9 Architectural Photography Tips for Amazing Shots

9 Architectural Picture taking Tips for Stunning Shots

tips for beautiful architectural photos

Want to improve your new photography? In this article, I talk about my 9 best tips for incredible architectural images. You’ll discover:

If you’re ready to take system photos like a pro, then simply let’s dive right within!

1 . Discover different perspectives for breathtaking compositions

Architectural photography beginners tend to take from eye level – and while you can catch decent images with this technique, you can often enhance your pictures by trying out a different perspective.

For instance, you can get down low and point your camera upward for a worm’s-eye look at. It’ll let you incorporate lots of beautiful sky into your composition, and if you use a wide-angle lens, you’ll make buildings appear unimaginably large (even foreboding).

Personally, I like a worm’s-eye view for photographing taller structures. It’s also a great way to emphasize interesting ceiling features when shooting building interiors , although make sure you use your wide-angle lens for the best results.

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

You can also create fascinating architectural photos by using a bird’s-eye view, where you shoot down from high above. To pull off this perspective, you need to find a way to get above your own subjects, and in certain situations, it can be pretty tough. Some serious architectural photographers work together with drones or from airplanes, but if you’re not ready to take that step, you will get similar results by shooting smaller buildings from the top of a parking garage or declaration deck.

2 . Try infrared photography for any unique effect

Infrared architectural photography isn’t the most popular technique on the block, but when done right, it can appearance incredible . It’s a great way to make your own architectural shots stand out:

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

Now, this style of photography does work much better outdoors and in places with plants. I don’t recommend using infrared techniques to photograph, say, church interiors – at least not at first. But infrared works great on exteriors, and it has the potential to turn a standard scene into a stunning dreamscape.

How can you create the infrared look? You have a couple of options. You can use an infrared filter, which works yet will often require very lengthy exposure times. Alternatively, you can pay to have your camera converted for infrared pictures; this is the most reliable method, however that the converted camera can only shoot in infrared – you can’t switch back and forth between infrared and non-infrared imaging. A third option is to create the effect in post-processing .

Personally, I’d recommend you start with an infrared filter or use the post-processing method. Then, if you like your initial results, consider having to pay to have a camera converted. This way, you can have a bunch of infrared photography fun!

3. Paint light to get breathtaking architectural photography

I’m a huge enthusiast of light painting ; it’s easy to do, it’s fun, and you could use it to capture mind-blowing effects:

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

The idea is to set up the long-exposure image – for this, you’ll need a tripod and a remote release – after that shine a light on or even around the architectural subject. You will have to work at night (otherwise the sunshine won’t show up), and you can get very different effects simply by varying the lighting device and the lighting intensity.

Note that the particular painted light will often turn into a compositional element in and of alone. Like an actual painter, you will need to carefully position your “brush-strokes” to give maximum effect; try using the light to form a leading line or even to frame the architecture (I used the latter technique in the picture above! ).

Here are a few light-painting tools you should think about:

  • A flashlight is your simplest option. You can use it to create patterns (by moving the flashlight in front of the camera), or you can use it in order to light up a section of the structures you wish to photograph. (For especially interesting results, try adding colorful gels in front of the beam! )
  • A light source on a string can look solid, plus it can get you some extra elevation (always useful when working with tall buildings! ). I recommend braiding your light source – like a glow stick – to the string, then spinning this through the air while using photos. But remember to position the particular resulting light strategically within the frame.
  • An LED light stick is a lot more sophisticated method of light protecting. Certain light sticks really allow you to program colors and patterns; you can wave the programmed stick around your susceptible to create glowing shapes, red flags, and more. With light stays, the sky is the limit!

four. Kinetic light painting

Kinetic lighting painting is much like the standard light-painting techniques We shared above, but with the twist:

Instead of moving the light source , you proceed the camera .

It could be pretty experimental, and not most locations are suited to this style. But if you put in enough time and effort, you will eventually come away which includes amazing photos.

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

How does kinetic light painting work? You can find two main techniques (both of which require a tripod along with a remote release):

  • Zoom burst open . For a zoom-burst impact, you’ll need to set up your own camera, dial in a long shutter velocity , then zoom your own lens before the image is definitely complete. I’d recommend utilizing a 24-70mm lens (you need plenty of focal length flexibility), though kit lenses work great for this, too. In my experience, the zoom-burst technique works best for tall buildings that are lighted up by lots of interior building lights.
  • Camera rotation . To pull off this technique, you’ll need to use a long shutter speed, then rotate your cameraround the tripod head as you shoot. That’s how I captured the image featured above; I dialed in a lengthy exposure, I triggered the shutter, then I rotated the particular camera, stopping every so often for any sharper view of the building. I especially like to utilize the camera-rotation technique when capturing up at tall structures.

