You are on page 1of 75


Shoot in a variety of weather conditions and times of day

People often tend to seek the most dramatic lighting to shoot architectural wonders, such as sunset hours when shadows
are long and colors bright. Although this often results in very atmospheric images, it only really encapsulates the buildings
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 buildings relationship with its environment.

Save this picture!

Iwan Baan
2. Prioritize good lighting
Regardless of when you are shooting photographs, good lighting should always be a priority. Great architectural lighting
helps to emphasize a space, a specific structure or atmosphere, and thus plays a big role in shaping ones understanding
of what is important in that specific architectural project.

Save this picture!

Balint Alovits
3. Look for a unique angle
Playing with perspective is not only an entertaining thing to do, it can also be very rewarding. Taking time to find a
different angle from which to photograph can expose an overlooked form or abstraction of a buildings detail that may give
rise to another level of beauty and appreciation for its form.

Save this picture!

Steve Hall
4. Dont be afraid to include people (architecture doesnt exist without them)
Till includes a humorous excerpt in his chapter Out Of Time where the picture editor of "The Everyday and Architecture"
refuses to accept a cover image with a person in it, but is satisfied when that person is replaced with a bicycle instead.
Historically, there has been a trend not to include people in architectural photography, as if we somehow contaminate the
pure, designed beauty. Fortunately, a number of high-profile architectural photographers are beginning to buck this trend.
Architecture doesnt and wouldn't exist without usdont shy away from recording our presence.

Save this picture!

Iwan Baan
5. Explore details as much as the whole
Although shooting with a wide-angle lens is usually the smartest thing to do when it comes to architectural photography,
buildings contain hundreds of intricate little details that are lost when an entire facade or room is shot in one frame.
Exploring details up close could reveal something new about the buildings history or construction, for example.

Save this picture!

Iwan Baan

Save this picture!

Hlne Binet
6. Try not to objectify the building
Imagine the shock of visiting a building youve only seen photographed from that one, good angle. Objectifying a building
to the point where one only visualizes it from one point of view is one of the greatest disservices of architectural
photography. Once again, Till summarizes it perfectly: "It is not so much the overstated urban myth that architects design
buildings with a view to specific photographs of them, but more that photography becomes the primary point of reference
for architecture." Making an effort to record the complete spatial context of the building is not easy, but not impossible
7. Use post-processing tools
Processing images has become quite a standard part of photography, allowing you to tweak your images to perfectly
match that atmosphere you want to capture. While images should only be altered with a clear understanding of what kind of
changes are acceptable, software such as Photoshop and Lightroom are easy to use with a wide variety of advanced functions
such as lens correction. If youre looking for an easy way to create a panoramic photography using a series of images, try

Save this picture!

CC0 Pixabay User Pexels

8. Invest in appropriate photography equipment
If youre serious about getting started with high-quality architectural photography, investing in the right equipment is going
to reap big rewards. A wide angle lens is most commonly used for photographing buildings and interior spaces and
including a tripod will open up possibilities to shoot in low-light conditions, among other things. Using a polarizing filter can
also help to add contrast and make your images more vivid. If youre looking for something on the next level, a drone with
a quality camera installed could be an exciting way to go.

Save this picture!

Laurence Mackman and Iwan
9. Revisit the site multiple times
Returning to the same place again and again will reveal new layers to the architecture that can be used to communicate the
development, or perhaps the degeneration, of a building over time. Seeing a perfect photograph of a newly constructed
building is of course beautiful and fascinating, but why not follow the architecture beyond that perfect first shot? Perhaps
the real interesting aspects of the building are only exposed over time.
10. Research the building beforehand
Reading up on the history and context of an architectural site before visiting is an indispensable resource that will, without
a doubt, help you to focus your photography on a relevant story or idea that captures the essence of the building.
Our article on 9 Architectural Photography Tutorials to Help You Get the Right Shot is another great resource for improving
your architectural photography, including advice for specific types of shots. Practice, explore and most of all, enjoy!
9 Architectural Photography Tips
A Post By: Natalie Denton (nee Johnson)

Pin it
Classical or contemporary; architectural photography can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Here are some pointers to help you get
Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center by Stuck in Customs
1. Be sensitive to the direction of light as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections. High levels of contrast can fool
cameras into exposing the scene incorrectly, but shooters can easily overcome this by applying exposure compensation. Another trick
is to bracket shots at different exposure values (exposing one for the highlights, one for the midtones and one for the shadows) and
later merge them in a dedicated HDR program (such as Photomatix).

2. A fish eye or wide-angle lens (and focal length) is ideal for this genre as it enables photographers to frame the entire building within
its environment. However sometimes your glass 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 post-shoot with dedicated panoramic software such as; as Hugin or PTgui if you are shooting with a

3. We are told its whats on the inside that counts and sure enough architecture photography isnt restricted to the facia of a building.
It can be difficult to correctly white balance an interior setting, especially ones that are reliant on various forms of artificial lighting, so
remember to compensate accordingly in the White Balance menu or take a reading from a grey card. Interior shots in older buildings
tend to be more irksome because they traditionally feature small windows and doors thus lack natural light. Try using a tripod and
executing a long-exposure and remember you could always utilise an ND filter to stop highlights being blown out when shooting in
the day. Alternatively you could use supplementary lighting, such as a diffused flash but be careful as this may rob the scene of its
atmosphere and detail.

4. When the sun goes down a new form of architectural photographer can surface. To shoot a structure as a silhouette during sunset,
position the architecture between yourself and the sun. Make sure the flash is deactivated and expose for the sky. If the foreground is
too light set the exposure compensation to a negative value to darken it. This effect can produce particularly enigmatic results. Night
shots can be very dramatic and atmospheric too, but remember to take them when there is still some light and colour left in the sky as
this adds tone to the backdrop and help to illuminate details. As before get into a good position and set your camera on a tripod and
wait for the dazzling display of urban lights from windows, street lights, signs all of these in their rainbow of neon colours will add
to the ambience. Use a wide aperture and long exposure, and if your camera is supported youll be able to employ a low ISO to ensure
details arent depreciated by noise.

The Neo Monoliths of Chicago by Stuck in Customs

5. Unlike other forms of photography, exciting architectural images can be produced in all weathers. A church on a clear day may
strike the viewer as pleasant but maybe a bit bland, revisit it when theres a storm brewing overhead or a mist rising from the damp
earth and the results can be altogether more intriguing. By revisiting and shooting the same building in these various weather
conditions, photographers can produce a neat portfolio of shots maybe select the best three and youll have yourself an interest

6. Reflections add an extra dimension to architectural images and allow the photographer to create a canvas on which the building can
be playfully distorted. Urban environments are littered with a multitude of reflective surfaces, so youll never have to look too far to
practice, for example: windows, water features, puddles and wet streets, sunglasses, rivers and modern art.
Tervuren, Belgium by fatboyke (Luc)
7. Research the reason why the architecture exists youll be surprised how a little bit of background information can fuel a great deal
of inspiration. Ask a guide to point out small yet interesting aspects that perhaps go unnoticed by the general public. Buildings of
architectural merit usually include focal points so try cropping in close on these for frame-filling abstracts. Furthermore you may want
to include repeated artefacts that are littered across the exterior, for example; intricate brickwork or chequer board windows. Use a
telephoto lens to zoom in close and dont forget a tripod to support those longer focal lengths.

