The modern world is full of architectural structures. There are many buildings and megastructures around us. If we want to take landscape, then we usually try to go somewhere outside the city and search for a quiet place full of natural things. But architecture photography is such photography for which you don’t need to leave your town.
You can even do it in your house where you are living. If you don’t have mega structures for architectural photography, then there are many things within the house you live in. A bridge nearer to your home can be the subject for good architecture photography.
Best Architecture Photography Tips
This article will give a few ideas about architecture photography which will help you to start and increase your skill. Most of the things are common like Landscape Photography with very few exceptions. Even though I will be discussing all those regarding tips. Hope you will be capturing lovely architecture photography by utilizing the tips mentioned in the article.
1. Take Wide Lens for Architecture Photography
Go close and take the whole. How can you do that? Take a wide lens or a Fish Eye lens. It will allow you to take all in one frame if you have a lense like 11-16mm, 14-24mm or anything closer or more than that. It will give you the flexibility to take the photo with more details. Even if you want to make a small part, it will let you take the image from a very close distance. As a result, you will get many details about the subject.
2. Never Forget To Use A Tripod
Like other photography, architecture photography also demands the depth of field. To get that depth you need to set your lens in a narrow aperture. Which ultimately requires a bit slower shutter speed. So no chance of shaking hands. And there is a solution we all know. Use a good quality tripod which can provide you to set your camera at any angle. Remember that your small shake of the hand can spoil the photo.
3. Study The Structure Before Doing Architecture Photography
For architectural photography studying the subject, or the structure is very important. The more you consider the issue more you know the angle to be taken for the perfect photo. For example: if you are in a palace and planning for photography then roam around. Go to the top, bottom, side. Go to east, west, north, and south. Your visit and study will tell you what to do. Again go close and far. Architecture photography is such which have no limit. It has many point from where you can capture. All will be different and unique.
4. Get Depth Of Field
Select a narrow aperture size of your lens. You can make it f/9, f/16 even more. It will provide you the depth of field. In architecture photography, we need all the parts to focus on. To get it correctly done we need to get much depth of field.
It can be achieved by selecting a narrow aperture of the lens. We need to remember that more we widen our aperture the focus point becomes stronger and it will provide an image with less depth of field. In a simple language, one part of the image will become clear, and others will be the blur.
5. Shoot Architecture Photography During The Golden Hour
The golden hour is a golden gift from nature for the photographer. Like other photography, the golden hour is a blessing for architectural photography. It is best to select the golden hour for this photography. The golden hour will provide you with different colors, shades, lights and overall a combination of all.
Golden hour is considered as the immediate hours after first light and next hours before the last light. For finding out the Golden Hour, you can search the internet. During this time the sun shines from an inclined position, and it is not too intense which will overexpose the photograph.
6. Follow the Rule of Thirds For Architecture Photography
As a photographer, we all know the rule of thirds. If you do not know, then I give you the basic idea about the rule of thirds. If we trisect the frame of our camera both laterally and vertically, then both the lateral and the vertical lines will intersect in four points.
While looking towards images human eyes look at these points. So when you take any picture to try to keep the main subject of your frame on those intersections. And try to keep the whole subject on the lies. It will make your photo a meaningful one.
7. Select A Good Foreground
If there is a foreground with the structure then we have to select it carefully. We have to keep it in mind that the foreground is the first thing which will catch the eye as it is closest to the frame. In this case, you can keep some ground structures or patterns in the foreground.
You can also keep something which reflects the main subject or structure of your frame. For this purpose always make sure that you have kept your foreground below the lower lateral line of the frame according to the rule of thirds. Again, don’t be a slave of the rule. But know the rule before you break it.
8. Take Converging Lines/ Patterns
If you stand close to most of the architectural structure you will find that there are are some lines. And those lines tend to meet one place or they are converging to a common point. Try to capture those converging lines in the frame.
Modern structures often maintain some lines. If you go to a place like model towns or residential areas where all the buildings are high rise buildings, then you will see the converging lines just after looking up.
9. Get Inside
Never forget to get inside. If you are shooting a building, then get inside as well. Check the stairs, patterns of the columns. Always look for something which has a long length. The interior has a different view. The settings of the interior are stories. Interior of a house tells the story of a family or a person. Interior of a building which is not a personal property tells the story of the culture and tradition. Architecture photography from the inside at this moment will serve two purposes.
10. Utilize the Nature and Atmosphere as Design
When you shoot a structure from outside then utilize the atmosphere and nature. Clouds can change the dimension of your photograph. The shining sun at the back of the structure, blue sky, white clouds, snow etc will add an extra beauty to your photography.
So, while doing the photography for architecture do utilize the atmosphere. Architectural structures are sometimes made in unusual areas. So don’t omit the nature from the frame because the structure is looking beautiful because of the presence of nature. Otherwise, it could be in some other place.
11. Change Angle
Never become rigid while you photograph. If you don’t change your position or change the angle then after going to the room, you will see all the pictures are the same. It is a result of not doing the study of the structure. As I mentioned earlier, you must study the structure and change the position or angle which you could asses while studying architecture. It also includes the use of the vertical orientation of the frame.
12. Go Near High Rise and Look Up
Nowadays high rise buildings are enormous in number. There are many tall rise buildings around us. In some places, they are more in number standing together. Some high rise buildings are much higher than the surroundings.
