Architectural photography is a field of photography that focuses on buildings and their designs. It’s typically in high demand and requires a specialist skillset that’s different from other types of photography.
There are many reasons to use an architectural photographer, and this is one activity that can be tough for amateurs to learn. In this article, we’ll explore what architectural photography is and how you can do it right.
Why Do You Need Architectural Photography?
- Selling homes. Although real estate photography can be considered its own distinct field, selling any building can always benefit from a good architectural photographer. You’ll get high-quality, flattering, detailed photographs of the building you’re putting on the market, standing out from competitors and catching the attention of your prospective buyers.
- For art. Architecture can be stunningly beautiful. From the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Empire State Building, well-designed structures have a way of capturing our imagination and leading to wonderful works of art. Good architectural photographers know how to capture and enhance the beauty of these buildings to create dazzling images.
- To promote architecture firms. As an architecture firm, your best asset is, of course, the buildings you have designed. Professional photographs can help firms show off their past successes in brochures, large images, online galleries, and more to spread the word and promote their expertise.
- To apply for awards. There are many awards aimed at architects, and good photographs can boost an architect’s chances of gaining recognition and winning. Only a skilled professional can capture their work in the best possible light.
How To Do Architectural Photography Right
Choose the Right Equipment like Cameras and Lenses
The correct gear is essential for architectural photography. For example, tilt-shift lenses are commonly used in this field because they allow you to adjust the angle of the lens independently of the camera. This makes it easier to photograph tall buildings without distortion.
Unlike many photography subjects, buildings are much harder to manipulate lighting for. They’re outdoors, they’re big, and you can’t just move them into a different room. Good architectural photographers understand how lighting works and how to use it to maximum effect when taking photos of structures. For example, architectural photographers will often shoot at various times of the day to make sure they capture the building in the optimum natural lighting.
They Can Find The Right Angles
Buildings are large, often asymmetrical, and can look very different from one angle to another. Good architectural photography is all about finding the right angles to showcase a building in the best way, deciding which of the almost infinite options are best. This kind of awareness is usually built up over many years of experience and can be tough to learn.
They Know What Details To Focus On
Just like with angles, buildings have an almost endless list of different details and features that a photographer can hone in on. The best architectural photographers have a sense of which ones to bring into the foreground and highlight in order to produce the best photos.
Capture The Essence and ‘Personality’ of The Building
What makes a specific building unique and special? What makes it different from all the others around it? Understanding these distinctions is important if you want to create a truly original photo that captures the essence of the building in question. It helps to understand the history of the building and how it fits into its surroundings. Know the story behind the building, and find out how to reflect that in a photograph.
Include People If It Helps (It Often Does)
Buildings don’t exist in isolation — they were almost all made by people, for people. This is why it’s important to consider the people around the building when taking photos. If the building is usually surrounded by people, it doesn’t make sense to try and remove them from the photo — they’re an important part of what makes the building special and can lend important character to the end result.
Use HDR Images
High Dynamic Range (HDR) images are perfect for architectural photography. These photos help capture details and make your photos richer and bringing the various elements in the scene together in a pleasing way.
Why Work With a Professional?
Architectural photography is tough. Capturing a unique and complimentary perspective on a building comes with many challenges, and it takes a lot of skill and experience to do this effectively. What’s more, this branch of photography often comes with high stakes — valuable sales, big-name awards, and impressive works of art.
I’ve been taking architectural photos for a range of clients for many years. To find out how I can help you, get in touch.