8. The average building is far taller than the tallest photographer so there will inevitably be some element of distortion in an
architectural photo, but this can be employed to create a source of tension within the frame. Simply position yourself as near to the
base of the building as possible and shoot straight up. If playing with perspective isnt for you then stand further back and add a sense
of scale to your image by incorporating everyday objects such as people, trees, transport and benches, etc. To retain detail throughout
the scene plump for a small aperture (large f stop) such as f14, alternatively try throwing out the sharpness of either the foreground or
background by choosing a large aperture (small f stop).

Finance Central by HKmPUA

9. Architectural images shouldnt just be aesthetic and graphic; they should also provide dynamism and movement so play with the
lines, the light and the shadows to provide interest and consider the hierarchy of levels and areas. Architecture is built on the principle
of symmetry, so capturing this symmetry will ultimately reinforce the subject matter and hopefully strengthen the composition.
Discover the centre of the symmetry by placing your hand between your eye-line and construct your frame around this centre.
Alternatively break free of the cold and sterile straight lines and rectilinear angles and follow the principles of nature by including
curves and circles in the form of shadows or reflections can help to soften the structure.
10 Architectural Photography Tips To Get The Ultimate Shot

By Shelley Little January 6, 2015 in Freshome's Very Best

Although there are a lot of factors that play into getting the ultimate shot some controllable and some not there are
a few tips you should know before you even begin. Image Source: Landor

Architectural photography, whether classic or contemporary, can be both rewarding and challenging. Figuring out how to get the
ultimate shot isnt always easy, even though you try, try, and try again.

There are a lot of factors that play into getting the ultimate shot some controllable and some not so here a few tips you should
know before you even begin.

While some of these may seem like common sense, they may not be what you think about each time you point and shoot your
camera at a building. However, taking all these tips into consideration will surely help you get a frame-worthy photo.
Practice these photography tips to get the perfect photo. Image Source: Digital Photography School

1) Always Have Your Camera and Location Ready

If you really crave the best photograph, then perhaps you should consider carrying your camera with you everywhere you never
know when inspiration will strike. If your location is already chosen beforehand, then be sure you are prepared for that particular
location. If the building is a business, check to see what hours they are opened.

You should also check with the owners of the building or property, or possibly the city to see if you need a permit to take photos. Not
knowing could get you into trouble, impeding the opportunity to get your dream photo.

Lastly, take a look at the weather report for the location you are heading to. Depending on the type of shot you want sunny, cloudy,
rainy, stormy, clear the weather could ruin your day.
Check with the owners of the building or property, or possibly the city to see if you need a permit to take photos. Image
Source: Photo-Visible

2) Invest in the Right Photography Equipment

It is most important that you have the right gear with you for the job youre going to do. When it comes to architectural photography, a
wide angle, fish eye or ultra-wide angle lens is the best option.

These types of lenses allow you to get a dramatic composition, and provides you with the ability to fit the entire frame of the building
into one shot. However, not all buildings will fit into every shot.

This is where a camera with panoramic format can be beneficial. While some cameras offer in-shot stitching of panoramic views, you
might want to consider the use of Hugin or PTgui, which are two types of software that allow you to stitch panoramic shots together
after the shoot. This is also beneficial if you are shooting with a Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera or DSLR.
When it comes to architectural photography, a wide angle, fish eye or ultra-wide angle lens is the best option. Image
Source: Ham Photo

3) Dont Rush Perfection

One of the biggest tips for shooting amazing architectural subjects is to take your time. Make sure you have a large block of time set
aside in your schedule for the shoot, possibly days.

Not only does this give you enough time to get the shots you want, but it allows you the opportunity to explore the building.

You want to give yourself enough time to walk around and look at all sides of the building to discover which area will give you the
best and most unique shot of the architectural structure.
One of the biggest tips for shooting amazing architectural subjects is to take your time. Image Source: Aedas

4) Shoot in Different Weather Conditions

As we mentioned earlier, paying attention to the weather report is a great way to ensure the perfect shot. This doesnt necessarily mean
you can only shoot when the sun is shining.

In fact, you may be surprised to find that the best photos are taken when a storm is brewing overhead, and the sky is overcast. The
swirling clouds, rain misting down, and possibility of a rainbow can really intensify the atmosphere and increase the quality of the

Its a great idea to return to a location several times during different weather conditions to give yourself enough shots of the building
to figure out just which one results in the ultimate shot.
Paying attention to the weather report is a great way to ensure the perfect shot. Image Source: Gencept

5) Pay Attention to the Light

You might be surprised at how different a building and its surroundings can look when the sun goes down at night, or disappears
behind a cloud. Take shots during the day from different angles of the building to see how they look.

Then, return at night and see what has changed about the building and its environment. You will find that as the sun sets, different
shadows appear and the building may even look a different color or take on a new appearance or facade.
Furthermore, the direction of the sun compared to you and the building can make a difference. It can create shadows and reflections,
and increase textural elements, as well as contrast. For instance, if you want to create a silhouette as the sunsets, you want to make
sure the building is between you and the sun.

You can also use a High Dynamic Range or HDR program, such as Photomatix to merge different exposure values together, so keep
that in mind as your camera clicks away.

The direction of the sun compared to you and the building can make a difference. It can create shadows and reflections,
and increase textural elements, as well as contrast. Image Source: AMZ Home

6) Photograph from a Different Perspective A Bugs-Eye View

Just like the light can have an effect on the way the building looks, so can your position while taking the shot. Again, here is where
time comes into play as an important factor.

You want to make sure you have the opportunity to move around the building, shooting as you go. You also want to get as close to the
building as possible, shooting straight up, for a different perspective. Pretend you are a bug or ant crawling on the groundNo one
really looks up at a building from this angle, but it just might make the most amazing photograph youve ever seen.

On the other hand, getting as far away or as high up from the building as possible, to include the entire structure in one shot, could
also create a unique shot. Play around with the perspective at which you shoot to really allow yourself to create amazingly unique
Pretend you are a bug or ant crawling on the groundNo one really looks up at a building from this angle, but it just
might make the most amazing photograph youve ever seen. Image Source: Design Homes

7) Embrace Photography Software

Once the shot is completed, there are some things you can do to really enhance the photos to make them even more spectacular (and
its not cheatinglots of professional photographers use these tools). This can be done through the use of photography software

For instance, you can use software, such as Perfect Photo Suite, which encompasses a variety of different programs to make changes
to a shot after it has been taken. This includes features, such as Perfect Effects 9, Perfect Enhance 9, and Perfect Black &White 9.

Other software you can use includes DxO and Adobe Photoshop. If you are not familiar with these types of software, you may want to
consider something a little easier to use, such as Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom. There are so many technical ways to enhance
your photography, so take advantage!
Once the shot is completed, there are some things you can do to really enhance the photos to make them even more
spectacular. Image Source: Digilabspro, Greg Wilson 2015

8) Black & White or Color?

Another thing to think aboutdeciding between a color photo and a black and white photo. Although the decision is purely up to the
photographer, there are some points you should take into consideration.

When it comes to architectural photography, color is often the most important feature of the structure that you would want to
highlight. Therefore, shooting the building in color might just be the best option.

Conversely, if you are merely after a very graphical shot or one that highlights the structural lines of a building, you might be better
shooting in black and white only. It allows the contrast to be much more present in the finished product.
If you are after a very graphical shot or one that highlights the structural lines of a building, you might be better
shooting in black and white only. Image Source: Twisted Sifter

9) Dont Forget Post Processing

Post processing normally consists of color correction, sharpness, and increasing the contrast. However, to get the ultimate shot, you
will want to do a little extra post processing.

