Architectural photography, classic or contemporary, can be both enriching and stimulating. Figuring out how to get the ultimate shot is not always easy, even if you try, try and try again.
There are a lot of factors that play into getting the ultimate shot — some controllable and some not – so here are some tips you should know before you even start.
While some of these may seem like common sense, they may not be what you think of every time you “aim and strike” your camera at a building. However, taking into account all these tips will definitely help you get a photo worthy of a frame.
1) Always have your camera and location ready
If you really want the best photo, then you might want to consider taking your camera with you wherever you go-you never know when inspiration will strike. If your location has already been chosen in advance, make sure that you are ready for this particular location. If the building is a business, check the opening hours.
You should also check with the owners of the building or property, or possibly the city to see if you need a permit to take photos. Not knowing can get you into trouble, hindering the possibility of getting the image of your dreams.
Finally, take a look at the weather report of the place where you are heading. Depending on the type of striking you want – sunny, cloudy, rainy, stormy, clear – the weather can ruin your day.
2) Invest in the right photo equipment
It is very important that you have the right equipment with you for the work you are 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 spectacular composition and allows you to fit the entire frame of the building in one shot. However, not all buildings correspond to all plans.
This is where a panoramic format camera can be beneficial. While some cameras offer a close-up assembly of panoramic views, you can consider using Hugin or PTGui, which are two types of software that allow you to assemble panoramic photos after striking. This is also useful if you are striking with a single-lens reflex camera or a DSLR camera.
3) do not rush.
One of the best tips for photographing great architectural subjects is to take your time. Make sure you have a large block of time set aside in your schedule for filming, possibly days.
Not only does this give you enough time to get the photos you want, but it also gives you the opportunity to explore the building.
You will want to give yourself enough time to walk around and look at all sides of the building to find out which area will give you the best — and most unique – photo of the architectural structure.
4) striking in different weather conditions
As we mentioned earlier, paying attention to the weather forecast is a great way to ensure a perfect image. This does not necessarily mean that you can only strike when the sun is shining.
In fact, you might be surprised to find that the best photos are taken when a storm is brewing over your heads and the sky is cloudy. Swirling clouds, rain mist and the possibility of a rainbow can really intensify the atmosphere and increase the image quality.
It’s a great idea to go back to a place several times during different weather conditions to give yourself enough photos of the building to know which one gives the ultimate image.
5) pay attention to the light
You might be surprised at how different a building and its surroundings can look when the sun goes down at night or disappears behind a cloud. During the day, take pictures of different corners of the building to see what they look like.
Then come back at night and see what has changed in the building and its surroundings. You will notice that when the sun goes down, different shadows appear and the building may even see a different color or take on a new look or a new facade.
In addition, the direction of the sun relative to you and the building can make a difference. It can create shadows and highlights, and increase texture elements, as well as contrast. For example, if you want to create a silhouette like the sunset, you want to make sure that the building is between you and the sun.
You can also use a high dynamic range or HDR program like Photomatix to merge different exposure values, so keep that in mind when your camera clicks.
6) image from a different perspective-A bird’s eye view
Just as light can have an effect on the appearance of the building, the same applies to your position when striking. Again, this is where time comes into play as an important factor.
You want to make sure that you have the opportunity to move around the building, while striking. You also want to get as close to the building as possible, strike straight, for a different perspective. Pretend to be an insect or an ant crawling on the ground—no one really looks at a building from this angle, but this may be the most awesome picture you have ever seen.
On the other hand, as far as possible or as high as possible from the building, taking the entire structure in one shot can also create a unique shot. Play with the perspective from which you are striking to allow you to create incredibly unique photographs.
7) Embrace photography software
Once the striking is complete, there are a number of things you can do to really improve the photos to make them even more spectacular (and this is not cheating—many professional photographers use these tools). This can be done using photography software.
For example, you can use software such as Perfect Photo Suite, which includes a variety of different programs for making changes to a photo after it has been taken. This includes features such as Perfect Effects 9, Perfect Enhance 9 and Perfect Black & White 9.
Other software that you can use include DxO and Adobe Photoshop. If you are not familiar with this type of software, you can consider something easier to use, such as Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom. There are so many technical ways to improve your photography, so take advantage of them!
8) black and white or color?
Another thing to think about—decide between a color photo and a black and white photo. Although the decision is solely up to the photographer, there are a number of points that you need to take into account.
When it comes to architectural photography, color is often the main feature of the structure you want to highlight. Therefore, photographing the building in color is perhaps the best option.
Conversely, if you are only looking for a very graphic shot or one that highlights the structural lines of a building, it is preferable to photograph only in black and white. This allows the contrast to be much more present in the finished product.
9) don’t forget about mail processing
Post-processing normally consists of color correction, sharpening and contrast enhancement. However, to get the ultimate photo, you’ll want to do a little extra post-processing.
Usually, you will want to think about the lens distortion that may have occurred while you are taking the photos. this can be easily removed with photo software, such as DxO, which has already been mentioned.
You can also use PTLens, which corrects not only lens distortion, but also chromatic aberration, vignetting and perspective.
10) Find A Unique Location
Apart from all the other tips we have given you, there is another thought that you should consider. This thought is location, location, location.
There are many famous architectural sites around the world that have been photographed many times, in different light and in different weather conditions. Maybe that’s why they are so famous. Does that mean you have to go?
As a photographer looking to take the ultimate photo, you may need to find your own location. Find a place where no one has been, a building that is not usually photographed, and challenge yourself to make it the next place where architectural photographers like to go.
Perhaps the most important photography tip is to take your time. You need to give yourself time to look at the building and see it in different weather conditions-day and night.
Once you have laid the foundations, let your creativity run wild. Take pictures from different angles on the floor by looking up, striking far to the right and even climbing higher.