Architectural Photography is one of the popular genres of photography which is aesthetically pleasing. Architectural photography is something just about every photographer engages in at some point or other, if only casually. Classical or contemporary, architectural photography can be as challenging as it is rewarding. That is why I decided to write this article to share with you “13 Architectural Photography Tips To Take It To The Next Level”
These tips will help you easily make quick decisions and take your architectural photography to the next level. You will be easily able to plan and execute your architectural photoshoot and get your desired results. This article is especially meant for a beginner photographer to get started with architectural photography. So, make sure you read this article till the end but before we get started with our main topic of this article, let’s first take a look at short description of “what architectural photography is?”.
What Is Architectural Photography?
Architectural photography is a genre of photography which is solely dedicated to capturing photographs of buildings and similar architectural structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate in terms of representations of their subjects. It can include shooting building exteriors and interiors, as well as bridges, other structures, and cityscapes.
Now that you have a pretty good idea about what architectural photography is, let’s get back to our main topic of this article:
13 Tips For Architectural Photography
Here is a quick look at architectural photography tips:
- Shoot At Different Times And Weathers
- Use A Wide Angle Lens
- Don’t Be Afraid To Include People
- Research The Location Beforehand
- Prioritize Good Lighting Conditions
- Always Look For A Unique Angle
- Capture Each And Every Details
- Invest In A Tripod
- Revisit The Location Multiple Times
- Learn Post-processing
- Consider Using Lens Filters
- Use Reflections For Your Advantage
- Always Be On A Look Out For Symmetry
Now, I am going to explain what each one of these tips means and how will it affect your architectural photography. So, let’s get started!
1. Shoot At Different Times And Weathers
Photographers often tend to seek the most dramatic lighting to shoot architectural photographs, such as golden hours and blue hours when shadows are long and colors are bright. Although this often results in very atmospheric images, it only really encapsulates the building(s) or structure(s) atmosphere at one specific point in time. Shooting a series of images during different times of the day, or even in various weather conditions, can help to paint a fuller story of the building(s) or structure(s) relationship with its environment.
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Also, there are certain architectural structures that look good at night time and some that looks good during the day time. That is why it is really important to shoot at different times and weathers especially if the location is new or unknown to you to find out the perfect time to get your desired results.
2. Use A Wide Angle Lens
If you use a telephoto or macro lens, you will find it hard to place the entire building or architectural structure you are trying to photograph into a single frame. That is why you should invest in a good quality wide angle lens which will allow you to fit the entire building or architectural structure to fit it in a single frame.
Remember that sometimes even a wide angle lens may not be able to encompass the whole scene, which is where the helpful panoramic format can come in handy. Many compacts now offer a specific Scene mode for stitching together several shots in camera, but the same effect can be achieved in post-processing with dedicated panoramic softwares.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Include People
There are a lot of architectural photographer who are afraid to include people in there architectural photography. They think that it might somehow contaminate there photographs of buildings and architectural structures. The truth is that, buildings and architectural structures are build for people and by people, so it doesn’t make sense to think that including people will somehow affect your architectural photographs.
By including people in the frame, it will help you add context and you will be able to tell a story from your architectural photography. In fact, by including people in your architectural photographs, your viewers will be able to connect with your photograph. They will be able to imagine being at that place you photographed, it will be easy for your viewers to place them in that loctaion in there imagination.
So, the bottom line is don’t be afraid to include people in your architectural photograph as it will help you add context, tell a story and your viewers will be able to connect with your photographs.
4. Research The Location Beforehand
Doing research, reading and learning a lot about the location you want to photograph for your architectural photography is a very strong toolkit for you to focus your photography on a relevant story or idea that captures the essence of the building or architectural structure.
By already knowing a lot about the location you want to photograph will ultimately help you in deciding your shot list and you will be able to capture the important parts of the building or architectural structure to highlight it and you will also be able to tell a story by adding context to your architectural photographs.
5. Prioritize Good Lighting Conditions
Regardless of how well known the building or architectural structure is or what weather or time you are capturing it, it is very important for you to prioritize good lighting conditions. Not just architectural photography but photography in general, if your photographs is not perfectly lit, it is just not a good photograph, it is as simple as that.
