Growing up near the city of Chester, I have always been fascinated by architecture from different time periods and how it fits into a modern environment. As I have visited more places, I continue to be impressed by the work of architectures, in particular the intricate details in the most hard to reach places. Such impressive work needs to be shown to the world and that is how my photography was influenced, trying to learn to take a photograph to display this magnificent work in all it’s architectural glory. So, today my blog post includes a few things I think are important for an architectural photograph’s composition, accompanied by my photographs of buildings and streets filled with beautiful architecture.
Tip 1: Perspective
It doesn’t have to be straight to be great. Experiment with angles to find a perspective that will show off the magnitude, the height or the design of the architecture. You don’t need any fancy lenses to practice this either, the first image below was taken with my Sony Xperia M5 Smartphone. Taking the photograph standing underneath a building and pointing up will help you create height and the feeling of a towering prominent building. Shooting from one side will help you show how long a building is from one side to another. The key to experiment. Never take one shot, take a few moving your camera angle and yourself around until you find a perspective that feels right.
Tip 2: Background
If you’re trying to show the spectacular-ness of a building in its own right then you’ll want to remove any distractions from the image. With buildings being tall it’s great to use the sky as a plain backdrop so that the viewers attention is drawn to the building itself, and the little details.
Tip 3: Additional Elements
I really like including something else in the image with the building, to add character and a sense of the surroundings. Below is one of my favourite images, the statue in the foreground adds depth, but I feel that the white building is strong enough to hold it’s own, so that your eyes are drawn to the circular middle column of the building that contains the most detail.
Tip 4: Environment
Architectural design is constantly changing, the new modern buildings we install now, will one day become, a future generations look into the past. A great way to show the contrast between historic architecture and modern life is to shoot further away to include the entire picture; the street, the cars, the people and the buildings. In the photograph below the buildings are still the predominant subject, but the goings on around them gives a sense of the role the buildings are playing in day to day life, and how they fit into our world.
Tip 5: Close Ups
There is a temptation to photograph something as a whole to show all of it, but sometimes there is so much beauty to be had in the little details it’s worth coming in closer to give that one aspect the whole spotlight. The bottom image here, for example, is on the side of the Arc de Triumph, and yet is such a detailed story in its own right, that if I had taken a photo of the whole building and not zoomed it, the details and the story would have been lost.
In conclusion, the best way to find your own style and perspective for architectural photography is to get out there and get practicing. There are so many places, villages and cities, on your doorstep and in Europe, just waiting to be seen. So grab that camera and get started! Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post 🙂
Amy Williams-Weeks (AWW)