Mostly, you will want to think about lens distortion that may have occurred while you were taking the photos. This can be easily
removed with photo software, such as DxO, which has already been mentioned.

You could also use PTLens, which works to provide not only corrections to lens distortion, but also to chromatic
aberration, vignetting, and perspective.
To get the ultimate shot, you will want to do a little extra post processing. Image Source: Urukia

10) Look For A Unique Location

Aside from all of the other tips that we have provided you, there is one more thought you should consider. That thought is location,
location, location.

There are many famous architectural locations around the globe that have been photographed many different times, in different light,
and in different weather conditions. Perhaps this is why they are so famous. Does that mean thats where you should go?

As a photographer looking to create the ultimate shot, perhaps you should find your own location. Find someplace that no one has
been, a building that isnt usually photographed, and give yourself the challenge of turning it into the next spot that architectural
photographers are dying to go.
Find someplace that no one has been, a building that isnt usually photographed, and give yourself the challenge. Image
Source: Photography and Architecture

Perhaps the most important photography tip is to take your time. You need to give yourself time to look at the building, and give
yourself time to see the building in different weather conditionsday and night.
Once you have the basics down, allow your creativity to flow. Take shots from different angles on the ground looking up, far back
shooting straight on, and even getting on higher ground.

Do you like to photograph buildings? If so, what is your favorite go-to technique?
Young Architect Guide: 7 Tips for Capturing the Perfect Architectural Photograph
The Angry Architect Young Architect Guide: 7 Tips for Capturing the Perfect Architectural Photograph
The art of architectural photography is a passion not just for architects, but everyone with a desire to capture the
environment around them in all its glory. This desire extends far beyond simply archiving a buildings physical features: we
yearn to capture the mood, atmosphere, and emotion of places and the people that inhabit them. The best architectural
photographs can tell you more about a building or cityscape and its designers intentions than any essay or lecture,
informing and inspiring in equal measure.

But what does it take to achieve such lofty goals with your humble compact or your trusty SLR? I am no technical expert when it
comes to the genre, but I have taken a few snaps in my time: 10,000 photographs over 9 months of travelling in 2012 drew me so
deeply into this niche, I suspect Ill never view the built environment the same way ever again!

Heres what I learnt over the course of that extraordinary year, primarily relating to composition and shot selection. Hopefully, one or
two of these tips will aid you in your own quest for photographic immortality
Louis Kahn Looking at His Tetrahedral Ceiling in the Yale University Art Gallery, 1953. Lionel Freedman. Via Archdaily

1. Let There Be Light

Khan, Ando and Zumthor will tell you as much light is the most crucial tool in an architects box, and the same can be said for
photographers in the field. For exteriors, visit your subject in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky to
capture images with a greater degree of contrast assuming, of course, the weather is kind to you. I have been known to sit for an
hour or more, waiting for the clouds to break so I can catch my favorite buildings at their glorious best. It pays to be
Look for concentrated natural light sources within buildings too, for dramatic, high contrast shots full of atmosphere.

Centre Pompidou by Piano + Rogers. Royal Academy of Arts. Via Metalocus

2. Color Me Stunning

Black turtleneck clichs abound, many architects would consider themselves somewhat allergic to color there is nothing like a
high-contrast monochromatic image to accentuate the striking forms and uncompromising lines of a modernist icon by Niemeyer or
However, it is possible bear with me here for a flash of color could provide a distinctive, eye-catching moment within your
image, communicating architectural language by accentuating a window reveal, a soffit, or a key structural element. Try
photographing the work of Richard Rogers, with his vibrant Pompidou ductwork, to kick-start your newfound love affair with color.

Trey Ratcliff. Via PhotographyMad

3. The Rule Of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is typically recognized as a safe bet when considering composition in photography: keep your primary subject or
focal point off centre, a third of the way across the view, to creating additional tension, energy and interest within the image. For more
distant shots, a composition should have balance and weight if the horizon sits a third of the way up the image.

Having said all this, if your subject lends itself to a centred composition, or a zoomed-in detail, go right ahead rules are made to be
Ezio Beschi. Via Flickr

4. Rhyme and Rhythm

A certain Johann Wolfgang once compared architecture to frozen music, and you can see his point: Some of the greatest works in our
time have some wonderful rhythmic qualities. If you can find the right angle from which to take your photograph, these rhythms can
be emphasized, revealing the logic behind the designers thinking and the structural qualities of the building in a single, stunning

Once you have those repeated elements within your viewfinder, align diagonal lines of perspective with the corners of the photograph
to add depth and balance in equal measure.
Hong Kong High Rise. Michael Wolf. Via Daily Mail

5. Clean vs. Chaotic

A classic architectural clich is illustrated in that most infamous of Tumblrs, Unhappy Hipsters: Clean-cut minimalism, free from
even the slightest speck of dust, a childrens toy, or heaven forbid a smiling face. However, consider shooting buildings in all
their ugly glory: Anarchic apartment blocks, traffic-filled streetscapes and rusting industrial monoliths can tell a story that your slick,
set-piece image may never manage.

The same can be said for weather: Capturing your favorite architectural icon on a crisp, clear day is just fine, but what about shooting
it during the chaos of a thunderstorm, or even a blizzard? Brave the elements and find out, hardy souls.
'Break Point'. Darell Godliman. Via BD Online
'The Urban Lantern'. Via BD Online

6. The Human Touch

Speaking of smiling faces, who needs 'em? I have spend many a long day waiting with growing frustration as people walk in front of
the church or museum elevation Im trying to catch a perfect, person-free image of. We are all about the architecture, not the
portraiture right?
Ok, I must grudgingly admit that sometimes people can add an awful lot to your photograph. From a practical point of view, they
provide comparable scale tiny people in front of gargantuan skyscrapers really throw the urban environment into sharp perspective.
On top of this, they can also provide that vital injection of cultural and social context after all, without their inhabitants, buildings
are merely objects upon the plains.

Via Craft Hubs

7. All the Gear, No Idea

If you search around the internet for architectural photography guides, you will be swamped with a plethora of recommendations
regarding equipment and specifications: wide-angle lenses, tripods, tilt-shift lenses, polarising filters, bellows for detail shots, long
exposures for night scenes, varied apertures the list goes on.
If you are just starting out, reading about all of this can be bewildering but ultimately, the best way to learn is to get out there
and experiment. You will soon learn how the gear works and which settings will give you the result you are looking for.
Right, Im off to the dark room, excuse me
Enjoy this article? Check out more of our Young Architect Guides:
The 7 Secrets to Happy Interning
7 Tips for Getting Hired After Graduation
Building Great Architecture Models
5 Lies Told About the Profession You Must Ignore
Architectural Redlines
6 Alternatives to Architectural Practice
How to Convince Your Audience With a Powerful Project Narrative
How to Write About Architecture
5 Specifying Tips for First-Time Architects
Top Image: Ezio Beschi. Via Flickr
Taking Your Interior and Architectural Photography to the Next Level

by Mike Kelley
May 31, 2012


Google +

As I promised when I wrote my Anatomy of An Interior Shootpost a few weeks ago, if the interest was there, I'd continue the series.
I'm happy to report that I've got much more in stock for you. If you're interested in kicking your architectural and interiors
photography into high gear and adding some special sauce to your photos, this post is for you.
When I wrote the last post, I wrote that theres often much more than meets the eye at first glance when it comes to architectural and
interiors photography. That same concept applies here: if patience and problem solving arent in your repertoire of photography skills,
you might find yourself struggling with creating dramatic, interesting, and dynamic images of spaces.

