Tips for How to photograph Buildings, Architecture photos Guide, Architects Advice

How to photograph architecture & buildings

23 July 2020

Many people undeservedly find architectural photography simple. There is a popular belief that it’s so easy to work with fixed objects and landscapes. But the difficulty is to take a unique photo. Most of the buildings are very similar to each other and unusual architectural structures or tourist locations have already been shot from all angles.

Cliched shots don’t surprise anyone. You need to look deeper and wider, use reflections in windows, natural frames, interesting ensembles, bright personalities, filters, and additional equipment. But also don’t avoid certain rules and techniques.

How to photograph architecture and buildings

Key tips

For many years, architectural photography has developed some rules and traditions. For example, it is customary to photograph large modern buildings made of concrete and glass on a bright sunny day and add people, cars, and movement to the frame to show activity. Old historical buildings, architectural monuments must be complemented by sunset sky and silence; fewer people and more details, showing the value and durability of the construction. Similar scenarios exist for all types of architecture.

To shoot technically correctly, you need to know a few key points. Here’s what you need to pay attention to when preparing:

  1. choosing time, day and weather;
  2. angle selection;
  3. frame composition: what to add and what to remove from the photo;
  4. camera and accessories.

Consider all points and add something from yourself, experiment with composition, light, and settings.

Another important point for a quality photo is retouching. All the images that you see in the magazines went through a photo editor. It’s mainly necessary for a simple adjustment of light and colors, but sometimes you may need to remove an unwanted object from the frame, which is more difficult. RetouchMe https://retouchme.com/  provides a full range of features for professionally architectural photo editing.

How to photograph architecture and buildings

Best time and weather for architectural photography

It’s worth considering the benefits of different times of the day. Take a photo of a skyscraper during the day with the bright sun and at night with the reflections in thousands of windows, and you will get two completely different sensations from the same building. Here are other examples of what you get when shooting at a specific time:

  • In the morning, the sunlight is soft, and there are almost no people. Shoot at 5-6 AM, weather permitting, and capture architecture with a golden hue.
  • Bright midday sun and clear skies with minimal clouds are ideal conditions for a good general building plan. It is almost impossible to find a point where all the lines are visible, and the light falls softly to detail the architecture in the picture.
  • The evening time, when the sun goes down, is great for architectural photography. It’s best to choose an angle when the sun is behind the photographer. Use flashlights, car headlights, and soft sunlight.

Different buildings need different shooting conditions to capture their best look. For example, the ancient architecture looks great when there is snow, bridges look awesome in summer and autumn, and a forest is more interesting when the leaves on the trees have already turned yellow.

How to photograph architecture and buildings

Photo angle and composition

There are dozens of options for the angles of each building. Walk around the construction from all sides, trying out various compositions. Move closer, move further, squat down, or place the camera on the ground. If there is an opportunity to take a position higher, try the view from above, so you can find an interesting angle.

If you want to show the grandeur and massiveness of the building, come closer to it or shoot from a lower angle, so it will visually increase. Shooting from the side will give perspective and volume. If you move further away, the structure will lose its grandeur and significance. It depends on the photographer what qualities of a house he wants to show.

Add a piece of land in front of the building, flowers, fences, and other interesting details to the frame. You can capture other buildings, puddles, reflections in the windows from the next house as well. Use natural frames such as trees, bushes, structures, surrounding objects. Include details and various elements in the picture: stairs, windows, ornaments, balconies.

How to photograph architecture and buildings

Camera and equipment

In the camera settings, set the minimum ISO value as you are photographing a motionless object. The rest of the parameters depend on the weather, the amount of light, and the distance to the object. Many people shoot with high depth-of-field value, which is a classic approach. Don’t be afraid to experiment to achieve your idea.

In addition to the camera, architectural photography may require additional tools and equipment. A tripod to stabilize the camera at slow shutter speeds is essential, especially when using a wide-angle and tilt-shift lenses. The remote controller can be used with it to additionally exclude hand shake. Take multiple lenses for different shooting styles.

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