Architectural Photography: How To Take Photos of Buildings
Many of us will have tried our hand at Architectural Photography, but when it comes to taking a great photo of a building, what should you be looking for? Richard Osbourne from Blue Pearl Photographic gives some useful tips in his guest blog.
Building photography is split into two separate disciplines: architectural photography covering mainly exteriors; and interior photography – self-explanatory. They each require a different approach and, at the professional level, even quite different equipment.
Now, there is a caveat here. If you want to photograph the front of the building and that faces, say, south, at dawn and dusk, it’s going to be in the shade. So, you may have to wait a few hours for the sun to travel round and hit the south face. A nice blue sky image, with white fluffy clouds can still be very effective so don’t rule it out, even if the entrance faces another direction.
Overall, what makes a good architectural image? Here are 6 points you should always consider:
First and foremost, magic – that special combination of light, colour and form that lifts an ordinary image – of anything at all, in any artistic field – into something special. It’s the je ne sais quoi in the artist’s work that attracts your attention and keeps it. It results, in most cases, from years of practice, good light, good luck, good technique, good equipment and just being there at the right moment.
Good light – this is transformative to every aspect of how a building appears, from the colours to the modelling of forms to the appearance of surface textures – as well as giving the overall image the sparkle and colour it needs to stand out.
Is it descriptive – does it really show the building, in its best light, in context?
Does it communicate the architects design intent – Architectural photography should show the special details, that have the real love in them, does your photo details that, despite the difficulty, despite the expense, were included in the design and that make the building?
Technical quality – details such as straight verticals, correct white balance, good colour, good processing, all contribute to whether the image ‘feels real’, ie. does it show the place as it actually is?
Human elements – it’s good to have something in the photo that can give some sense of scale, whether that is cars, roads, people or even just a doorway.
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