This post will cover some basics to get us started, and I'll be explaining many more concepts in further detail in the weeks to come. If
you're interested in architectural photography as a source of income, shooting real estate for an agent, or just improving the quality of
your architectural shots while on vacation, I'm hoping that this and the subsequent posts will help. So without further adieu, Im going
to walk you through a few techniques that Ive come to use when Im photographing a space.

Be Mindful of Vertical Lines

This is usually the number one issue that rears its head over and over again when people who are interested in taking photographs of
architecture or interiors ask me for help. If you want to dive into this type of photography, this rule cant be ignored. When we tilt the
camera up or down, vertical lines converge. This leads to the ever-ugly building falling backwards look. If youre shooting for an
architectural client, this is especially important, as leaning vertical lines and buildings that look like theyre about to fall over
backwards will make it appear as if the architect or builder is incapable of keeping a line straight and true, and that the building is not
structurally sound.

Using a tilt-shift lens is one way to change the field of view of your camera while keeping vertical lines vertical. Another method is to
adjust the vertical lines in Photoshop, though this will usually result in some of the image being cut off and a slight loss of image

Even though I use tilt shift lenses for my work, I still find myself bringing images into Photoshop to correct the vertical lines, as even
the slightest misalignment will be glaringly obvious when viewed under a discerning eye. The fastest way to correct this is by using
the Free Transform and Skew tools in Photoshop.

Note in the below image the converging vertical lines, I've outlined them in blue. You can see how even though they are just a touch
off of perfect, it still contributes to the building feeling like it is not architecturally sound. Not the idea we are trying to get across
when we want to show that our client is a competent architect! The finished image, with the corrected verticals and lighting added, can
be seen below. Now we've got a nice, sturdy building that doesn't look like it is in danger of collapse.

Take Some Time to Stage and Organize

When we walk through a room without a camera, our brain is very good at disregarding a little bit of clutter to see the big picture. We
can overlook some books on a coffee table in disarray, or a few coffee cups and crumpled blankets and say wow, what a beautiful
room! While were great at filtering that stuff out while were just walking through a room, it is a very different story with a
photograph of a room. Everything must be placed very deliberately or the flaws of the room become more obvious. Pillows tend to
look sad and dejected in a photograph if you dont take a minute to fluff them up, creases and uneven blankets on beds will
photograph terribly, crooked carpets can ruin the perfect composition by fighting with your eye and the leading lines of a photograph,
and toasters and microwaves (as expensive as they may be) kill the photogenic qualities of most kitchens with ease.

If you arent at liberty to remove and rearrange, I at least recommend taking five minutes and walking through the room to straighten,
align, and organize everything possible. Staging and organization probably plays just as big of a role as lighting when it comes to
interior photographs, and to rush through any shoot without putting in a few minutes to clean up is definitely a shame.

In the below images, I've shown what the space looks like before I took what was literally five minutes to stage and re-arrange to my
liking, next to the final staged image. Note that I was working alone and none of this involved any crazy logistical planning, with the
exception of a trip to Whole Foods to pick up $10 worth of vegetables to stage the first image. While you can certainly tell that they
are nice spaces without the staging, cleaning up and organizing certainly brings things from 'not bad' to 'whoa!'

Add and Control The Light

As far as photography is concerned, waiting for the right light is a tried and true method to improving your images. But sometimes, we
don't have a choice; sometimes scheduling doesn't work to our favor, or we've got a client that needs the images NOW, and we might
not have the luxury of waiting a few hours for the perfect golden light. There are a number of reasons why lighting a space will
improve the look and feel of a photograph. When we dont add our own light to a space, we are often at the mercy of the weather,
poorly designed interior or exterior lighting, and a number of other factors that are out of our control.

When we control the light, were able to convey emotion and feel, add emphasis or interest to select areas in the photo, add life, bring
out color and detail, improve contrast, and so much more.

If you really want to improve the quality of your interior and architectural photography, learning to control light is probably the single
most important skill that you can have in your repertoire. How many successful portrait photographers take images using only natural
light, without modifying it in any way? Id be willing to bet a significant sum of money that the number is very, very small, perhaps a
fraction of a percent. Why is this? Because adding light to a portrait is probably one of the best ways to improve the mood, feel,
emotion, contrast, and impact of a portrait. Same goes for interiors and architecture.

Many people will say well, I can get away with just using HDR, cant I? And sure, you can get away with it, but youre going to be
missing out on a world of possibilities, not to mention the technical limitations that youll run into if HDR is your only method of
shooting a space. HDR and Exposure Fusion both suffer in high-contrast situations, leading to muddy and soft images (think of a dark
wood interior with a bright sun outside: HDR will yield a muddy result every time). Learning to tame the light and add your own will
dramatically improve an image in this setting.

Below I've shown what a space looks like after staging and cleaning up, but without any light control involved. While it looks okay,
it's not a photo that I would be proud to display for a number of reasons. The window is blown to the point of overtaking the entire
image, the area behind the bar is a total black hole, and even with a healthy dose of contrast added in post, the image still appears
muddy and a bit washed out. In the bottom image, I was able to expose for the window and add light to the interior, which gives a
much more dynamic, inviting and interesting image. Much better when the space is seen dripping with soft and glowing light, rather
than a muddled, contrast-free mess that the natural light gave.
If you want to create dynamic and interesting images that jump off the page, taming and shaping the light to your vision is certainly
going to help you accomplish that.
Be Patient
Photographing architecture, interiors, or anything that doesnt move for that matter is an exercise in patience. There are many subjects
that we have the luxury of moving to make a better photo: we can take a model into a studio or move them into the shade, we can
move a car into better light, we can we can reposition a product for better angles. Not so with architecture: our options can be pretty

But what should we be waiting for? There are three things that Im always willing to wait for.

1) Most obviously, the right light. Since were shooting stationary objects, if we really want to make a spectacular shot, weve got to
wait for the light to be the best it can if we want to create a jaw dropping photo, even if we're going to add our own light to the scene.
If you're not working with lights, waiting until the scene is bathed in golden light or free of shadows can do wonders for your photos.
If you are using supplemental lighting, having the best possible natural light combined with well-placed artificial strobe light can
create amazingly dynamic images that simply aren't possible otherwise.
2) People, cars, and other objects to get out of the way. Unless we have the luxury of cordoning off a street or area to keep wandering
bystanders and cars out of the way, weve got to wait for it to happen by itself. Waiting just five minutes for the area to be clear of
people or cars can go a long way to ensuring that the viewers eye stays on the subject and doesnt wander or get distracted by
elements that arent adding anything to the final photo.
3) Just taking a deep breath and double checking everything. There is often a lot going on in an interior or architectural photograph.
Some things that I watch out for include:
Leaves, trash, other detritus on the ground
Crooked lampshades, uneven bedspreads
Misaligned furniture, carpets, and chairs
Crooked vertical lines in my composition
Things that, on second thought, arent adding to the composition
Reflections of objects that will be difficult to remove in post
Taking a minute to clean these things up will save you endless hours and frustration in Photoshop after the fact. Believe me - I've
learned the hard way. I've got a checklist that I take with me on every shoot, which reminds me to slow down and try to catch any
problem areas on location so I don't have to tear my hair out over it in post.

