Architectural photography, also known as building photography or structural photography, has been around for a long time. In fact, one of the earliest photographs ever taken, ‘View from the Window at Le Gras’ by Nicéphore Niépce, is architectural. And like any other specific type of photography, architectural photography comes with its own allure and challenges.
While true improvement comes through practice or a certain level of training such as those at photography workshops, here are 7 tips to help you perfect your architectural photography.
Credit : AKSHIT SHARMA
Familiarise yourself with your subject: If you want your photo to do more than simply show a building, you need to know the story behind it. Which means you need to research your subject before you start shooting. You may also want to visit the site, preferably more than once, so you have enough time to pick out a distinctive element to showcase and even discover newer layers to focus on. This can also help you uncover new viewing angles that can result in iconic images.
- Timing and lighting: A dramatic sunset may be a tempting time to photograph buildings, but don’t let it distract you from shooting at other points of time during the day. Doing so will allow you to depict the subject in relation to its environment in a more holistic way. However, it is important to keep in mind that no matter the time of the shooting, lighting plays a decisive role in the final photograph.
- New perspectives and details: Architectural photography aims to portray buildings as more than an assortment of steel, concrete and paint. To do this successfully, you need to view it from a different perspective – perhaps zoom in onto details or capture existing patterns and symmetries.
- People: Architectural photography does not have to eliminate the human element altogether. In fact, you can incorporate people to add context to your photograph. Given that buildings are created by and for human beings, people in your architectural photographs bring interesting dimensions – the viewer can understand the functionality and scale of the structure better.
- HDR: One of the biggest challenges in architectural photography is light manipulation. Photographers are often limited by the light available at the site. High dynamic range (HDR) images can overcome this barrier. From adding some dramatic flair to exterior shots to balancing interior-exterior exposure, HDR has got you covered.
- Gear: All said and done, that perfect architectural photograph needs some specialised gear. A wide-angle camera lens is indispensable for architectural photography. You can view an array of wide-angle lenses from Canon here. Another practical investment is the tilt-shift lens (check out Canon’s here), which helps you adjust the angle of the lens independently of the camera. This is especially useful for avoiding the perspective distortion.
- Post-processing tools: Post-processing tools are especially relevant for architectural photography as they help overcome some unavoidable challenges such as distortion and lighting. It is helpful to learn some advanced functions such as lens correction in creating that perfect architectural photograph.
You can learn more about different types of photography by signing up for Canon Edge’s digital photography workshops. These are a great help to everyone looking for some insights in architectural photography and developing a better understanding of the art.