- Architecture photography tutorial
- Practical advice for architectural photography
- Perfect composition - indispensable for architectural photography
- Converging lines is a big problem in architectural photography
- Facades are a worthy object of architectural photography
- Light importance
- Perspective correction
- Interior architecture photography
- Silhouette shooting
- Night photography of architecture
Architecture is one of the most technically complex genres of photography. Architecture photography allows you to travel back in time and follow the development of human history through the masterpieces it creates. Pictures of the most ancient architectural creations of humans - Stonehenge, the Egyptian and Mexican pyramids - are able to preserve them in memory as they were before the era of mass tourism, destroying faster than time. Modern architecture photography makes more practical tasks - more beneficial and authentic display of architectural objects. The purpose of such artistic and documentary architectural photography is to create travel or advertising brochures, real estate catalogues, and documentary reports. Architecture photography, like no other genre, conveys the experience of being in a particular space and locality. They are the buildings in the images that will best help the viewer to present where, when and under what conditions the vacationer, tourist or traveler was. But like any other genre, architecture photography has its own puzzles. Accordingly, we will further try to solve them and highlight the most important aspects of it.
Architecture photography tutorial
Photographing some industrial structures, shopping malls or business complexes made of iron and concrete in a city famous for its ancient temples and gardens will help the photographer to show the diversity. You will show the "movement" in the picture if you can correctly fit a modern new building next to the buildings of the previous century.
Leave more space for older buildings. If it is possible to include trees or other vegetation in the frame, do it. This approach will show the intimacy of old buildings and bring the spirit of the past, show the mood and emphasize the echo of the old (architecture) with the new (trees, flowers, etc.).
Include parts of several architectural structures in one shot. Try to find commonalities and rhythm in color or detail. If it doesn't work right away, you can try to shoot the same thing at a different time of the day or in different weather.
The building can even be simply "taken out of context". Remove all the details of the surrounding reality to emphasize isolation or solitude. If you try to exclude from the photographic field all the "extra" pieces of third-party buildings, it can get too straightforward a presentation, which is good for photos of real estate for sale or if it is a minimalist architecture photography. Leave some space around your subject to help keep the subject in context. For example, it will be possible to understand how dense the building is in the place where the house is located.
Include a sidewalk, a fragment of a street, pedestrians in the image - such a detailed plan helps the viewer to feel the atmosphere and see what is happening by means of a photographer's eyes.
It is a mistake to believe that you cannot use a telephoto lens when photographing architecture. For some sort of compression of perspective, to get an interesting pattern, you can use long focus optics.
You can include rhythmic objects in the composition trees in a row, a picket fence or shadows, which will create rhythm and add volume to the picture. Due to this, the composition is facilitated, even heavy buildings will look more harmonious in the frame.There is nothing more dynamic in nature than stairs. Don't be afraid to include them in your composition, as this will definitely grab the viewer's attention.
Until the antipeople-filter is invented by the manufacturers, keep an eye on the location of people who get into the lens. Sometimes the presence of a person in the frame gives the image of architecture a finished authentic look.
Sculpture, stucco, bas-reliefs and architectural details require your attention when shooting. Place key points on the golden ratio lines so that the viewer's attention is drawn to them first.
Use all the arches that come on your way. In their frame, any trivial plot from the life of the city will look better and more interesting. If the arch is hard to find, fill in the foreground with a large image.
Some buildings, especially in city centers, are best photographed in the late evening. In digital photography, increasing the ISO value can result in annoying digital noise in the frame. Use a tripod to bring the ISO down to an acceptable level. For example, 400 units or less, which produces noise-free footage in low light conditions.
Urban architecture photography turns out well with large detailing, while ruins will look better in the context of the surrounding area. Distortion is not always bad, pay attention to the converging vertical lines in the frame. Use a wide-angle lens and tilt the camera itself so that the entire facade fits into the frame.
Practical advice for architectural photography
Objects for architectural photography are standing everywhere: giant skyscrapers that soar almost endlessly into the sky, old castles, where the spirit of the Middle Ages is still felt, or historic villas which facades amaze the viewer. But not only these named pieces are great places for architecture photographers - buildings with their own shapes and colors are waiting to be discovered throughout the city. In addition, architectural photography lives on in many other structures such as bridges, sculptures or towers. There are a lot of factors that will affect the photo of these masterpieces, and we have selected recommendations that will help you catch the best shot faster. Therefore, valuable advice on the topic of photographing historically significant objects, as well as architectural masterpieces of our time, will be very useful when studying this genre.
Perfect composition - indispensable for architectural photography.
Here, special attention should be paid to a successful composition. This is usually not that difficult because buildings have a variety of landmarks that the photographer can use for orientation. Joints in masonry are especially popular, such as white lines between red bricks. Anyone who allows the environment to flow in addition to the building should also use this for the concept. Perhaps there is a curved path that leads to the front door. Then it is the first ideal reference point that directs the viewer's gaze towards the house. Other aspects of the concept need to be considered in architectural photography. In general, you should avoid placing attracting objects, such as visible windows or doors, in the center of the image. The only exclusion can be while making abstract architecture photography. They should be placed much more according to the third rule. If it makes sense, fill in the foreground, middle, and background of the image with different eye-catching elements - then your architectural photography will be much more interesting for the viewer and offer several interesting things to discover.
Converging lines is a big problem in architectural photography.