And in closing...
Ive got many more of these interior and architectural-themed posts planned in the upcoming months, so be sure to stay tuned if this is
the sort of thing that interests you. If you would like to ask any questions or give feedback, Id be glad to answer any questions, as
always, in the comments section below, in the Fstoppers Facebook group, or on my Facebook page. Or check out my Los Angeles
Architecture Photography.
Architecture surrounds us every day, and is a very popular photography subject. Follow this guide to help you take some
stunning architectural shots.

Architecture is a broad subject, encompassing everything from skyscrapers to shacks. Virtually everywhere we go, we are surrounded
by some sort of architecture on a daily basis. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that architecture is such a popular subject
in photography.

Despite its diversity, there are a number of principles and techniques which can be applies to most situations. Keeping them in mind at
all times will encourage you to think more carefully about your framing, composition, and lighting.

With practice, you'll develop your eye for architecture photography. This will help you shoot your subjects in a more interesting way,
avoiding commonly-repeated compositions and injecting more personality into your photos.


When photographing old architecture, a straightforward and simple composition usually works best, showing the natural beauty and
elegance of the building. It usually helps to include some of the surrounding scenery to give context to the architecture and make it
feel less cramped.

A simple composition gives a stately feel to older buildings. Image by Stephen Murphy.


When photographing modern architecture you can get away with using a much more modern, abstract style. Experiment with wide
angle lenses to produce extreme perspective, or photograph the building from unusual angles. Also, because modern buildings are
often squeezed in very close to one another, you can crop in tightly on the building without making the photo feel unnatural.
A more abstract style works well when photographing modern architecture. Image by Rohit Mattoo.


The question of whether to show your building's surroundings depends on the situation and the message you want to convey. Ask
yourself whether putting your building in context would add to or detract from the photo. If the scenery compliments your building
then shoot a wider photo, but if the surroundings don't fit with the message you want to convey, cut them out.

Including some scenery in your photograph can help put your subject in context. Image by Rob Overcash.

As an example consider an old building in the middle of a modern city. If you wanted to capture this sense of not belonging then it
would be important to include some of the surrounding modern buildings. But if you just want to emphasise the beautiful old
architecture then the newer buildings would only detract from the photo, so you should crop them out.

Lighting is a crucial part of architectural photography. Of course we have no say over the position and orientation of a building, and
lighting the building ourselves is usually out of the question (not to mention expensive!). Instead we have to make do with what nature

Side-front lighting usually produces the best architecture photos. It provides plenty of illumination and also casts long, interesting
shadows across the face of the building, making its surface details stand out and giving the building a more three-dimensional look.

You can bring out the texture and detail of the architecture using front-size lighting. Image by Gianni Domenici.

Back lighting is the worst kind for architectural photography because it creates very uniform, dark surfaces. The best way to deal with
a backlit building is to either crop out the sky and use a longer exposure to rescue some of the detail, or photograph the building as a
silhouette. Alternatively you could wait until it gets dark...


Even the most boring architecture can come alive at night - in fact many modern buildings and city centres are designed specifically
with night time in mind. After dark these buildings are lit by dozens of lights which bring colour and vibrancy, and cast fantastic
shadows across the face of the building.
Dramatic night lighting can really bring a building to life. Image by Trey Ratcliff.

When photographing architecture at night be sure to use a tripod and set your camera to its lowest ISO setting to reduce digital noise
to a minimum.


If you photograph a building from too close it can leave the walls looking distorted, as if the whole building is bulging outwards.
Although this can be an interesting effect in itself, we usually want to reduce it so that it doesn't become distracting.

By using a telephoto lens and photographing your architecture from further away you will find that your building's walls and lines
appear acceptably straight.
Use a telephoto lens to flatten the perspective and eliminate distortion. Image by lvaro Vega Fuentes.

You can also use a telephoto lens to create some great abstract effects. By photographing your architecture from a long way away and
using a long focal length lens, you will flatten the perspective, making the lines of the building appear parallel, giving your photo a
slightly surreal feel.


Most architecture is covered with small-scale details which make fascinating photos in their own right - from ornate windows to
patterns of rivets to decorative cornices.
Find an interesting detail to focus on, rather than just photographing the entire building. Image by Paul Hocksenar.

Be on the lookout for these details and crop in tightly on them for a more intimate photograph that conveys the character of the


When photographing architecture it is easy to get stuck in the mindset that "architecture equals buildings". Of course this couldn't be
far from the truth, and in fact most man-made structures come under the architecture umbrella - bridges, towers, windmills,
monuments, and even lamp posts. Think laterally and see if you can find some interesting photos that most people would miss.
Architecture covers a lot more than just buildings. Image by Lou Bueno.
Did you enjoy this article? Please share it!
Architectural Photography Basics
Take Your Travel Photography to the Next Level!
Many destinations around the world have impressive architecture nearby to photograph. Nearly all the major cities have
buildings with distinctive features. Research before you go will save you time once you get there, as well as help you
determine what you want to see. Make sure you have directions or maps to the areas you want to visit.

Take Numerous Photos

When you visit a location that is a once in a lifetime visit, make sure you take lots of architectural photographs. Approach
buildings from all angles and maybe even at different times of the day. Make sure you take enough memory cards so that
you can take as many images as you want. The image of the Coliseum in Rome is a classic angle and shot, taken during
the day. What happens if you go back to the same spot at night?

Think Outside of the Box

Whenever you are photographing architecture, think outside of the box. Try to find different perspectives and areas to
photograph. Always look at the roof of the building you are in to see if you have something attractive above your head. Tilt
your camera up and use an aperture appropriate to the image; if you cannot use flash, open the aperture to around f/4. If
you have a glass ceiling, underexpose the camera slightly to retain the dark detail.
Check the Composition

Putting some thought into composition is important in architectural photography. Always look for interesting angles and
perspectives whenever possible. Think about your rule of thirds, then how you can break them. For example with a spiral
staircase, rather than composing the photo from the ground, why not climb to the top. If you are hand-holding your
camera, choose an ISO of 400 and rest your camera on the ledge securely.

Try Different Viewpoints

Do not shoot an architectural image from your eye level, as this will only show it as a flat object in the photo. Try to
capture a subject from various angles at different viewpoints. You can also move the camera to your left and right, or a
little higher and lower than eye level to add some creativity to your photographs. Using a tilt-shift lens, you can take an
architectural photograph that will show a tall building in a totally straight up and down position.

Zoom in for Details

Zooming in to create a detailed close up shot is a great way to bring attention to smaller parts of a building. For example,
you can shoot the doorknobs, windows, and brick work of a monument or building, or the zigzag patterns and the curving
lines of classic spiral stairways. Use an ISO of 400 and a fairly wide aperture to let adequate light in. Underexposing by
one stop can keep the detail and color in the image.

Take Photos at Night

Taking photos of architecture at different times of the day creates a new feel and effect in each picture. If your subject is a
church for example, you can capture a more interesting image at dusk or dawn. Alternatively if your subject is a well lit
building at night, use a tripod and find an interesting angle. Place your camera on a tripod and choose the lowest ISO
possible. If you choose an aperture of around f/32 for a super sharp image you will get an exposure time of around 10
seconds. If you need to handhold the camera, open the aperture to the max and find a support, be it a wall or beanbag to
place your camera on and take the shot.

