Categorized | Learn Photography

Tips for Better Architectural Photography

Frank Gehry Tower © by emmett.hume

Whether you’re trying to capture the beauty of classical architecture or something more contemporary, architectural photography can be pretty challenging. If you really find the right way to go about it though, it can be a very rewarding area of photographic art. Here are a few little tips to help you find your architectural photography groove.

When you take pictures of buildings, you need to pay attention to how the texture of the building needs to come through. People don’t usually think about textures when they think of buildings. Texture is a word they usually just associate with skin or fabric – not buildings.

Make sure that the texture of the materials of the building comes through, and pay a lot of attention to the direction the light comes from. Not only can this do a lot for the appearance of texture, it can do a lot for your contrast and reflections too.

Another thing you can do is to try multiple exposures. You can take bracketed shots, one each for the highlights, the shadows and the midtones. Later, you can go to Photomatix and merge them all.

Buildings are large (see, where else would you learn this valuable tip); anyway, what that means is, that if you really want to capture the textures, shadows and reflections, coming close enough that you’ll be able to capture all of that will mean you only get a small part of the building in your frame. What is the way out of this?

The way is to use a wide-angle lens – even a fisheye lens. If your frame is such that even a wide-angle lens can’t capture enough of the building at one go, using your camera’s panoramic format can help. You even get this mode on small cameras these days. This is where you engage the mode and then move your camera across the entire scene. Your camera will stitch everything together into one seamless extra-long panoramic shot and software.

Architectural photography isn’t merely about capturing the outside either. When you go indoors though, it can be difficult to really capture the natural color and form of the building without the use of artificial lighting. Apart from that little flash in your camera though, where are you going to find powerful enough lighting that can light up the entire building’s interior?

Well, you could go in a time when there is a degree of natural lighting coming in or when there is a certain amount of artificial lighting turned on as well. And then, for whatever is still left wanting in the lighting department, you could use the White Balance function. You could also use long exposure to make up for the lack of light. You especially need to do this in older buildings that have small windows and little natural light.

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