So, before you start shooting any buildings or architectural structures always make sure you scout the location or find the angles which helps you to properly lit your photos. You should always make sure that your photographs are not underexposed or overexposed, this is because a good lighting will help you add depth, make your photos appear three dimensional amongst many more important things in photography such as contrast, shadows, textures and reflections.
6. Always Look For A Unique Angle
Whenever you are photographing an architectural structure or a building, you should always look for a unique angle. Especially if they are popular buildings and architectural structures because of there popularity they have been photographed many several times and you want your photographs to stand out amongst those crowd.
You should always do this because playing with perspective is not only an entertaining thing to do, it can also be very rewarding. Also, taking your time to find different and unique angles for your photographs will help you to find some overlooked details of the buildings and architectural structures for your photograph which will also help you to stand out amongst the crowd and make your photograph unique.
7. Capture Each And Every Details
Whenever you are doing architectural photography, it is very important to capture each and every details of the buildings or architectural structure you are trying to photograph. You can do this by experimenting with different angles, researching the location beforehand (tip #1) so that you know the important parts of the buildings or architectural structure you are trying to photograph, capture the same locations at different times and weathers this because the same building or architectural structure might look aesthetically pleasing at different times.
For instance, a building will look different in the day time and it will look different in night time with all the lights on. So make sure you do everything you can in order to capture each and every details for your architectural photographs.
8. Invest In A Tripod
If you only had one choice for what accessories you want to use, I would highly recommend choosing a tripod. Investing in a tripod will help you in many ways especially if you are a beginner photographer. As soon as you start using a tripod you will be able to see a drastic change in your photographs. Tripods will also help you avoid camera shake which will also help you increase the quality of your overall image for your architectural photographs.
9. Revisit The Location Multiple Times
Don’t settle for a single visit for your architectural photographs, always make sure you revisit the location multiple times at different seasons and different times of the day. This will help you show your viewers through your photograph that, how does the building or architectural structure you photograph looks at different weather conditions and different times of day as well as it will help you show that, how does it looks when the location is packed with people and how does it looks when it’s empty.
10. Learn Post-processing
If you want a high quality professional looking architectural photographs, you need to learn and atleast do some degree of post-processing. In fact, the more skills you have in post-processing, the more control you have on the final output of your image. You don’t have to be the best but you should atleast learn the basics of post-processing because a single tweak in post-processing can do wonders for your photographs.
The most important thing in post-processing for you to learn especially if you are a beginner photographer is Color Theory.
11. Consider Using Lens Filters
It is not always important but sometimes using lens filters will help you gain more control over the exposure settings. Consider using ND Filters when you are shooting on a very bright sunny days, consider using Circualr Polarizer Filters (CPL Filters) when you want to avoid unnecessary reflections or you are shooting with a blue sky in the background.
If you ever consider using lens filters, always make sure you invest in a good quality lens filters because if you use a bad quality lens filters, it would introduce unnecessary ghosting and flares. Even sometimes good quality lens filters might introduce some sort of unnecessary ghosting and flares but it is not as terrible as a bad quality lens filters. It’s rare but it happens even with a good quality lens filters.
12. Use Reflections For Your Advantage
Reflections can be bad for your photos but if used properly you can use it to your advantage as it will help you get more creative with your photography. You will be able to use reflections for artistic purpose for your photography. If you use reflections well for your photographs, they can add a level of depth, brightness, and interest to your image that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
On the downside, it’s sometimes easy to get yourself caught in one unawares, especially in interior shots of a building. So, unless you’re wanting to be found lurking in the picture, make sure you know where all the windows and mirrors in a room are and what they’re reflecting.
13. Always Be On A Look Out For Symmetry
Symmetry is a type of composition in photography which is aesthetically pleasing for the viewers and helps compliment the subject of your image as well as draw attention to your subject. Whenever you are on a photoshoot for your architectural photography, always be on a look out for symmetry. Check out the leading lines, or triangles or circles which will help you take your architectural photography to the next level.
In fact, buildings and architectural structures are build based on symmetry and geometrical structures, so it seams natural for you to find out any kind of symmetry whenever you are doing an architectural photography.
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