Shoot in Black & White

When photographing architecture in black and white, think about strong lines and patterns as this will create an abstract
effect. Look for lines that draw the eye towards a center or focal point, like this image of the Brooklyn Bridge. With black
and white, you can worry less about a dull sky, but using a red filter or a polarizing filter will always help draw out the
contrast between the dark and light areas.

Recommended Settings
The ideal settings will vary depending on the subject and conditions. It is always preferable to use a tripod where you can.
If there isnt enough light, use the widest aperture possible. On a bright day underexpose the image by one or two stops
doing this retains the detail in the architectural image, and its even more important if you want to be able to zoom in and
see the details later on.

Recommended Equipment
If shooting on a bright day, it is always useful to have a polarizing filter, which helps reduce reflections and brings out
colors. Use a lens hood, which keeps glare out. If you are using a wide angle lens, glare is a common problem. A tripod is
always useful so you can use a low ISO and smaller aperture, giving sharper architectural images that can be enlarged.
Remember to take lots of spare batteries and memory cards with you.

Architectural photography is something that produces timeless images. Always think about lines and shapes, and look for
patterns and colors. Remember you can convert any image to black and white later so look for images that are full of
shadows and highlights. A building is a static thing and you need to move around it to find new perspectives and approach
it as if it were full of life and character.
A Brilliant Beginner's Guide to Architectural Photography
by Simon Bray17 Oct 2011


NewsShootingWide Angle LensGraduated Neutral Density Filter

Architecture is serious business. Millions are spent each year on new development projects as architects try to make their artistic
vision into reality and create something structural, practical and functional that will be a lasting legacy of their work. However,
wherever you are in the world, architecture is present, for living, for working, and for entertainment. Hopefully, these tips will help
you capture some of that beauty with your photographs.

Where to begin?
The range of architectural photographic possibilities is almost endless, the chance to capture some of the world's most significant
monuments and tourist attractions at one end, whilst at the other end of the scale, the chance to capture someone's humble home or
living space. Each will offer their own challenges, difficulties and joys and by no means do we have time here to go into detail on how
to shoot every type of building, but this will give you an understanding of what is involved and inspire you to get out and give it a go
for yourself.

Photo by Gari.baldi

Location and Approach

The first thing to do is consider the location and type of building that you want to photograph. Would you rather work with something
sleek and modern, something historic and grand or possibly something more understated? This decision may well be made for you
depending on your location, but consider the actual structure of the buildings and try to understand the building, what it's used for,
who uses it, when was it built and any history it may have. This will significantly inform your photographic work and how you
represent the building.
Alternatively, you could decide to approach the building as it is, to just see it as walls and glass, purely as a structure. Acting as an
architectural purist, you'll represent the building as a construct of materials. For some, this will give them clarity over the visual
element of their work and help them to have a clean slate to work with, rather than searching for elements of the building to work with
based on its purpose and history.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Depending on the type of architectural project you are undertaking, you will need varying equipment. If you are shooting grand
modern buildings for corporate purposes, you will require clean and direct shots with plenty of light and therefore a DSLR will
suffice. If you are shooting a historic building you may prefer to employ a film camera to try to match up the medium with the subject

For the more general work, an SLR on a tripod is preferable, as it will be useful to utilise a wide-angle lens, as it can be difficult to get
a vantage point, it is useful to get as much in the frame as possible. Depending on the time of day that you are working, you may also
like to employ a graduated filter to tone down the sky or a neutral density filter for long exposure work to enhance the colours.
Photo by Vinoth Chandar

Step 4 - Angles
The high end (almost 'modern art') aesthetic of architecture has so much to offer to photographers: amazing lines, angles, details,
colours, shapes and materials offer a vast array of photographic opportunities just waiting to be exploited. Consider the angle at which
you want to approach the building(s) that you're working with.

Do you want to fill the frame with the structure, or would it be better to put it into a wider context. Would it be suitable to add a sense
of scale by including trees or people? Do you want to shoot straight on for a squared composition emphasizing symmetry, or would
you achieve a stronger image if you shot from an angle which can bring out strong lines?

There are many decisions to be made when approaching a building and when considering angles and the viewpoint from which you
are shooting a building. It's also important to remember that image distortion can come into play, when straight lines appear distorted
or warped. If this is the case, you need to reconsider the viewpoint from which you are taking your shots and also the equipment you're
using. A tilt-shift lens can correct for diverging lines, but in order correct for distortion, you'll need to choose a lens that's known for
low distortion. Cheaper lens typically have more distortion.
Photo by Dhammza

Step 5 - Lines
You can't start thinking about angles, without also incorporating lines. Within architectural work, it is essential that you give the lines
within your images some careful considerate. If you are shooting tall buildings, the vertical lines will be the most apparent and can be
an extremely good way to add interest to your shot with a variety of verticals lines through the shot.

It's also important to consider horizontal lines, whether the shot lends itself to be divided by the rule of thirds, whether there is a
variety in heights of the horizontal lines, or whether you'd rather have strong cross sections of the image. It's also important to
consider the depth of the image and whether there are any lines that lead the eye into the shot. Finally, within many modern
architectural projects, curved lines are increasingly popular and can be very interesting to work with.
Photo by Guille

Step 6 - Light and Settings

As with all photographic work, utilising the available light correctly is essential. Consider carefully the time of day in which you'd like
to shoot depending on your subject. For interior work, I would always recommend working through the day to ensure there is a much
light available as possible. However, for external work, bright light can cause problems with reflections and overexposure, so it may
be better to work in the golden hours around sunrise and sunset to ensure you have warm swathes of light to work with. It can also be
extremely rewarding to work in the evenings, using long exposures to utilise the city lights as the nightlife comes out to play.

As with most landscape type work, you'll need to ensure a high f-number, roughly f/8 or above to ensure that the whole scene is in
focus, but this will require a longer exposure, so a tripod will be necessary.
Photo by Kunal Mehta

Step 7 - Detail
Although the main focus within architectural photography is capturing buildings as a whole, it's can also be very interesting to
approach a building from a macro level as well. Search for details and intricacies that may otherwise go unnoticed, particularly within
older buildings.

When exploring both the exterior and interior of the buildings you're working with, be sure to be thinking on a small scale as well as
on a large scale and you may be surprised by what you find. Often architectural details in the more modern buildings lend themselves
very well to abstract work. Look for reflections in glass or water that may offer symmetry or an alternative viewpoint and also
shadows can work very well as a contrast to bright shiny glass fronted blocks.
Photo by Vit Hassan

Step 8 - Interiors
It's really important that you don't forget about the interior of a building. You can spend hours trying to capture the essence of the
building from the outside, but to get a real feel for the buildings purpose, function and of it's daily life, you need to get inside! Now,
this doesn't mean you can just go charging into any building you like, you need to ask permission. There may well be restrictions on
when and where you can shoot, so be sure to co-operate with whoever is in charge and respect their decisions.

Once inside, you'll soon be able to sense the architectural feel of the space. Is it clean and clinical or loved and lived in? As with
exterior work, keep your eyes out for interesting lines, shapes and angles. Once you've found something of interest, spend time with it,
observe it from different viewpoints to maximise it's features in your work. Lighting within buildings can be tricky, so be prepared to
adjust your exposure settings, adjust the f number down, the shutter speed up and knock up the ISO if needs be, but also keep a look
out for any interesting light sources or windows.
Photo by Szeke


Step 9 - Panoramas & Post Production

A technique that you may well want to consider is to use multiple shots to create a panorama. This is employed more often for
cityscape and skyline shots, but can be used very effectively when trying to capture a large building or subject. There are many
photographic stitching software programmes available online and with a bit of practice can produce some very rewarding results.

