When we think about architecture photography, we think about a building, an entire project to shoot. Don’t be scared to get closer, find details and colors you wouldn’t be able to capture from afar. This enormous subject, which is the one you want to capture: does not move. You are not getting poses and angles from your model, so you need to be creative even more.
First things first: shoot in RAW
Tripod or no tripod?
When I am shooting buildings I am always all over the place, looking for creative points of view. A tripod can be useful at night but I find it limiting when I am looking for different point of views. The best architecture photographs are not always the ones that capture the entire project. Most of the times, a building comes to life with its details. Here are some tips for your to “rethink” your shots and work on your eye.
The Eye Film Museum, detail of the facade. Shot with the Sony a7s and the 35mm Zeiss lense.
“Change your point of view, move around because your subject won’t.”
Amsterdam Residence Details. Shot with the Sony a7s and the 35mm Zeiss lense.
Best time to shoot?
Keep in mind that the sky changes throughout the day.
Do you know about the Golden hour? That time of the day when the sun comes down but gives you enough light to shoot can give you a dramatic background. That moment doesn’t last long, just a little while before sunset, the warmth and shadows create some spectacular architectural photographs. Early mornings are also my favorites.
Aldo Rossi Building, Modena Cementary. Taken with the Sony a7s and the 35mm Zeiss lense at 7am.
What about wide angles?
Opinions about wide angles differ. Using a 16mm lense tend to distort your subject. This is a lense to avoid for portrait photography but which can save your reportage in case of travel or documentary photography.
A street in Chiado, Lisbon. Shot with the Sony a7s and the 16mm Zeiss lens
“Try to shoot “eye-level” as much as you can.”
The Eye Film Museum, Taken with the Sony a7s and the 16mm Zeiss lens.
As you can see on that picture, the people in the corners are a bit distorted but what matters most -the building- is there. Some people might tell you to never “look up” with a camera, but I find it interesting as a different and creative point of view. It’s really a question of taste.
Architecture photography also means capturing the interior design. In that case I would definitely want to change the lense to a 35mm or 50mm.
“Inside Amsterdam”- styled with Dr Gross, Plume Sciences and Dr Brandt cosmetics. Taken with the Sony a7s and the 35mm Zeiss lens
“Pay attention to styling and color palette”
Interior Design photography means you need to be even more careful about details. There is nothing worse than a picture with a messy room in the background, a suitcase or clothes that are not meant to be captured. Pay attention to styling and the color palette: I like to keep it down to a range of 3 colors, more than that can be overwhelming when it comes to capturing an interior space.
“No photoshop? No problem!”
There is one little for you to improve your pictures, without photoshop. All you need is iphoto or a basic photo editor. Many people don’t know about that setting, actually, but it can dramatically improve your shots.
Open Iphoto – edit – adjust (see pictures below):
Click on the arrow next to “auto”
Non-edited color / saturation / cast
By turning down the “cast” setting it allows you to adjust the white balance. This is a great tool to improve pictures taken with your phone or when the light is too warm.
With that said, if you don’t have a professional camera but want/need that architectural shot: YES your phone is the perfect back up! I hope these tips will help you improve your architectural shots and trust your eye.
My advice to you? Practice, practice and again…Practice!
Citizen of the world born in France, Sarah is an actress, journalist and activist. She has lived and worked in Mexico City, New York and Paris and is now based in London where she is finishing her architecture studies. Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Mood Board Magazine and founder of “The Cherry On Top” her lifestyle blog. As a former professional tennis player, she loves running, traveling and sharing her journey on Social Media.