Cartio is a New York based architectural photography and visual media atelier that serves an international market in design, commercial venues and landmark buildings. Our 20 years of experience in architecture and photography allows us to intuitively understand the designer’s vision and perfectly illustrate the intended design narrative.

Our architectural photography, video and visualizations tell the story of the design like the masters of the Renaissance following compositional rules rooted in fine art and all levels of life. Our aerial and twilight photography takes this to unimaginable heights harmonizing the architecture within the beauty of its surroundings. 

We guarantee everything we do and are only satisfied when our work fills our clients with awe.


With our expertise in both architecture and photography, Cartio intuitively absorbs the essence of the design and the intended atmosphere. We grasp the major and minor functions of the interior and exterior spaces, the inherent beauty within the architectural language, the site arrangement within the greater setting, and the overall spirit of the place.

Cartio captures the personality of the interior by drawing attention to subtle design qualities and details. We understand how natural light gently illuminates the interior volumes throughout the day; how the integrity of the craftsmanship and material quality are expressed; and how the various colors, tones, shapes and textures harmonize the overall design and create a sense of place.

Our photography will act like a portal, transporting the viewer into the mind’s eye of the architect and designer and the design’s living narrative

Master Renaissance painters employed rules of fine art and optical theory to lure viewers into a scene to tell a story. Using these same classical principles, Cartio carefully composes settings that invite viewers to discover a beautiful and harmonious design narrative. 

We frame images with picturesque landscape compositions and use aerial photography to create depth and dimension in exterior settings. We express the experience and mood of the place with a specialized twilight photography technique that evokes delight and imagination.

Cartio’s study and understanding of classic architecture further deepens our ability to capture the essence of the design at the standard of history’s greatest buildings and places.


Like the architect and designer, we too are perfectionists. That’s why we guarantee our work.

Cartio is committed to our clients and conveying the quality of beautiful buildings, spaces and places. 

Although seldomly requested, Cartio will reshoot with you until you are fully satisfied with our work.

We want your experience with us to be easy and uplifting.



Cartio is short for “collocatio,” a Latin word describing the basis of beauty in architecture. It was employed at the forefront of the Italian Renaissance by pioneering architect and influencer Leon Batista Alberti. He describes the arrangement of a building according to the Renaissance ideal of natural order, where man, city and the greater cosmos achieve unity together. 

Classic architecture benefits mankind in many ways. Emotionally, ordered design grounds us, creating a stable society. Uplifting design and beauty connect us with an eternal source within and around us, rejuvenating our body, mind, and spirit. Properly placing ourselves within the larger picture of life right sizes our perspectives, melts away our worries, and fills us with a deeper sense of happiness and purpose. 

Cartio echoes the golden, eternal design principles of classic architecture so that we can help harmonize life for our clients and society as a whole.


James Howard Smith began learning the fundamentals of fine art and photography in the 90s and his career direction soon took shape when he earned a scholarship to the National Gallery of Australia. His understanding of art, design and architecture matured while undertaking a Bachelor of Design Studies and a Masters of Architecture at The University of Queensland, one of Australia’s prominent design schools. At the turn of the millennium, a deep appreciation for classically inspired architecture arose during his travels through Europe. James has since specialized in this field.

James Howard Smith - Designer & Photographer

Now settled in the Hudson Valley, James both designs and photographs architecture. He has taught classical architecture and fine art photography at local institutions and contributes to various publications. James frequently takes trips to Europe and Asia to continue research on the significance of classically inspired architecture and urban spaces. His insights and photography from travel always inspire his design work and provide invaluable resources for ongoing educational programs, books and exhibitions.

In his leisure time, James seeks nourishment in the rich landscapes of upstate New York, where he enjoys creating various forms of arts and crafts, including woodworking, poetry and playing music, with friends.

Among Our Clients

Real Estate Photography & Videography