Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects.
The first permanent photograph, “View from the Window at Le Gras” by Nicéphore Niépce, was also the first architectural photograph as it was a view of buildings. Similarly, photographs taken by early photographer William Henry Fox Talbot were of architecture, including his photograph of a “Latticed window in Lacock Abbey” taken in 1835.
Much as building designs changed and broke with traditional forms, architectural photography also evolved. During the early-to-mid-20th century, architectural photography became more creative as photographers used diagonal lines and bold shadows in their compositions, and experimented with other techniques. By the early 1950s, architects were hiring more photographers for commissioned work, resulting in architectural photography being viewed as more of an art form.
Types of Architectural Photography
· Interior Photography – Interior architectural photography can be performed with ambient light transmitted through windows and skylights, as well as interior lighting fixtures. Frequently though, architectural photographers will use supplemental lighting to improve the illumination within a building. It includes photographing interior designs. A feature of architectural photography is that the principal subjects rarely move. It is therefore possible to use post-processing editing to correct various aspects of the picture like, white balance and perspective, etc…
· Exterior Photography – Exterior architectural photography takes advantage of available light by day, or at night it uses ambient light from adjacent street lights, landscape lights, exterior building lights, moonlight and even twilight present in the sky in all but the darkest situations. In many cases, the landscaping surrounding a building is important to the overall composition of a photograph, and even necessary to communicate the aesthetic harmony of a building with its environment. The photographer will often include flowers, trees, fountains or statues in the foreground of a composition, taking advantage of their ability to help lead the eye into the composition and to its main subject, the building.
Tips for Architectural Photography
· Always have your Camera & Location ready – If you really are as crazy about photography as you claim to be then you need to spend some time and put in some effort in roaming around the space and find that perfect spot that you want to photograph. Always carry your camera with you because you might find another sweet spot while searching for the perfect one. Try getting in touch with the owner of the property because they will probably know where you can find the best views of the place and at what time possibly.
· Invest in the right Photography Equipment - It is most important that you have the right gear with you for the job you’re going to do. When it comes to architectural photography, a wide angle, fish eye or ultra-wide angle lens is the best option. This type of lenses allows you to get a dramatic composition, and provides you with the ability to fit the entire frame of the building into one shot. This is where a camera with panoramic format can be beneficial. While some cameras offer in-shot stitching of panoramic views, you might want to consider the use of Hugin or PTgui, which are two types of software that allow you to stitch panoramic shots together after the shoot. This is also beneficial if you are shooting with a DSLR.
· Look for a Unique Location – Don’t go the stereotypical way by photographing just the monuments; try something new. Find the child in you and try getting him/her excited about going the distance and finding places that were undiscovered until now and has a great scope of photography. Find that unique location and photograph it in a way that makes others who see the picture ask you where the place is and they go to photograph it as well.
· Don’t rush Perfection – Photography is not a ‘take one shot and be done with it’ kind of a thing, it takes patience and effort. Don’t wait for the light to be perfect because you think that it’ll be the right moment to click a picture; be patient and be curious at the same time and take pictures whenever the spot looks just right. Maybe you’ll find the best shot in a time way before than you anticipated.
· Shoot in Different Weather Conditions – Try shooting in different weather conditions. Shooting pictures on plain sunny morning or on a starry night is very main stream. Try to divert your attention to how your favorite photography spots look like during maybe, a rainy day or when it snows or when the weather is damp and cold and there’s no Sun. this kind of experiment will give you new experiences and let you gain knowledge and information about how to and when to shoot in different conditions.
· Pay attention to the Lights – Yes, I agree that lighting is important and sometimes to make it seem like a day shoot, you may have to use too many reflectors and studio lights to create an illusion, but using too much light is bad for the picture. Over exposure and more than needed brightness can ruin the pictures and fill them up with glares.
· Shoot from a different Perspective – Clicking pictures from a leveled angle and while standing up on the ground is good and it works most of the time, but you may want to try and explore other options too. You can shoot while for starters by, lying on the ground, from a helicopter, on top of some monument, peeking from above, etc…
· Black ‘n’ White or Color – it is very important to understand from your and the viewers perspective if the picture will be more perfect in color form or in the form of a black ‘n’ white one. Color pictures are better in almost every situation and it will bring out the emotion in the place but at the same time, black ‘n’ white photography is very soothing to anyone who sees it and also the fact that it brings out the soul of the picture and makes it more understandable.
· Embrace the Software – Always use an editing software that you can embrace. Try using a professional software for better editing quality. Using professional software will give you more tools that’ll help you in enhancing your pictures better.
· Post-Processing – Post processing normally consists of color correction, sharpness, and increasing the contrast. However, to get the ultimate shot, you will want to do a little extra post processing. Mostly, you will want to think about lens distortion that may have occurred while you were taking the photos. This can be easily removed with photo software, such as DxO, which has already been mentioned.
The architectural photography profession is primarily represented by three trade organizations, which strive to spread best practices amongst architectural photographers, as well as promote the sound business practices, consistency, quality and copyright protection.
· The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
· The Association of Independent Architectural Photographers (AIAP)
· The International Association of Architectural Photographers (IAAP)
· The Association of Photographers (AOP)
Famous Architectural Photographers
1. Daniel Cheong (France)
2. Mike Hollman (New Zealand)
3. Paul Clemence (Brazil)
4. Matthias Haker (Germany)
5. Martin Stavars (Poland)
For more information on Photos & Photography, visit www.worldphotographersclub.com