Photographers of architecture seek to accomplish a daring mission: to capture, in its purest light, an object that exponentially surpasses them in size, and often, grandeur.
Buildings are everywhere and everywhere are buildings. Whether we like it or not, our lives are structured by the architecture we inhabit. However, most of us don’t pay active attention to these buildings.
Some, creative and eager, though, are captivated by these very structures and seek to capture them in their most splendid lights. Enter: the architecture photographer.
Whether you’re looking to diversify your portfolio, practice perspective, or are hoping to build a career as an architecture photographer, there is always more to learn in the field of building photography.
We reached out to professional architecture photographers to see what tips they had to share.
What is architectural photography?
First thing is first: what is architectural photography?
The answer is pretty straight-forward. Architectural photography is photography that focuses on human-made structures.
These include the interior and exterior of buildings, cityscapes, and bridges. The photos highlight the lines of the structures, as well as the materials used, and their function and look in their respective environments.
Sometimes, photos also include humans or animals for scale and context.
Tips from an interior architectural photographer
Charlotte Taylor is an interior designer and creative director. She is part of dellostudio, an art and design studio based in London. Her work centers specifically around interior architectural photography.
“Personally, I am very interested in the layering of an image and finding a vantage point that allows you to capture this physical collage of architecture.”Charlotte Taylor
Her Instagram feed also highlights this sentiment. The images are layered with furniture or objects, drawing your eyes through the spaces. Naturally, your gaze also travels across this real-life collage.
Still, Taylor’s main tip for beginning architecture photographers is simple: “… carry your camera on you always.”
Basic, but essential, tips for beginners from an architectural photographer in London
Andrea Di Filippo is an architecture photographer who also is based in London.
Di Filippo also has many recommendations for newbie architecture photographers.
“Try to shoot with no shadows and so that the focus of your picture is straight,” Di Filippo wrote. He also stresses the importance of good lighting and perspective. “If you get those right when shooting you won’t have to do much editing later.”
“Give soul to your picture and capture a moment,” Di Filipo continues. Beginner photographers can achieve this by looking at the surroundings of the building.
“Lookout for small details that can enhance your photo so that you capture a moment rather than just a building, like a person walking by with a dog, some birds flying by.”Andrea Di Filippo
Architectural photography in Asia
Ricky Adrian, or Kie, is an architecture photographer based in Indonesia.
Similarly to Di Filippo, Kie highlights good lighting as essential for achitecture photographers.
“Photography is about lighting,” he writes.
“So, it’s important to know where and when the light (which is mainly from the sun) hits the building.”Ricky Adrian (Kie)
Kie encourages beginner photographers also to start right now with the tools that they have.
Shooting is the only way to build a portfolio and it “is also your chance to build your confidence and competence to shoot paid projects in the future.”
Specific photography tips from a Paris-based architecture photographer
JB Perraudin, a Paris-based architecture photographer, has technical suggestions for beginner photographers.
“To shoot architecture, it’s important to take a full-frame camera with a wide-angle lens, like a 12mm, so you can feel the structure of the building and the space in the rooms.”JB Perraudin
Structures are showcased in photography of his favorite spot to shoot: the Palace of Versailles.
Perraudin’s Instagram feed, filled with the golden interior of the formal royal residence, also supports his other advice.
“The tip I can give is to pay attention when shooting to the geometry of the room or the building you shoot… you always have a better result by taking your camera at 90 degrees related to the ground.”JB Perraudin
Armed with these tips and tricks from architectural photography pros, you’re probably itching to go out and shoot.
The first step to being a successful photographer in architecture? Get out and shoot
The good thing about our lives as they relate to architecture is that we don’t need to go far to find our next subject.
Grab a camera, get masked, and go get those shots. And always remember that you have these tips from passionate and professional photographers in architecture to get you on the right track.