After you've got all your shots together, it is essential to leave plenty of time for post processing to maximise your shots. Take time to
make decisions. Does the shot need colour? Try converting it to black and white. Is it now more dramatic? Or does it lack something
that the colour offered?
Photo by dhunfini

Step 10 - Get Out There

Hopefully these tips have informed you on the various elements of architectural photography and now it's your turn to go and give it a
go for yourself! Remember to go out prepared for bad weather, take your tripod, filters, wide-angle lens and capture the amazing
architectural work before you.

Be sure to adhere to trespassing regulations, don't enter any prohibited areas or private property without permission and if anyone has
issues with you photographic their building, be sure to co-operate. But enough of the boring stuff, grab your diary and plan that next
trip to town with your camera!
Photo by DirkJanKraan
12 Steps to Success As An Architecture Photographer
Here are a dozen things you should keep in mind if you want to make a living as a full- or part-time architectural photographer.

Photographs of architecture, especially those that show an impressive, cutting edge interior design or stunning facade, are in high
demand. Want to break into the field? Itll take a commitment to quality, a significant investment in the right equipment, a portfolio,
and references. But first, becoming an architecture photographereven as a part-time job or hobbyrequires a learning curve.

Additional resources: Visit the national Association of Independent Architectural Photographers, the trade
association of full-time architecture photographers, for more resources and to join.

Here are 12 tips to help you shoot better architectural photos:

1. Walk Around The Place: One of the advantages of architecture photography is that your subject isnt going anywhere. Take your
time. Look up (ceilings may be interesting) and down (especially around spiral staircases). Snoop around. Walk around, look for
interesting angles, convergences of lines, perspectives. The most obvious point of view may not be the most interesting, and the best
image may be a matter of shifting your camera a few inches up, down or sideways, or shooting in a different direction altogether.

Look for line and pattern: Spiral staircases are great subjects for architecture photographers. Photo Photo tkalcan/

2. Use a Tripod: Even though it is true that your subject isnt moving, that cant necessarily be said for you, or your camera. You will
find that youll need to use a small aperture to maximize depth of field, which will necessitate a slow shutter speed that precludes
hand-holding. Always bring a tripod! In fact, to really avoid any chance of camera shake, lock the mirror up if youre using a DSLR,
and use a remote control to trigger the shutter. This will eliminate all camera motion, even when shooting longer exposures. (If you
need a new tripod, Adorama has plenty of em.)
People Power: With the camera kept steady via a tripod, the photographer captured a long exposure showing the moving person to
give the photo both a sense of scale and a dynamic element. Photo Alex Nikada/

3. Add a Human Element: Some buildings are designed in a way that requires a sense of relative scale. In most cases, adding a
person will do the trick. Be sure your human is dressed appropriately to fit the mood of the space. If its an office building, he or she
should wear business attire, and so on. But the main goal here is to give the viewer a visual clue as to the relative size of the space
being photographed.

4. Wait For The Right Light: While this is especially true when shooting exteriors, light streaming in through windows will also
affect the mood and quality of an image (and may also dictate whether you need to add your own light). You may want to visit a
location multiple times to determine which time of day is best. Direct sunlight Early or late in the day can accentuate patterns and
textures, adding depth to your composition. In addition, sunrise and sunset light is warmer and could be more flattering. Dusk is a time
when the sky turns deep blue (or orange) and the exterior lights go on, transforming and emphasizing shapes and color in a totally
different way.

Dusky transformation: As the sky darkens, lights go on and show off the unique interplay of line and form. Photo

5. Watch Your White Balance. When shooting at night or indoors, be aware that the color temperature of the artificial light can
change the perceived color of the architecture. This may not necessarily be a bad thing but it is something to be aware of. Rather than
using auto white balance, shoot RAW and use a color calibration kit such as the Datacolor Spyder 4 to get the most accurate color
from image capture through monitor display. Alternatively, consider using an X-Rite Color Checker Passport system as a reference to
help you adjust color in post-production.
Mixed-light, brilliant result. Since the interior light was key to this image the photographer color balanced the scene for tungsten, and
let the daylight coming through the window to go to an extreme blue. It may have been a visual compromise, but it looks cool! Photo
Benjamin Loo/

6. Look For Converging Lines: If you have to tilt the camera up to get all of a building, you are going to come across the classic
architecture photography bugaboo: Keystoning. Parallel lines start to converge, and the building that you are photographing appears to
be falling backwards. One way to correct this is to find a higher point of view and shoot the building straight on, but this is frequently
physically impossible. Another way is to use a tilt-shift lens such as a Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L, or Nikon 45mm f/2.8 Perspective
Control lens, which can be adjusted, view-camera style-to eliminate keystoning. If you are a casual architecture photographer (in other
words, you dont make a living at it, and dont plan to) a T/S lens may be too big an investment. Consider, instead, fixing the shot in
Photoshop. Follow Diane Millers step-by-step directions here(shes using an older version of Photoshop, but the principles still apply
to current editions).
7. Embrace Distortion: Sometimes, those same converging lines can be kinda cool. Use them to full advantage as a design element.
A wide angle lens (the wider the better) can exaggerate the building falling backwards look. Get up really close and shoot up, or
down as the case may be.
8. Be Aware Of (But Not Intimidated By) The Weather: When shooting outside, of course the direction of the sunlight is essential
but what if its cloudy? This will soften the lines and shadows in a scene. If its rainy, you might find interesting reflections in puddles
that you can include in your exterior shots. When shooting inside, keep in mind that interesting exterior light will spill into your scene,
and to work with it. If shooting on a bright, sunny day, the light may be more difficult to work with and youll need to supplement
with inside strobe.

9. Look For Reflections (And Dont Get Caught In One): Mirrors and windows reflect light and photographers! If youre shooting
a room with either one, be sure that you arent in the shot. Chimp, and enlarge to make sure. If you are bringing in your own light, test
and make sure the light source doesnt inadvertently bounce off a window or mirror into your camera. To control reflections, have
a polarizing filter handy.

The photographer carefully positioned himself to avoid reflections from both the big mirror over the counter and the little one off to
the side. When there are mirrors and windows in a setting that youre photographing, make sure you arent in them! Photo
10. Look For Details: Pay attention to how lines interact with light and each other. Look at the material used in the walls, and how the
angle of the light emphasizes their texture. If there is hard light in the scene, pay attention to where shadows fall. Shadow play can add
elements of interest to an imageor can be a distraction.

11. Use The Best Image Quality Settings: When shooting any kind of architecture, assume someone may want a nice, big print.
Shoot at your cameras native resolution setting (usually its ISO 100) to get the best overall image quality. From noise to color depth
and dynamic range, all digital cameras perform their best at their native ISO. This will show the best possible details that will emerge
when you blow the image up large. Even if youre shooting a space on a self-assignment, you never know if an architect may want a
copy if the shots really good.

Sure you can fix a slightly skewed shot in Photoshop, but why add the extra step? Place an inexpensive bubble level atop your camera
for straight shots. Photo bluehill75/

12. Keep A Level Head: One thing that will kill an architectural photo is a tilted horizon, or any line that should be horizontal or
vertical but is oh so slightly diagonal. Some digital cameras have electric levels. For the rest of us, theres this, available at Adorama.
5 Architectural Photography Tips

Start the Countdown

Iconic and ephemeral, architectural photography challenges viewers to see buildings and landmarks in new
You're at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, armed to the teeth with the latest and greatest in photography equipment. This might
be your first attempt to make a magnificent picture of this iconic landmark, but you are only one of millions who've already
tried. How, you wonder, can you possibly capture an uncommon image of this common subject?