You can go there and look up. Roam around those buildings. You will find many angles to shoot your photo. It will also provide you with many lines seems to converge together. For this type of photography try to use fisheye or wide lens.
13. Shoot at Night and Take the Sky
Earlier I have discussed using nature and atmosphere. Shooting at night is a derivative of this if you take the sky at the back. During the night there will be stars in the sky, or there will be the moon. You can very easily include those in your frame with the structures.
These will give your photo a different dimension. You may also try to shoot the galaxy with the structure. Like you are taking the photo of pyramids keeping the milky way at the background. So it will serve two photographs together. One is architecture photography, and another is night sky photography.
14. Utilize the Light of the Structure
All modern architectural structures are enlightened with numerous lights. For the beautification of the many exterior lights are also used. These lights at night give the structure a new dimension. Not only this, but the old great architectural structures are also decorated with many beautiful lights.
So you can shoot at night, and this light will give a very different photo than the one which you tried during the day. You may get many more angles for taking the picture at night.
15. Find a Unique Angle
Here again, comes the matter of study of the structure. You will get many angles to shoot the photo. But find a different perspective which is not usual but beautiful to look. We usually see the structures from standing heights. Sometimes we do see towards them from sitting position. Have you ever tried from the ground level? If not then try it. You don’t need to lie down and become a clown in front of everyone. Just go to live mode and place the camera on the ground after inverting the display. That will give you the idea of the angle
16. Fly and Capture
This is a bit expensive idea. If you have a drone, then you may go for the aerial shot of the architectural structures. It will add a total exceptional dimension to your photography. Again if you are flying with aircraft, you can take a photo from there.
If you can manage an aircraft which will fly according to your will, then you will be able to capture many photos unique. But normally scheduled aircraft will not provide you with this facility. However, taking a picture from a speedy plane is not that easy. A drone is best for this.
17. Go to the Old
Old is gold. So why to leave that? If you have something ancient in nature, then rush. Before going there check the photographs of that place from google. That will give you ideas about the area. It should not be considered as copying someone’s opinion. Instead, it will help you to make a new plan by enriching your knowledge.
Old and ancient structures catch the attraction of people. Their smallest pieces are sometimes a matter of photography. Even the walls are like a page. Those are the stories.
18. Use Filter
I have already mentioned that we have to have the depth of field. For good depth, we have to narrow the aperture. Then we need a slower shutter speed. Again if the light is too intense then what to do? You can use an ND filter for this. If you are planning to have a reflection of the structure from the water or if you want to avoid unnecessary reflection from many reflectors then use a polarizing filter. ND filter will make your photo calm, and the polarized filter will remove the disturbing reflections from the photo.
19. Take the Shade
Don’t forget to include the shade of the structure. During the golden hour, you will find the shadows of the structures. Keep them in your frame. But do not take the photo from the shade of the structure. If there are continuous patterns which provide shade, then take those. Like if there are many pillars in a line then they will provide shades if there is sun outside. These will make a pattern. Try to capture that.
20. Shoot RAW Architecture Photography
RAW is always better than JPEG. It provides much more details than the JPEG format. An image edited from RAW is still better than an image edited from JPEG format. If you are planning to edit your photo by using a computer then obviously shoot at RAW. RAW format always takes more space than JPEG but provides a good image quality with more details. RAW will give maximum information about the photo.
21. Add Light Trails for Architecture Photography
What about adding light trails with the structures? If you are photographing an architectural structure beside a road, then utilize the lights of the vehicles by taking the light paths of the place. Go for long exposure and shoot.
For shooting this kind, you must ensure that the structure provides enough lights which are sufficient enough to declare it’s the presence in the frame. Also, remember that your primary focus is architecture photography. Though this kind of photography will serve both purposes of Light Trail Photography and Architecture Photography.
22. Take Reflection and Invert the Image
Sometimes you will find tiny objects nearby which will give the reflection of a huge structure. For example, there may be some steal balls which may provide the reflection of the whole structure nearby.
There may be some water on the road which may also give the reflection of any structure. You may take the photo of that and then invert the whole image. You may also take both reflection and the real structure together and finally reverse that.
23. Don’t Only Remain with the Buildings
Around you; there are many architectural structures. Don’t only remain tight with the buildings alone. There are bridges or any monuments around. Never forget to shoot those. You may also make a combination of all.
But keep everything simple. Don’t make your frame a puzzle. There are many things to shoot in a hanging bridge. If you are capturing those, then don’t add something more with that. Remain focused on that only. Otherwise, the picture will be very critical.
The Last Words about Architecture Photography
Photography is an art, and art is the result of beautiful mind work. Architecture photography also demands a brilliant mind as it is also an art. Don’t always follow the rules. Rules and tips are just kind of guidelines but never the only way. So don’t be rigid with the rules and tips. You can anytime go out of all the rules and tips. But tips and regulations will give you the idea for the beginning. When you make a beautiful photo by using your idea leaving other thoughts, then your thoughts will become a new rule. But you need to know the rules before you break it.
Architecture photography has enormous ideas. It’s all about your vision and discovery. You need to discover such an angle which is uncommon and unique. For making good architecture photography always visit the place in details both inside and outside. I think this is essentially most of the good architecture photography.