The Ultimate Guide to Architectural Photography
In a general sense, each and everything in this universe is designed in precise shape and formation. Everything comes under architecture in that way. However, usually we call structural design as architecture. When we talk about architecture, photography of architectural establishments pop up into our mind. This trend of capturing buildings and other establishments in frames has been popular for decades. There are several reasons behind this trend of photography– to uphold the aesthetic value of a building, to share ideas among photographers, for house rent agencies, for project work etc. In this article we will go through the basics of architectural photography.
Before going into detail, let us look at two different types of architectural photography– exterior and interior. Although, both of the types are aesthetically similar, there are few features that they follow separately.
Exterior/Outdoor Architectural Photography
This type of photography presents the outlook of an establishment. Like any other photography, lighting is the key element for architectural photography. The thing that makes architectural photography a crucial one is the connection between light and theme of the subject, because as the light and shadow change, the mood of the photo also changes. Daylight/sunlight is the key source of lighting in exterior photography. However, there are other source of lights as well, especially during the night.
Moonlight, street light, adjacent building light, exterior light etc. are too a great source of lighting. Not only the lighting, but the surrounding is also an important element for this kind of photography. Photographers usually prefer taking pictures in a composition. Compositions may include, garden, walkway, background landscape etc. All the elements should be in harmony.
Interior/Indoor Architectural Photography
This photography primarily presents the shapes and formation of the inner space of an establishment. There are many scopes of experiment in interior photography. Every space is different from the other, and therefore, the angles and point of view will differ too.
Since the interior is mostly deprived of adequate sunlight except windows and other few sources, for proper illumination different light arrangements are required. The lightings sources may vary according to photographer’s idea, the way she wants to look at things or may present the things.
Now, here is a list of things that you can keep in mind if you really crave for architectural photography.
Collect Your Equipment and Gears
It is obvious that for large subjects, you need a big frame. For architectural photography, you should have a wide angle, and an ultra-wide angle lens so that you can accommodate your subject the way you want.
With wide angles come glare and reflection as side effects. In order to reduce this glare problem, you must use a polarizing filter. Study on the aperture level and other features, so that you can apply them to get sharper images because in architecture, your composition should reflect the curves and borders perfectly.
Needless to say, you’ll need a DSLR camera for all those features described above. Remember for carry spare batteries and memory cards while roaming around.
A Single Subject in Many Weathers
As said earlier, weather can change the mood of the subject. The message can be changed entirely in the subject if shot in different weather composition. An establishment in sunlight will definitely be different in rains or in gloomy weather.
Similarly, a shot in the snowy winter will be far from what you’ll get in a sunny summer. So, you must come back to your subjects in regular intervals to get different outlooks.
Try Unusual Point of Views
Always following the traditional rules of photography does not create anything outstanding. Think out of the box, experiment with the angles and point of view, and bring variety to your photography.
Whether it’s bug’s eye view or a bird’s eye view, as long as you are doing it properly, your photographs will definitely reflect the message you’re trying to convey. Improvise your shots, experiment with the level you’re photographing from. A slight rotation of angle or level up and down can bring a whole new definition of photography.
Pay Attention to Your Composition
Composition is everything. How good a composition can be, it solely depends on you. Without a great combination of light, subject, and camera angle, a perfect composition is difficult to get.
Explore other great work by famous and award winning architectural photographers. They will give you some idea of how a great photo can be composed. Walk around and look for perfect subject in ever perfect moment. The more you explore, the more chances you get to capture dreamily composed image.
Don’t Overlook the Lighting
We have talked much about lighting in the exterior and interior section. Still it is worth mentioning again that without the knowledge of lights and shadows a great photograph is impossible.
Architecture is all about aesthetics. So, an aesthetically rich photo should have proper harmony of lights and shadows. Otherwise, it won’t pop out even if the photography equipment or the angle is perfect.
‘Black and White’ or ‘Color’
There is a unique kind of elegance in black and white pictures. ‘B&W’ is one of the most popular type of photography which is widely practiced among all types of photographers. A subject will look different in color photo and in a B&W photo.
The entire message will be different in two pictures. Plus, in architectural sense, B&W photographs provide sharper lines of the borders to make the contrast even more visible. So, it’s the photographer who will choose which one she/he may need to convey the message.
It’s Okay to Use Post-Processing/Software
Not all the time you get to edit your pictures due to lack of time or other schedule. It those circumstances, you can give your photographs to image processing service providers with proper instructions. They use software like Photoshop, Gimp, Lightroom etc. These software enhance your photographs more and take the best of it. There are some photographers who can use these software, and most of them are not comfortable with these. Even if you know how to use, there is a big change you lack time, because you’re a photographer, not an image editor. So, the best thing is to handover your photos to any image processing company to get perfect output in a minimum time and cost.
In the end, all you need to know is, there are some photographs that remain aesthetically valuable for years. Architectural Photography is one of those valuable types of photography since it is considered timeless. Since the establishments are static and you’re mobile, the job is up to you. It is you who will move around the buildings, roam around the streets and try to see things from every angle possible. It is you, as a photographer, to discover the true aesthetical value of structures.