50 Architectural Photography Tips To Master
50 Architectural Photography Tips To Master
Wondering how you can get better at architectural photography? Here are 50 tips that you can use to become a better architectural photographer – and take beautiful pictures of buildings!
1. Travel For The Shot
If you don’t have any eye-catching buildings near you, consider taking a trip or vacation to a destination with more opportunities for photos.
2. Take Plenty Of Photos
With a digital camera, you never have to worry about being limited by rolls of film. Make sure you take plenty of photos – you can always delete some later!
3. Experiment With Different Times Of Day
Some buildings look great in the day. Others will look better at night, or even during the dawn or dusk. Try a few different times to see what looks best.
4. Don’t Let The Weather Keep You Indoors
Rain, snow, sleet, fog – these weather conditions can all add a unique atmosphere to your photos.
5. Play With Different Lenses
You can use lenses of any type – including wide-angle and zoom lenses – for architectural photography. See which ones you like the most!
6. Focus On The Details Every Once In A While
Don’t just focus on the building itself. Go in for detail shots of lighting, unique patterns, and other cool features.
7. Change Your Perspective And Viewpoint
Get down on your knees for a “bug’s-eye” view, or shoot up the side of a building for a unique shot!
8. Use A Polarizing Filter
Polarizing filters help remove glare, which is important when shooting reflective buildings.
9. Bring Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
You don’t want to run out of space or have your camera shut down during your shoot!
10. Shoot At Night
Artificial lighting can bring out unique elements in some buildings, so try shooting at night.
11. Get Some Black-And-White Shots
Sometimes, black-and-white photos will bring the best out of a building.
12. Don’t Be Afraid Of Post-Processing
With a little processing in a program like Adobe Lightroom, a shot you thought was terrible can turn into a work of art!
13. Use A Long Exposure
Long exposures help capture movement and create an ethereal atmosphere around the building.
14. Capture Human Perspectives
Buildings wouldn’t exist without people – so make sure to capture a human perspective every once in a while!
15. Bring A High-Quality Tripod
Tripods are great for long exposures and keeping your camera steady and level during your shoot.
16. Be Patient And Take Your Time
Don’t rush. Be patient and methodical when shooting your building to get the best possible results!
17. Contrast With The Natural World
If you can, incorporating organic, natural things into your architectural photography provides a pleasing contrast.
18. Use The Rule Of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a great way to make sure your photo is visually interesting and complex!
19. Shoot During The “Golden Hour”
The reflections of the sun during the “golden hour” can lead to some breathtaking architectural shots. In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.
20. Find A Unique Location
Don’t want to shoot where everyone else has? Do some research and find a less well-known building to photograph!
21. Don’t Forget About The Interior
The inside of a building can be just as complex and visually interesting as the exterior.
22. Invest In A Drone
A drone lets you get some birds-eye-view shots that would be nearly impossible to get otherwise!
23. Fill The Entire Frame
When shooting a large building, filling the frame completely can create a unique sense of perspective.
24. Use A Wide Angle Lens To Capture A Bigger Picture
Wide angle lenses let you capture more of the area surrounding a building, or capture large, wide buildings in a single shot.
25. Do Some Research To Find Interesting Buildings
Half the battle is research! Get on Google Street View and start looking for the coolest buildings near you.
26. Tour The Area Without Your Camera
Just walking around a building helps you become more familiar with it before you start shooting.
27. Play With Reflections
Reflections in glass and windows can add another layer of complexity to your compositions.
28. Focus On Artificial Lighting
Shooting at night lets you capture the unique appearance and shadows provided by artificial lighting.
29. Take A Panorama
This is a great way to capture a wide building if you don’t have a wide-angle lens, or it’s not wide enough to capture the whole image.
30. Keep Your Camera Level To Avoid Distortion
If your camera is not level, the lines of the building will look odd and distorted.
31. Look Down From A High Perspective
Shooting straight down from a skyscraper or other tall building can provide a unique, vertigo-inducing effect – but stay safe!
32. Visit Each Location Multiple Times
Come back during different times of day, different weather conditions, and so on – this lets you capture diverse shots!
33. Play With Your Camera Settings
Adjust your shutter speed, aperture and other settings when shooting to change how your photos look.
34. Take Test Shots With Your Smartphone
Taking a few test snaps with your smartphone when you don’t have your camera lets you get a better idea of how a building will look when you shoot it.
35. Familiarize Yourself With Local Photography Laws/Regulations
Make sure you have permission to shoot on the property you want to take pictures of!
36. Prioritize Great Lighting
Lighting is everything in photography, so do your best to find the angle or area of the building where the lighting is the best.
37. Put Your Building In Context
Make sure your building is in context by capturing the other structures around it.
38. Do Some Historical Research
Knowing why a building looks the way it does or why it was built can help you get better shots.
39. Shoot With A Friend
Shooting with someone else can help you stay focused, and find unique shots you may otherwise have missed.
40. Be Prepared For The Weather
Know what kind of conditions to expect, and bring the proper supplies and dress accordingly to stay comfortable.
41. Use The Internet To Find Great Buildings To Shoot
Find where other photographers like shooting in your city, and you can get inspiration for your next architecture photography session!
42. Emphasize The Function Of A Building
For example, you can take a photo of an office building with workers going in and out, or a church with priests or attendees present.
43. Shoot During The “Blue Hour”
30 minutes before dusk and after dawn is the “blue hour” where the sky will be a dark blue. Architectural shots taken during this time have a very unique appearance, especially if artificial lighting is present!
44. Get Inspired By Other Photographers
Do some Googling and find the shots that other photographers have taken of your building or the city you’re in – and you can see where you’ll find great photo opportunities.
45. Look For Flaws And Imperfections
The little flaws, imperfections and damaged areas of a building can lead to some very evocative, interesting shots. Don’t just look for perfect areas – focus on the flaws, too!
46. Distort The Image On Purpose
Rules were made to be broken! Distorting an image by playing with your camera angle or using post-processing photos can help you create a beautiful work of art.
47. Review Your Images At Home (Not On Your Camera)
Don’t just review your shots on your camera before deleting them – it’s easier to tell if a shot is good or not at home, on a larger laptop or desktop screen.
48. Invest In Post-Processing Presets
A few post-processing presets for a program like Adobe Lightroom can help you quickly process batches of photos, and identify the best ones from your architectural photography session.
49. Look For Unique Patterns, Repetition
Human beings love patterns and repetition. They add visual interest to just about any subject – including buildings! So find areas with repetition like multiple columns, or repeated patterns.
50. Embrace The Journey!
You won’t be an architectural photography master after your first few trips. Like everything else, it takes time, effort and practice. So don’t worry about getting the perfect shot – embrace the journey and enjoy the process! You’ll improve over time, and that’s half the fun!
Follow These Tips For Better Architectural Photography
We hope these tips and tricks have been helpful. There’s a lot to take in – so read through these tips again, grab your camera, and head out to the building of your choice. The best way to get better at taking architectural photos is to practice! Thanks for reading, and happy shooting.