5. Use a crystal ball regarding stunning refraction effects

It may be unorthodox, yet photographing with a crystal ball can give you some wild results!

Right here, you simply shoot through a glass ball and rely on the refraction to create a very cool seem:

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

Note that buildings will appear upside-down in the crystal ball, so you will either need to compose knowing that, or flip the image in post-processing (that’s what I do for the photo above! ).

Pro tip: Don’t rely purely on the crystal ball in order to capture a great image. Rather, make sure you carefully choose your subject and create a great composition – then let the incredible effect act as the icing on the cake!

6. Don’t forget about the system details

Most architectural photographers try to capture an entire building – or even an entire skyline – in a single image.

But if you really want to tell the story of the architecture, it often helps you to zoom in on the information. Bring a longer lens, so when you’re done capturing the particular grander scene, switch on over. (I’d recommend a 70-200mm lens, which will offer plenty of flexibility; you can capture larger details at 70mm, then zoom in to 200mm to highlight intricate elements. )

Note that architectural detail pictures don’t have to stand on their own. For instance, you are able to combine wider images with a few detail shots to tell the story of an entire structure.

So the next time you head out to picture architecture, keep an eye out for interesting details! I recommend looking for lines and curves (like arches in a church), ornate decorations on walls, and patterns in the roofing.

Also, pay careful attention to the lighting, especially if you’re photographing building exteriors. Different sunlight positions will emphasize or deemphasize certain elements, so by working at the correct time of day, you can get the precise impact you’re after.

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

7. Use blending to nail your exposures

Cameras are equipped for capturing a limited tonal range, which means that, when faced with the dark interior and vivid windows, or a dark constructing and a bright sunset, your own camera will overexpose the bright areas and/or underexpose the dark areas.

Unfortunately, overexposure and underexposure look terrible, and in the worst cases, you won’t be able to fix the issue in post-processing. So what do you do?

I recommend you use an exposure blending technique, which is simpler than it sounds. Set your own camera on a tripod, then capture several images from different exposures. The convention is to capture three shots – one exposing for your dark areas, one revealing for the bright areas, and something exposing for the midtones – though you may need to capture a lot more images if the scene can be unusually contrasty.

Finally, blend the different exposures together in a program such as Lightroom or Photoshop (most post-processing software can do this for you automatically! ). You’ll end up with an image full of lovely shadow and highlight fine detail:

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

eight. Look for contrast

Contrast is a great way to improve your executive photography – because by incorporating contrast into your shots, you can create lots of eye-catching attention.

Now, “contrast” is a broad term, and you will apply it in several different ways (all of which look amazing! ).

First, you can look for tonal contrast – that is, contrasting light and shadow. You’ll frequently find this on shiny, sunny days. The sun will highlight certain parts of a building and hide others, creating an interesting graphic effect. (This is a great way to enhance your abstract architectural photos, by the way! )

You can even look for color contrast. Here, a color wheel is often helpful, and it will display pairs of contrasting (opposite) shades: green and red, crimson and yellow, blue plus orange. While it can be challenging to find architecture featuring different colors, you can always position your self so that one colorful developing is juxtaposed with another colorful building.

Finally, you can look for the contrast offered by old plus new architecture. You might shoot an old and a new building side by side, or you might capture an old building surrounded simply by new buildings (such as being a church surrounded by modern skyscrapers).

9. Use framing to gain levels your compositions

Framing is a classic compositional method, and it works great for photographing architecture.

The idea is simple: Find a fascinating building, then frame this with elements in the front-end, such as another building, the doorway, fencing wire, or even tree branches.

The tough part can be finding a frame, but if you are familiar with common framing devices, you’ll often be able to shop around and spot one instantly . And when you can’t find a frame, do not fret; you can always introduce a single by holding something in front of the camera, like a handful of blossoms.

In addition, you don’t necessarily need to start by finding a building in support of then add a frame. You can do the reverse: first discover an interesting frame, such as a good archway. Then move your own cameraround to see whatever you can fit within it!

9 Architectural Photography Tips for Stunning Shots

Architectural photography tips: final words

Now that you have finished this article, you know learn how to capture beautiful architectural photos.

So get out with your camera! Discover some buildings! And make use of these tips to create stunning photos.

Now over to you:

Which of these architectural photography tips is your favorite? Which will you incorporate into your workflow? Share your thoughts in the feedback below!






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Simon Bond

Simon Bond

is an expert in creative photography strategies and is well known for their work with a crystal ball. His work has featured magazines including National Geographic Traveller. With over 8 many years of experience in lensball picture taking, Simon is an expert within this field. Get some great ideas by installing his free e-book!
Do you want to learn about crystal ball photography? He has a training course just for you! Get 20% off: DPS20.

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