angles similar to this one of this building, but I like it.

JW Marriott in Downtown Nashville - Commercial Architecture Photographer

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get around to getting a ground view of the rest of the building, but each time I visited there were too many cars in the unload zone and, for a personal project, I didn’t take the time to setup properly for the shot that I wanted. Maybe I will revisit someday in the future. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this first post of my series and were able to walk away with a new appreciation for the architecture in downtown Nashville. While all of these shoots are likely going to be just a personal project, I hope that I was also able to offer a glimpse through the eyes of a commercial architecture photographer.

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