Michael Arden

Adjunct Professor


A.A., Commercial Photography, Santa Monica City College; B.S., University of California, Davis; M.A., University of Santa Monica

A California native, Michael Arden is a teacher, communicator, world traveler and master photographer. His work has been published in books and magazines worldwide, and is in great demand throughout California. A gifted lecturer and teacher, he has been a professor of photography at USC for more than ten years. Michael Arden is the owner of Arden Photography, a commercial architectural/interior photography business established in 1984. He photographs for many of the top architectural design and development firms. Arden’s work has been published in numerous books, including “Celebrity Bedrooms” and “Beach Cottages” and magazines including Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Builder, Interior Design, California Homes, Global Architecture, Los Angeles Magazine and The Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has won many awards associated with the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, the Building Industry Association, and worked for many local AIA awards submittals. He is a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, Professional Photographers of America, and The Building Industry Association.

Currently Teaching
  • 421
    Digital Architectural Photography
    Digital Architectural Photography
    All architecture students can prosper by learning to see light and how light alters the visual impact of architectural forms. Just as drawing allows students to refine their vision and perspective teaches how we see, the camera allows for yet another discipline to organically create with architecture and light. This course will teach students to create successful images of exterior architecture, interior architectural design, as well as architectural models. The student will become a highly competent creative digital photographic image creator with accurate exposure, proper color correction, and excellent printing output. They will successfully use specific digital tools for the architectural image (free-transform/HDR) to correct distortion and capture mixed lighting with multiple exposures. Students will be able to utilize light, structures and Adobe Lightroom in new ways. Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course each student will possess the following skills: Comprehensive understanding of architectural lighting. Heightened sensitivity to light and how it strengthens architectural design Ability to use High Dynamic Range (HDR): multiple exposures to create dramatic architecture/interior images without additional professional lighting. Control of Parallax (Free Transform Procedure) to correct distortion and perspective so buildings do not look like they are leaning to one side or falling back. Intermediate ability to photograph architectural models and small products, including a studio set up with studio lighting and possibly strobe lighting. Creation of exceptional images with light and architecture, including dusk imagery. Advanced amateur use of most Single Lens Reflex (SLR) digital camera functions, including: shooting raw, processing in Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS6, batch processing, organization, color temperature, exposure/histograms, color management (curves/levels). Advanced use and knowledge of Adobe Lightroom 5. Knowledge of how to do a monitor calibration. Advanced eleven color profiled printing.
  • 422
    Architectural Photography- Film and Digital
    Architectural Photography- Film and Digital
    Explore another facet of photography through both film and digital media. Whether as a tourist or as a professional, the close observation and documentation of the built environment is a valuable skill. Learn to “see” light and how light alters the visual impact of architectural forms. Become a master of high-resolution images utilizing 35mm film cameras, 35mm Digital SLR cameras and 4x5 large format Sinar architectural film cameras with perspective/parallax control. Master Adobe Lightroom 5 including flawless workflow in the “Library” module and creative image enhancement in the “Develop” module. Photo manipulation using other current software will also be included.
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