When you think about photographing architecture, just remember it includes many more structures than just buildings and that’s what makes it such a popular and fascinating venture. Architecture can include all types of man made creations from the most primitive to the most modern in the world. These include bridges, monuments, windmills, towers, and lampposts etc. No matter where you travel there will always be many opportunities to capture some great shots of architecture.
There are some techniques which could help you take more creative and interesting shots and many of these include lighting, framing, and composition. As with all types of photography, the best way to develop your skills in it is simply by practicing. This will allow you to injecting your personality into the images.
Photo by .sanden
If your goal is to capture some magnificent images of modern architecture it often works when you utilize an abstract or more modern style of photography. You could do this by trying out a wide angle lens as it will give you an extreme perspective. Another good method is to take shots from unique angles. Since modern skylines feature buildings that sit close to each other you may want to try cropping in tightly in a building as it won’t appear unnatural.
Photographing Older structures
When you’re photographing architecture of older buildings and structures, it’s a good idea to use simple and straightforward composition techniques. This will enable you to show off the elegance and natural beauty of your subject. You may also want to include a bit of surrounding background or scenery as it will add some context to the structure while letting it appear less cramped.
Adding surrounding scenery
Some people prefer to show the surrounding of a structure in their shots while others don’t. it really depends on personal taste and how you want viewers to see the photos. It’s a wise idea to ask yourself if any surroundings will take away or add to the context of the image and how you want to portray it. If you feel the surrounding scenery makes the shot better then go ahead and take a wider shot. Adding more to the photos is a good idea if it tells a story. For example, a centuries-old church sitting in between a pair of skyscrapers would be a scene begging for some surroundings to be added if you wanted to show the contrast between the old and new.
It’s important that you get the lighting right in architectural photography. This means you’re going to have to use the available light as well as you can. The best type of lighting for architecture is generally side-front lighting. It usually offers enough illumination as well as long and interesting shadows. This often creates a more three-dimensional appearance since the detail and texture is more visible. The worst type of lighting is back lighting since it results in dark, uniform surfaces. You could try a longer exposure with back lighting and possibly crop the sky out for a better image. Of course, you could always shoot the structure as an interesting silhouette.
Photo by JohnathanCohen
Some of the best architectural shots are taken at night, especially modern structures since many of them are designed to be shown off as part of the skyline when the sun goes down. Once night falls many of these structures are lit up in a kaleidoscope of colors to give them a life of their own and to create some brilliant shadows. It’s a good idea to take a tripod along at night and use a low ISO setting to reduce the noise in the shots.
The walls of a building can sometimes look distorted if you’re shooting from close range. If you don’t like this effect you may want to try a telephoto lens while taking shots from a further distance. This will provide you with straight-looking lines and walls. A telephoto lens will also allow you to come up with some fine looking abstract effects. Taking the photos from a distance will usually flatten the subject’s perspective and create parallel lines.
Photo by Ian Kershaw
Keep it interesting
While the overall appearance of a structure can often be fascinating on its own, many buildings have small designs details that can stick out. Just think of all the smaller aspects of an old church or cathedral for example, such as sculptured gargoyles and angels etc. Taking shots of smaller details can tell a lot about the character and type of architecture.
We hope you enjoyed this article on photographing architecture! Leave a comment with any additional tips you can suggest below.
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