Especially with very short focal lengths, there is often a problem that straight lines in a photograph suddenly become unrealistically slanted. This mostly happens with walls of houses, large gates, or even when shooting entire horizons. In architectural photography, converging lines occur especially when the photographer is too close to the subject and too low in relation to its size. With this knowledge, these aberrations can be reduced, at least to a certain extent. Therefore, if you try to stand as far away from the building as possible and manage to position the recording in the middle of the height of the subject, the effect will be reduced greatly. To do this, you should try to position the structure in the middle of the image and, if possible, avoid very small focal lengths, less than 18mm. If falling lines are still appearing in architectural photography, you have two options:
- Buy a tilt-shift lens. Appropriate architecture photography lens corrects distortion before shooting and ensures straight lines. However, the prices for such glasses are disproportionately high, and the purchase is only beneficial for those looking to pursue intense photography of this type.
- Correction on the computer. Manufacturers of imaging software such as Photoshop have also recognized this problem and have come up with features that can help you straighten curved lines again. The result can usually be seen and saved in architectural photography, but the time required to do this is significantly longer than with a tilt-shift lens.
Facades are a worthy object of architectural photography.
Architectural photography is not only an aesthetic depiction of entire buildings - you can just as easily select individual parts of buildings as your motives. Facades that are available in many different designs are particularly suitable. It is not only the materials that differ - from wood to stone to concrete. The forms and, above all, the objects embedded in the façade are worthy motives for architectural photography. Look for unusual windows, doors or ledges that can be optimally integrated into successful concepts. If you focus architectural photography on the walls, you have various options for photographing them. On the one hand, perspective plays a decisive role. If the motive is taken from the front, it looks very static, but much more dynamic from the outside. The position of the photographer also affects the effect of the image. If, like almost every passer-by, you stand in the street and shoot, the angle of view is quite normal. If, on the other hand, you try to catch a good position from a building above, you may well be surprised by your images.
Under the conditions of the cityscape, all kinds of geometric patterns, leading lines, diagonals and various grids are widespread. All of these shapes can serve as attractive aids for photographic composition. Thus, interest and tension in the shot increases. The best way to do this is to use a zoom lens. In this case, shooting is carried out with filling the frame. And note that most buildings include symmetrical elements in their structure. They can be used to enhance the composition. Some architecture photographers run their hand at the level of their nose to help themselves frame the symmetrical dots.
Sometimes there are buildings, especially in modern areas of the city, which are glazed from top to bottom. They can be used as fantastic reflective surfaces that offer a range of compositional techniques such as symmetry and patterns. Also, besides them, we use the reflective properties of puddles and various bodies of water, sunglasses and vehicle windows, in which all the same buildings are reflected.
The comparison of color, structure, content and light can add tension to an architectural image. Try comparing an old building to an ultra-modern construction site next to it. Or a very bright colorful wall with a flat monotonous surface. Or just observe where the light is hitting to capture the areas of light and shadow of the subject.
The buildings are riddled with areas of high contrast. They can trick the camera's metering system especially while landscape architecture photography. This problem is actually true if you want to capture details in both shaded and prominent areas of a building at the same time. The solution is to take shots with different exposure values and then combine them using HDR software. Or, if your camera has the ability, experiment with the dynamic range of the scene. You should start with the minimum value and move up, switching until you find a level of detail that suits you. Available light plays a huge role in presenting a building in an attractive way. Architectural photography lives in the shadows that dance on the facades and make them seem mysterious and mesmerizing.
Many architecture photography lens shots produce line distortion, especially if you are using a wide angle lens at a short focal length. And at the same time, you are photographing while standing below on the ground. To straighten these lines, there are a number of programs or plug-ins that can eliminate distortion. But such curvatures can be used to benefit photography as well. They add a sense of drama and a sense of scale to the image. Remember to correct your perspective. Even a medium-sized building will still be taller than a photographer. This is the source of 99% of the world's architectural photography distortion.
Interior architecture photography.
Along with photographing the facade, the photographer often has the opportunity to capture what the outer walls, i.e. the interior, hide. The main problem we are facing here is the lack of sufficient lighting. Moreover, in some places the use of flash is limited. To combat this, use a wide aperture lens and raise the ISO. You can also lock the camera, choose a slow shutter speed and use the self-timer to take a picture. Where flash is acceptable, try using a diffuser to soften the harsh light that comes from direct flash. The flash often distorts the scene's texture and color.
Here we proceed in the same way as when photographing people. To capture a visually stimulating silhouette of a building, you need to put it in the correct position. This means that the sun must be behind the structure blocking the main stream of light. Remember to turn off the flash when doing this.
Night photography of architecture.
Photographing buildings at night creates fantastic scenes. This provides tremendous opportunities for creative expression. Interesting results are obtained by shooting taken before complete darkness, at dusk, when the lights of the evening dawn are still visible in the sky. An additional range of colors emerges that gracefully illuminate individual building elements. Wait until the evening lights come on in the windows of the houses, the headlights of the cars come on. You need to find a safe place for yourself from which an interesting perspective opens up. Mount the camera on a tripod or something sturdy and choose a shutter speed of a few seconds. It is best to use the self-timer to ensure good image sharpness. You can increase the shutter speed to add more dynamism to your photo. So you create the feeling of people moving inside a building or outside, or a graceful soaring of clouds.
Let's summarize. Buildings don't move. Only the lazy photographer will use a high ISO when photographing architecture. A smart approach is to start shooting at a low ISO (like 100). In architectural photography, a greater depth of field is desirable. The viewer should have a choice of which part of the building he wants to view. This is what he must find in an adequate focus.
A large depth of field means a small opening. Small hole plus long exposure - too "heavy" for handheld shooting. Therefore, in order to properly photograph at home and get good shots, the photographer will work with a tripod. A tripod is a more reliable assistant for the building photographer than a variety of lenses. Even with the "usual fifty dollars" you can get wonderful images of architecture. The weight of the tripod can be tolerated. After all, in the end, the buildings are simply beautiful and require respectable attention. And there only one principal advice can be given – shoot as much as you can to make your ideal photo.