Classical or contemporary; architectural photography can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Here are some pointers to help you get started…
1. Be sensitive to the direction of light as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections. High levels of contrast can fool cameras into exposing the scene incorrectly, but shooters can easily overcome this by applying exposure compensation. Another trick is to bracket shots at different exposure values (exposing one for the highlights, one for the midtones and one for the shadows) and later merge them in a dedicated HDR program (such as Photomatix).
2. A fish eye or wide-angle lens (and focal length) is ideal for this genre as it enables photographers to frame the entire building within its environment. However sometimes your glass may not be able to encompass the whole scene, which is where the helpful panoramic format can come in handy. Many compacts now offer a specific Scene mode for stitching together several shots in camera, but the same effect can be achieved post-shoot with dedicated panoramic software such as; as Hugin or PTgui if you are shooting with a DSLR.
3. We are told it’s what’s on the inside that counts and sure enough architecture photography isn’t restricted to the facia of a building. It can be difficult to correctly white balance an interior setting, especially ones that are reliant on various forms of artificial lighting, so remember to compensate accordingly in the White Balance menu or take a reading from a grey card. Interior shots in older buildings tend to be more irksome because they traditionally feature small windows and doors – thus lack natural light. Try using a tripod and executing a long-exposure and remember you could always utilise an ND filter to stop highlights being blown out when shooting in the day. Alternatively you could use supplementary lighting, such as a diffused flash but be careful as this may rob the scene of its atmosphere and detail.
Table of contents
- ADVANCED GUIDES
- CREATIVE TECHNIQUES