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25 Architecture Photography Tips for Beginners

25 Architecture Photography Tips for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with architecture photography, you may be wondering how you can take great shots. In this guide, we’ll give you 25 of our best architecture photography tips for beginners. Let’s get started.

1. Get The Right Camera

You’ll want a high-quality DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) or a mirrorless camera. You should expect to pay between $500-$1,000 for a high-quality camera. Sorry, but your smartphone isn’t quite going to cut it for professional shots!

2. Stick With Your Prime Lens (At First)

Your “prime lens” is the lens that comes with your camera. While you may want other lenses in the future, like a wide-angle lens, your prime lens is perfect for taking shots as a beginner.

Prime Lens

3. Invest In A High-Quality Tripod

A tripod helps keep your camera level and ensures you stay steady during long-exposure shots. A high-quality lightweight tripod is a great investment.

4. Get A Camera Carrying Case

A camera carrying case makes it easy to haul your gear to your destination, and protects your camera and gear from damage.

Camera Carrying Case

5. Keep Extra Batteries And Memory Card On-Hand

It never hurts to have some spares – especially if you forgot to clear your memory card or recharge one of your batteries!

6. Don’t Worry Too Much About Camera Settings

As you become more experienced, you can mess with your aperture and lens speed (f-stop), and other settings. But at first, you can take great shots even with your camera’s automatic mode!

7. Find An Interesting Building Near You And Shoot It Several Times

Practice makes perfect. Start by choosing one building near you and shooting it a few different times. Focus on something different each time to add more variety.

8. Don’t Overlook The Interior

Sure, the exterior of a building is the “main attraction.” But don’t overlook unique interior elements, which can make great shots!

9. Study The Basics Of Photo Composition

We highly recommend picking up a book about photo composition and doing some reading – Mastering Composition: The Definitive Guide for Photographers by Richard Garvey-Williams is a great resource.

10. Try A Variety Of Different Vantage Points

Shoot from below a building, or above it. From far away, and from close up. Focus only on the building – or shoot the entire area around it. Different vantage points will provide you with different shots!

11. Add Context And Perspective To Your Shots

Don’t just exclusively focus on a single building. You should also shoot the surrounding areas and incorporate them into your shot to provide your photos with more perspective.

12. Zoom In On The Details

Little details like patterns and unique architectural features are excellent for close-up shots.

Different building details for Architectural Photography

13. Try Shooting At Different Times Of Day

Lighting is everything when it comes to photography – so try shooting a particular building at dawn, in the middle of the day, dusk, and night. See how the different light conditions affect your shots!

Different times of day for Architectural Photography

14. Invest In Post-Processing Software Like Adobe Lightroom

Post-processing is useful for photographers of all skill levels. If you spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with post-processing, you’ll be able to get some breathtaking shots.

15. Keep Your Camera Level To Avoid Distortion

As a rule, you should keep your camera level with the horizontal lines of the building to avoid distortion and ensure that your perspective looks great.

16. … Or Distort Your Shots On Purpose!

Rules are meant to be broken! By distorting your shots and using strange angles, you can create really visually-interesting compositions.

17. Use Your Camera’s Panorama Feature Instead Of A Wide-Angle Lens

Most modern cameras have a panorama feature which “stitches” together multiple photos. This feature is a good alternative to a wide-angle lens, so try it out – and if you like how it looks, you may want to invest in a wide-angle lens in the future.

18. Try Out Long Exposures

Long exposures can help soften clouds, blur movement, and make your compositions look really interesting. Use a tripod to make sure that your shots are crisp and clean, and see how a long exposure affects your shots.

19. Shoot With An Experienced Photographer

This is the single best way to learn more about architectural photography. If you have a friend or acquaintance who has experience shooting buildings, ask to shoot with them! You’ll learn a lot, and have fun doing it.

20. Make Sure You Get Permission If You Need It

Rookie photographers sometimes assume they can shoot whatever they want. But in some cases, you may need permission to shoot the inside or exterior of a particular building. Do some research and ask the relevant authorities to make sure you can take photos – or you risk wasting a trip!

21. Take A Tour Before Shooting

Leave your camera behind, and just walk through the building and surrounding area. This lets you explore it more naturally, without constantly pausing to take a photo. Take in the area with your eyes alone, and look for areas that would be ideal for your shots.

22. Share Your Photos Online To Get Feedback

Uploading your pictures to a photography forum or Instagram is a good way to get input and feedback from photographers, and get tips for how you can improve!

23. Don’t Shoot For More Than A Few Hours At A Time

Shooting a building – or any subject – is more tiring than you think. In addition, spending too long on a single building or subject may make the shoot repetitive and boring – which you don’t want! Plan your trip accordingly, and take regular breaks to make sure that you don’t get worn out.

24. Consider Shooting In “Bad Weather”

Shots taken during snow, rain, fog and other “bad” weather conditions can be beautiful and evocative, and have a unique atmosphere that you just won’t find when the sun is shining.

For some unique compositions, consider shooting even in bad weather – but take the appropriate precautions to protect yourself, and your gear!

25. Don’t Be A Perfectionist

You’re a beginner. That’s not a bad thing. All of the best photographers once started as beginners. That means you need to be patient with yourself.

Your photos won’t all be masterpieces, and you’ll need a lot of experience to become a great architectural photographer. This takes time. Don’t be a perfectionist. Enjoy the process of learning!

Get Started With Architectural Photography With These Helpful Tips!

If you have the right gear, the right attitude and the right knowledge, it’s easy to get started with architectural photography. So take another look at these architecture photography tips now, and think about how you can use them during your own shoots.

Once you’ve taken a few trips and shot a few buildings, you’re sure to love the process – and you’ll only improve over time. So don’t wait. Get started now, and you’ll begin a life-long journey that you’re sure to love.

Jason D.
jason@danziphotography.com
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