Architecture photography (or ‘architectural photography,’ depending on who you ask) helps tell the story of a structure. To get a better idea of how to tell the story best, check out our five tips below!
Do Your Research
It’s always a good idea to know what you’re walking into. Read up on the building or site, even if it’s minimal. Understanding the past helps you give credence to the parts of the structure that carry their own history. If you’re working with a newer structure, talk to the architect to uncover context for your shots.
You should also visit the site a few times before you start shooting. (This is research, too!) It will give you new and different perspectives to utilize during the shoot.
Make Multiple Trips
Even after you’ve completed your scouting, make multiple trips to photograph the structure in different types of light and weather. Capturing a skyscraper at night conveys a totally different feel than the same building during a sunny day. This way, you can offer your client a variety of shots that show different moods and stories.
Find Your Angle
To capture a building head on is all well and good, but shooting a structure at interesting angles helps to highlight its unique attributes. Plus, the best architectural photographers use this as an opportunity to emphasize an unnoticed form or detail that tells another layer of story. We recommend tilting or shifting your camera to experiment with new and different meanings in angles.
Use a Wide Angle Lens
We recommend using a wide angle lens – similar to landscape photography. Shooting at a larger aperture number provides the necessary sharpness and depth of field for architecture photography. After all, an out of focus building won’t communicate much of anything, regardless of how bright your image is. In terms of specific lenses, Sony, Canon, and Nikon all make great wide angles.
Don’t Lose Focus
It’s easy to get entrenched in details, but architecture photographers need to tell the whole story. The focus is the building or structure itself, not a beautiful stairwell.While architecture photography might not be as common as landscape or portraiture, it’s still the way that large swaths of people experience architecture. We recommend that you do your research, including but not limited to making multiple trips to scout and to shoot. Use a wide angle lens and experiment with different angles in general to highlight various attributes of the structure. While it’s important to capture the details, don’t lose sight of the forest through the trees! Focus on the building first, attributes second.