Are you looking for a few tips to improve your architectural photography skills? Look no further! Here are 10 tips written by professional photographer (and regular Telephoto.com contributor) David Taylor. All of the photos are by Jason Friend.
Look for interesting reflections to add an extra element to your architectural shots. Reflections in large bodies of water can be used to create symmetrical compositions. Glass is another reflective medium that can add interest to a photo. Look for the reflections of one building in the windows of a neighbouring building.
Three Legs Good
There’s nothing wrong shooting architecture handheld – it adds spontaneity to your photography. However, using a tripod has a number of benefits. As well as avoiding the risk of camera – particularly when shooting indoors – it will slow you down and force you to think harder about your compositions.
An Eye for Detail
Architectural photography isn’t just about shooting buildings in their entirety. Details are important, and help to tell the full story of a building too. Telephoto lenses are ideal for this purpose as they help you crop out distracting elements, to concentrate on your chosen detail.
Crowds of people milling around a building can add useful scale to a shot, but they can also make the image look cluttered. Using a 10-stop filter to increase shutter speed longer than 30 seconds is a simple way to reduce people to an impressionistic blur, or even remove them from the shot entirely.
Bright sunny days aren’t ideal for shooting interiors, particularly if the sun is streaming through a room’s windows. Shoot on lightly overcast days when the contrast levels are lower, and use off-camera flash to boost the light levels in the room.
Buildings look great when lit at night. The key is to shoot when there is still light and colour in the sky, so that rooflines don’t get lost against a black background. Dusk is the ideal time for ‘night’ photography, roughly 20-30 minutes after sunset.
Architectural photos can be made more dynamic by deliberately shooting at extreme angles with a wide-angle lens. Try shooting buildings by pointing your camera directly upwards. This works particularly well when shooting skyscrapers, and will create an interesting and dynamic perspective.
Avoid converging verticals by setting your camera up so that it’s parallel to your subject. This is made easier if you use a spirit level, either fitted to the hot shoe of the camera, or one that’s built into your camera.
Sunrise and Sunset
The warm light that occurs at either of the day is as good for architecture as it is for landscapes or portraiture. Stone buildings can look especially attractive washed in golden hour light. Use predictive photography apps to determine where the sun rises or sets relative to your intended subject.
Social media and the Internet in general are great resources to find out more about a location before you set off to shoot it. Looking at the photography of others will give you an idea of what you can see and what any potential challenges you may encounter. Just be careful not to copy someone else’s idea!
The above 10 tips were taken from the ‘101 TIPS TO MAKE BETTER PHOTOS’ ebook.
If you would like to find out what the other 91 photography tips are, please click here to download a free copy of the book.