Have you ever looked at a stunning building and thought, "Wow, I wish I could capture that beauty forever?" Well, with a little know-how and a good camera, you can! Architectural photography captures the details, angles, and lines that make buildings unique. And trust me, it's not just for the pros! Whether you're a budding photographer or want to up your Instagram game, these architectural photography tips will help you take your shots from meh to magnificent.
Architecture Photography Tips:
- Have Proper Photography Equipment
- Do Your Research
- Use the Weather to Your Advantage
- Different Times of the Day Will Also Help You Tell Your Story
- You Need Good Lighting
- People are Sometimes Good
- Play With Your Angles
- Put an Emphasis on Details
- Tap Into Your Editing Skills
The tips below will help you enhance your architectural photographs if you've been missing something. I want to help you grasp how to photograph these buildings and tell their stories. Just like people have emotions, and you can capture them through the camera, you can also do that with the history and story of architecture.
Without further ado, here are my tips and tricks:
Have Proper Photography Equipment
If you want to take great photos of architecture, having the right photography equipment is crucial. While you don't necessarily need the most expensive gear on the market, you want to ensure you have a camera that can capture high-quality images. Look for a camera with that's in your budget, as well as lenses that are well-suited for that camera.
Invest in a tripod to help you stabilize your shots and reduce camera shake. Also, consider bringing along a polarizing filter to help reduce glare and enhance the colors in your photos. With the right equipment, you'll be well on your way to capturing stunning images of the built environment.
Do Your Research
If you are photographing a famous landmark, do your research. Ensure you completely understand your subject and dig up some of its history. Knowing its history will help you understand the initial construction and what you should focus on for your architectural photographs. Doing your research will also give you an idea of how you want to tell the building or structure's story.
Use the Weather to Your Advantage
You should be able to take many photos of buildings and structures during different weather elements. Use the weather to your advantage and let it help you tell a story. If you're shooting an old and eery-looking church, try to take that photograph on a gloomy or a cloudy day. Let's use the church for another example - what about a gorgeous cathedral with wondrous stained glass windows? Shoot that during a sunny day - bonus points if you can get sunbeams pouring out of blue clouds behind.
Related article: Camera Settings for Cloudy Day
Different Times of the Day Will Also Help You Tell Your Story
One of the great things about architecture photography is that you can use different times of day to help you tell a story through your images. For example, shooting cityscapes at night can create a sense of the hustle and bustle, with all the lights of the buildings and streets contributing to a vibrant atmosphere.
On the other hand, capturing a sleepy beach town building at sunrise can convey a sense of calm and serenity with soft light and pastel colors. As the sun moves across the sky, the light and shadows on buildings will change, offering different moods and perspectives to play with. By being mindful of the time of day and how it affects the light and shadows, you can use your photography to tell a rich and nuanced story about the places you're shooting.
You Need Good Lighting
When it comes to architectural photography, lighting is everything. Even the most beautiful buildings can look dull and unimpressive without good lighting. One of the best times to shoot architecture is during the "golden hour" – the hour after sunrise or before sunset – when the light is warm and soft. But even if you can't shoot during this time, there are still ways to make the most of the available light.
Pay attention to how the light falls on the building, and consider using lens fx filters or diffusers to help you manipulate the light and create the mood you're looking for. You might also want to experiment with different types of artificial lighting, such as streetlights or interior lights, to create a unique atmosphere in your shots. Whatever approach you take, remember that good lighting is critical to capturing the essence and beauty of architecture in your photographs.
People are Sometimes Good
Although people can be a nuisance when taking an architectural photograph, you can always try to use them to tell your building's story. Typically it's frowned upon to include people in your photo. Some photographers think that people spoil the image. And I totally understand that sentiment - you don't want people to take away from the beauty of a building or landmark.
However, you can only sometimes control if people will be near your subject, so you should use them to your advantage. If you take a picture of a famous landmark, you may have a crowd. You can use those people to tell the story of the popularity of a structure. Or even showcase the height of a skyscraper by showing a person near it.
Play With Your Angles
When capturing the perfect shot of a building or structure, it's essential to experiment with different angles and positions for your camera. Moving around and trying out different viewpoints allows you to discover new perspectives on the same subject and create a more dynamic series of photos.
For example, you might try shooting from a low angle to emphasize the height and grandeur of a skyscraper or from a high angle to show the building's relationship to the surrounding landscape. Getting close to the building or stepping back to take in the entire structure can also create different effects.
Be bold and try out unusual angles or vantage points, as you might discover unexpected beauty or exciting details that you wouldn't have noticed otherwise. By playing with your angles and experimenting with different positions, you can add depth and variety to your architecture photography and capture the subject in a way that indeed does it justice.
Related article: Photography Composition Techniques
Put an Emphasis on Details
One of the challenges of architectural photography is capturing the full beauty and complexity of a building or structure. Often, we can easily miss the intricate and unique details that make a building truly special when we try to capture it in its entirety. Examining your subject and looking for interesting details that might take time to be apparent is essential.
Using a zoom lens can be particularly effective in honing in on these details and exposing the unique construction and design elements that might be hidden from view. For example, you might zoom in on a particular section of a building to capture the intricate patterns of the facade or focus on a specific element, such as a door or window, to highlight its design.
By emphasizing details and using your zoom lens to explore the subject, you can create a series of photos that showcase the building or structure more intimately and engagingly.
Related article: What is Emphasis in Photography
Tap Into Your Editing Skills
Remember all the neat things you can do to a photograph during the post-processing stage. Although you don't want to overdo it with edits, you can use many editing tools to enhance an otherwise gorgeous architecture shot. Use you use software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to edit your photographs. Utilize the lens correction, crop, and color tools through these programs.
By now, you should be well-equipped how to capture stunning architectural photos. Whether you're snapping shots of towering skyscrapers or quaint city streets, the key is to experiment, have fun, and let your creativity shine. o grab your camera, get out there, and start shooting - who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you can create!