7 Fantastic Architectural Photography Tips

Architectural photography tips to improve your photography skills

Done well, architectural photography helps us to record a moment in time, where the built environment is captured in a certain light and angle. In this article, we share seven fantastic architectural photography tips.

In a nutshell, they are;

  • Find the perfect angle
  • Focus on the smaller details
  • Shoot the same location at different times
  • Try including people in the shot
  • Experiment with post-processing tools
  • Research the location before you shoot
  • Keep on revisiting the site

No matter whether you are a beginner or have been shooting architecture for years, these tips were written to have something for everyone, no matter the skill or experience.

Find the perfect angle

As photographers, we all know about the importance of angles when shooting a photograph. However it becomes even more important with architecture, and hence this belongs high on our list of architectural photography tips.

When you are capturing photos of architecture, try to shoot from various different angles in order to find the best perspective. You will not be able to get the perfect shot immediately however once you get a perfect shot, the duration of time that you have spent won’t matter.

All you should try to do here is to expose the details of the structure that are not seen by people normally. It gives another level of beauty to the normal photo. 

Architectural photography tip: Finding detail

Focus on the smaller details

The majority of photographers use wide-angle lenses to shoot photos of architecture, which is perfectly fine in most cases. However, that doesn’t mean you should use wide-angle lenses only. Any architecture looks perfect when seen as a whole, however there are several tiny details in the structure that are completely lost when you capture the photo using a wide-angle lens.

You should try to capture those details using other lenses from the right angle. The fine details in most buildings are very much related to a particular concept, theory, or culture. Such an approach is very helpful in bringing the obscure facts about the architecture in front of normal people. 

Shoot the same location at different times

As you already know photography is all about light. When you are into architectural photography, you can’t create artificial lights for the subject especially in the daytime. Natural light is the only thing that can help you. In such a case, you should experiment with light by shooting the photo of the same location during different times of the day and even in different weather conditions. 

There are two benefits of doing it. The first benefit is that you will be able to get the perfect shot as you will learn about the effects of light. And the second thing is you will be able to integrate the architecture with the environment. 

In case you are shooting in the nighttime, you should always give priority to the lighting situation there. It is very important in getting the focus of viewers onto the subject. 

Try including people in the shot

Architecture sometimes doesn't seem natural if there are no people around. This is a thing that was avoided in earlier days however modern photographers have changed this style. As you already know that photos are used very often to tell a story.

When there are people near the architecture in the photo, it describes the moment. The actions of people help the viewer to perceive the photo as something living. Just ensure to get a model release form if you are planning to sell or license the image.

Now think of a photo of architecture where no one is present. It would seem more like a static, and uninteresting picture.

Architectural photography tip: Colour and light

Experiment with post-processing tools

No matter how good the photo you have captured, it is always important to introduce some modifications in order to make it perfect. This is the point where you try to tweak the photo in a way that makes it more suitable for the desired purpose.

Post processing software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. are affordable and easily accessible these days. You can use some other colour grading or specialist photography tools too if that serves your purpose.

One thing that you should keep in mind here is the limit. You should always keep an eye on what is the extent up to which the modifications are acceptable. Several times, remarkable photos are ruined because of excessive editing. Don’t let the natural feel and charm fade away even after post-processing. 

Research the location before you shoot

This is the first thing that you should keep in mind when you are looking for architectural photography tips. It will give you some insights into the structure and other relevant factors of the building. Apart from that, you should have a look at the history of the building.

When you have a good grasp of the historical background of the architecture, you can easily focus on the relevant details of the building. That knowledge is very important in helping you connect the photo with the culture. 

Keep on revisiting the site

You can’t be able to pinpoint every detail of architecture in one go. Finding more details and bringing that in front of people should be your main goal. You can do it if you revisit that site multiple times.

This way, you will find more intrinsic details in the building that was not apparent on your first visit. 

Architectural photography tip: Visiting at various times

Final words

Architectural photography gives us an opportunity to look at the architecture in a quite different way. And that way helps us capture the details of the architecture that we don’t usually see.

Just to recap, the seven architectural photography tips we shared, are;

  • Find the perfect angle
  • Focus on the smaller details
  • Shoot the same location at different times
  • Try including people in the shot
  • Experiment with post-processing tools
  • Research the location before you shoot
  • Keep on revisiting the site

We hope the above architectural photography tips have inspired you to think of your photography practice in a different way. All the best with your next shoot!


About the Author

Kara Terry is a Perth based writer and photographer who recently joined the Stockphoto.com team as Contributor Account Manager. Kara enjoys swimming and movies.