Architectural photography (also sometimes called building photography) is the process of taking pictures of buildings and other structures such as bridges or statues. This can include both the interior and exterior of the building. The job may require getting inside the structure in order to get close-up shots or to photograph specific details or areas that cannot be photographed from outside. It may also require standing on nearby structures in order to get an overall view of the entire structure being photographed, especially when it is large enough for its entire form to not fit in one frame.
The challenge of this job is to be able to take pictures that give the viewer a sense of how it looks and feels to actually stand in front of the structure, as well as detail shots showing all its fascinating aspects and features that otherwise may not be noticed if seen only from far away. Because many architectural structures are quite large, often with plenty of windows and other reflective surfaces, they’re not always the easiest things to photograph without professional equipment and lighting. And because you’re photographing real-life objects rather than imaginary ones like models or mannequins, there’s also the possibility that some people will view your photos as unflattering or out-of-focus (even though this isn’t what you intended).
As a result of the challenges that come with architectural photography, many photographers prefer to limit their work to interiors and leave photographing exteriors and exterior details to those who specialize in such things. They may also try to avoid getting too close-up or detailed for fear of making embarrassing mistakes.
The most important qualities for this job are patience and a willingness to do research and experiment with different techniques and lighting. Photoshop is also often used by photographers who specialize in architectural photography to remove any distracting details or people from their photos, as well as enhance the colors and lights. Like all types of photography, one must know what you’re doing before you attempt it (and even before you work up the nerve to try). For most people, it’s probably best to start out photographing buildings that they aren’t too familiar with – at least until they feel more comfortable taking pictures of them. This will decrease your chances of making mistakes because you’ll have less knowledge beforehand about how particular buildings should look through a camera lens.
What is architectural photography used for?
Architectural photography is a type of photography that captures the architectural elements of buildings and structures. Architectural photography can be used for many purposes, such as promoting or documenting a building’s architecture. The most common types of architectural photographs are exterior shots and interior shots. Exterior shots are often used to promote a building’s architect, engineer or builder because they show the overall design, material composition, and spatial qualities of the building. Interior shots are commonly commissioned by interior designers, architects, or even at times the occupants of the spaces.
Architectural photography is usually associated with documentary-style photography. Architectural photographers capture buildings as objectively as possible without manipulating lighting, camera angle, focus point, etc., but it is also common for architectural photographers to use their creative eye when documenting architecture. For example, some architectural photographs may look completely black because there was not enough light to capture an image while others might be taken at night to create interesting shadows. Other types of photos play with unusual perspectives similar to what you would find in fine art or fashion photography. Regardless of the purpose behind architectural photography, many photographers who specialize in this genre begin their careers as architects or interior designers. This creates a strong understanding of each building’s design and allows the photographer to compose unique photographs for each project.
What are some common types of shots used in architectural photography?
Because there are countless types of buildings and structures, there can be just as many types of shots that architecture photographers use to capture those buildings and structures.
The most common types of shots used in architectural photography include:
Front elevation (aka straight-on) shot: captures the front side view of a structure from a perspective directly opposite the subject.
Overhead shot: captures the top view of a structure from directly above. This can be useful to show common spaces on the roof or specific design characteristics of the building
Side shot: captures the right or left side of a structure from an angle perpendicular to the centerline of the subject.
Perpendicular (aka oblique) shot: captures an object at an angle of between 90 and 180 degrees to the camera.
Reveal Shot: uses leading lines, such as roads, paths, train tracks, etc., to create an image with depth that pulls back from a close-up on one end to a distant scene on the other end.
Perspective zoom: starts with an image showing a wide or bird’s-eye view before zooming into a more detailed area in order to show how large something is or how small it is compared to its surroundings.
What marketing uses do architectural photographs have?
Architectural photographs are used to market property or business premises, as well as being used by architects, engineers, or builders as part of their portfolio and for documentary purposes. This means they serve different purposes depending on a business’ needs and so the “feel” of the images will be informed by their intended use.
If the objective of the photography is to attract sales, leads, or interest the viewer’s attention through creating a mood, atmosphere and conveying certain ideas about the product, then the style will be much more similar to hospitality photography, where an atmosphere of inspiration or aspiration is created.
If the photography is going to be used in magazines or books that depict buildings and interior spaces, then they’ll be much more documentary style.
Architectural photography can have many uses and can be done in an infinite number of styles, so if you want to see some examples of architectural photography, you could check out my exteriors portfolio here, or my interiors portfolio here!
If you’re in need of a talented architectural photographer to capture the personality and beauty of your property or business premises, then why not get in touch?