Architecture is part of our day to day life. We live in houses, work in modern offices, and admire museums and palaces. We take time to photograph masterpieces of architecture whenever we travel. Architectural photography is an art by itself as several important names in photography proved it. If you want to get your architectural photography to another level it’s time to get to work. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Learn from the masters
There are some great photographers who managed to put architectural photography into the great museums of the world. For example, Iwao Yamawaki (1898 – 1987), influenced by the avantgarde movement of the beginning of the XXth century, took pictures in many European cities before returning to Japan. Experiments, unusual perspectives, and ordinary objects photographed from different angles put Iwao Yamawaki’s work in museums like Tate Modern in London. Without a formal education in architecture, the photographer Iwan Baan (b. 1975) is considered one of the 100 most influential people in contemporary architecture world by the magazine Il Magazine dell’Architettura. His specialty are the stories behind architecture’s lines and geometry. You can learn a lot from these photographers. Study their work and their principles, there is no better learning curve for a aspirant photographer.
Try black and white photography
In architectural photography, lines and textures are more important than color. You should really understand geometry and perspectives and not worry about anything else. Working in black and white helps you eliminate any distractions and stay focus on important aspects. Also, black and white photography enhances contrast and helps you learn to work with shadows and lights. For a better understanding of composition and exposure, photograph directly in monochrome mode instead of using post processing software. Use colored filters like orange or yellow filters. They will let the orange or yellow light pass and block everything else. The result is a smooth, higher contrast image.
Work with patterns and textures
Materials and sections are important features of architecture. Your photographs should reflect this. Get really close or use telephoto lenses and fill the frame with patterns and textures. Brick, concrete, steel, marble, glass or any materials you can find will compose amazing images. One of the most famous works of Iwao Yamawaki is called Composition with bricks, Bauhaus. His unusual angles and the game of light and shadows transformed some dull bricks into a work of art. Don’t get stuck in horizontal and vertical lines. Try different perspectives and exposures until you are satisfied with the result. Pay attention to details and proportions. Architecture requires a lot of creativity and a seventh sense of composition.
Architectural photography doesn’t allow blurred pictures. Everything needs to be sharp. Use a deep depth of field and a tripod if the lighting conditions are poor. Nevertheless, extreme exposures are allowed and you can have dark and dramatic pictures as well as harsh bright ones. Architectural photography needs a lot of practice and skill. It’s hard work, but it worth it.
Also check out how to relate Architectural photography to story telling here.