Architectural photography might seem like an easy genre. After all, buildings, bridges and other big construction projects
aren't going anywhere fast. Stationary objects are the easiest subjects for photography, right?

Actually, there are all sorts of variables and conditions that affect architectural photography. If you're not prepared to deal
with those dynamics, it will be frustrating for you to apply your creativity and technical know-how toward an unforgettable
picture of your subject, even one that's automatically awe-inspiring like the Eiffel Tower.

You don't need a fancy camera or big studio lights to create great architectural images. You do, however, need a keen
eye and an imaginative flair. As you approach your subject, pretend you're a visual storyteller. What's the story that you
want to share about a structure? Are you going for an epic, wide-angle shot that captures the tower in all its glory at
sunrise? Or will you pick out certain symmetrical details and lines that show what it's made of?

However you choose to proceed, a few tips and tricks will help you find an approach that results in amazing images. We'll
show you how to build nuanced, powerful pictures of humankind's greatest construction achievements.

5 Architectural Photography Tips


Pick Your Perspective

A straight-on view is often too obvious. Altering your position even slightly can literally bring new dimensions to
your structural photography.
Your perspective and location (and thus, that of your camera) can completely alter the way you compose your shot. Do
you want to capture a skyscraper emerging from a cluster of smaller buildings? Or do you want to stand at the base of
that building, look straight up and show how it soars into the wild blue sky? For the former shot, you'll be far away; for the
latter, you'll be very close. And to make either of these images, you'll need the right equipment.

If you have an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera that lets you use different lenses, choose wisely. A wide-angle lens
allows you to take in much more of the scene but it also tends to distort (or curve) lines, especially at the edges of the
frame. A telephoto or zoom lens will help you magnify a subject that's far away, but its restricted field of view (the
amount of a scene that it sees) is smaller than that of a wide angle lens.

Many architectural shooters buy specialty tilt-shift or perspective controllenses, which allow for wide-angle shots with
almost no distortion. They're also quite expensive. Alternately, and more affordably, you might shoot a structure with a
wide-angle lens and then correct distortion later in a program such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. With just a few
clicks, your warped lines look much straighter and truer to life.

Eye the Skies

Whether its woeful or wonderful, weather impacts architectural photography. Scattered clouds like these can play directly
into an artful composition.
Photography is all about quality of light, and weather conditions dramatically change the appearance of all buildings, both indoors and
out. So before you ever begin shooting, consider the clouds.

If you're trotting across the globe for your shoot, you'll want to begin by checking average weather conditions for your destination.
Hitting New Orleans in August? Prepare for monsoon season, with heavy, intermittent rain followed by blue skies full of enormous,
puffy clouds. Winnipeg in December? Be ready for snow.

Varying degrees of cloud cover, precipitation and sun change architecture's appearance in profound ways. Hard sunlight can create
strong contrast, bringing out lines and patterns. An overcast day, though, diffuses light, softens edges and reveals colors and tones that
strong light might overpower. And rain can add a glossy sheen to all sorts of construction materials.

Outdoor light matters for indoor photography, too. On a sunny day, you might see lovely streaks of light strewn throughout a building
that on cloudier afternoons seems dank and unwelcoming. Or, you might find yourself wishing for a few clouds so that you can
capture more even, smooth lighting inside a quiet chapel.

Remember that light is a changeable thing. It can be boring or magical depending on the minute, and the only way to find the best
light for a subject is to experiment repeatedly.

Frankly, My Gear

The right gear can be key to getting the shot you want.
When it comes to architectural photography, gear does matter. You don't need the latest and greatest, though. You need basic
equipment that will push a good image into the realm of perfection.
It starts with a solid tripod. Yes, tripods are often clunky, awkward and generally a pain in the neck to tote around town. But any
frustration spurred by their unwieldy nature is always offset by their tremendous usefulness, especially with regards to architectural

Here's why. When you're shooting buildings, you'll often set your camera to a smaller aperture, or f-stop, because doing so keeps
more of your subject sharp. If you aren't familiar with terms like depth of field, read How to Know What F-Stop to Use. The trade-off
with using a smaller f-stop is that you must set your camera for slower shutter speeds so enough light reaches the sensor or film.
Nudge the camera even a tiny bit and the image will blur.

You might think that a tripod is necessary only for dim, indoor shooting. Don't get cocky. Even when you're outdoors in bright light, a
tripod is a really good idea. Picking the right tripod is important, too. Forget ball-head tripods. For serious shooting, you need a geared
tripod that allows for minute, precise adjustments. You'll need one with a bubble-level, too. And to make sure your clunky fingers
don't bump the shutter button, you should invest in a cable release for hands-free shooting.

The result? A perfectly stable platform for making the crispest possible pictures.

More Light Matters

Bright daylight often washes out colors in the sky. Wait for just after sunset, though, and you may be rewarded
with deep, entrancing hues.
It's worth revisiting the subject of light because for massive structures, you usually have very little control over illumination.
That means you have to put some serious thought into the time and place you choose to shoot.

Here's one quick example. At sunset, the east side of a building will be sheathed in shadows, while the west side may be
exceedingly bright. In the meantime, the north and south sides might show a combination of golden sunlight mixed with
deep, dark blacks that really bring out the character of a faade.

Another consideration-- if this is a gargantuan building, it's going to take you a while to move to a new spot if you decide
your original choice is less than ideal. That's especially true if you're hoofing it with a big tripod on crowded city streets.

Time of day is always very important. Shoot a tall building in the middle of a sunny day and you'll likely have blown-out (or
overexposed) areas in the sky. Wait until just after sunset, though, for the so-called "blue hour" and your sky will be darker
and bluer for more dramatic and appealing results.

And don't forget about night shots. With your sturdy tripod, you can take artful pictures in the dark, which may accentuate
a building's lights, outlines or other details that aren't apparent during the day.

Finding the best light and tweaking your equipment is important -- but what's happening in your brain ultimately makes or
breaks your pictures, as you'll discover on the next page.

What's the Story?

All human-built structures have fascinating backstories, including details about funding, materials, construction challenges
and much more.
All fantastic photography tells a story through imagery, and that applies to architectural photography, too. In order for you, dear visual
author, to really share that tale, you need to think about what makes that structure unique.

You might start by doing some research. All major construction projectshave a back story, and all of them feature design elements and
materials intended to suit a specific purpose. You can often find much of this information with a quick Web search.

With those kinds of details fresh in your mind, you'll likely notice all sorts of new things about a building and then totally revamp your
approach. Sure, many people have taken the same wide-angle shots of the adobe church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. But how
many photographers have really thought about the clay that makes up adobe and then taken close-up shots of that fascinating texture?

Figure out what makes a structure special. Ponder how that story makes you feel. And then experiment with ways to express those
feelings and thoughts in the pictures you make. The more you think about your subject, and the more time you're willing to invest in
creating a one-of-a-kind, memorable picture, the more likely it is that you'll find your way.

Don't wait. The best way to learn architectural photography (or any kind) is to jump right in and make as many mistakes as possible.
Those little failures will teach you the lessons you need to succeed in ways that you can't even begin to imagine.