Architecture Photography - Tips, Tricks & Getting Started

Architecture Photography - Tips, Tricks & Getting Started

architecture photography for beginners

Architecture Photography

Taking photographs of structures, buildings, or other man-made designs.

Do Your Research

Background information can be fun to learn about, it can motivate you, and lead to inspiration in your photography projects.

Research how other photographers have worked in the area. Explore as many previous photographs as you can.  This is a great starting point that may help you find a unique perspective on things.

Do NOT Stay In One Place- Walk Around!

  • Walk around.  Look up. Look down. Go inside.
  • Find details, angles, and unique lines.
  • If there is an elevator, take it to the top and look! 
  • If there is a building across the street, see if there is a view from over there.
  • The top floor of a parking structure is a terrific place for urban views, skylines and architecture photography.

Go Back

Revisit a location multiple times in different conditions. You may have learned something on your first trip that’s important for a second trip.

A photo of a bridge in the middle of the day, with harsh light and crowds of people, makes for a cluttered image.

That same bridge just before a storm, with one person running across it with a ripped umbrella, makes for a dramatic photo!

Camera Gear

It’s easy to overthink this. Start with your favorite camera and lens to capture the scene. 

THEN JUST GO!

Perspective & Distortion

Often in architecture photography, you will be shooting with wide-angle lenses and normal angle lenses. The wider you shoot, the more perspective and distortion issues you will have.

Key Stoning Example

Due to the distance between your camera and the subject, and the camera's low position relative to the subject, photographs of buildings can look like they are leaning over.

This is called key-stoning!

You can try getting up higher, or use lens correction tools when editing.  Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop have filters and tools to correct many perspective and distortion issues.

Camera Settings

ISO

Use a lower ISO for a higher quality image. More quality means you will have room to edit and process images in post-production. Lower ISO settings will reduce noise, offer better color depth, and produce a less grainy image.

Aperture

Try closing your aperture and get the whole scene in acceptable focus.

Open it for close-up, more detailed shots with some bokeh (blur in the background).

Shutter Speed

Low light shots of the interior of a building or an exterior shot at night are still possible!

Try slowing down your shutter speed and using a tripod.

Color Balance

Especially in downtown areas, be mindful of artificial light sources and compensate with color balance settings.  These are in your menu system, and not hard to find!

Framing

Think on a large and small scale. You can photograph the whole building or part of the building. You can create tension/drama by shooting at a very close distance. Then relieve that tension by shooting from further away.

Architecture Photo Tips & Tricks

  • FILL THE FRAME - Lines, details, angles, colors & shapes.
  • STAY LEVEL - Watch your horizon line.
  • INCLUDE PEOPLE - Having lots of people in your scene can clutter up the image. However, a lack of human element may fail to tell the story of what’s going on there. Try adding just one person or a small group of people for scale or to explain the purpose and function of the building.
  • REFLECTIONS - Add to the frame with reflections. Don't get caught in one!

Get Out & Shoot

Not everyone works every day on paid photography assignments. Most of us do not have a camera bag full of expensive gear.

Do not get hung up on this!

Some photographers have all the gear in the world but lack ideas, a creative eye, or just plain old willingness to start!

Focusing too much on cameras & gear will keep new photographers from ever leaving the house.  For some of us, the hardest part of any project is simply starting.



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