How to learn architecture photography

Essential steps to learn architecture photography

In this 21st century nothing is out of the picture! Yes, everything is part of a picture or a photograph now. Be it architecture, food, clothes, buildings or our day to day activities. We are a photography-obsessed generation, and most of us wants to be either a pro photographer, whether of food or of the surrounding built environment. Most of us now perceive or understand architecture through photographs rather than physical or spatial experiences. Architectural photography or photography of the built environment is useful in multiple ways. First for studying the building and visually understanding its aesthetics and characteristics and also as a beauty in the eyes of the beholder who may not get the opportunity to personally visit the architectural spectacle or the building in the photograph.

Though everyone tries their hand at being a good architectural photographer, it takes time, practice and experience to be a professional. Apart from this, there is also the need to learn the art of this photography in detail to understand the tricks and techniques and add a touch of your personality to your photographs. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, similarly a pro architectural photographer’s photos should communicate all there is to tell about the building and the space.

And, so to know how to be a pro at architectural photography continue reading below. We will share with you some tips to learn and master this art through various ways.

Architectural Photography Tutorials

When ever we feel like learning something new or understanding in-depth about a specific topic for instance like photography of architecture we instantly turn to Google or YouTube. There is a ton of information and we just might get confused as to what to see or what not see. To make your life easier, we are sharing some of the videos from YouTube which are tried and tested which you can also see and learn from.

How to photograph incredible architecture by Peter McKinnon

He talks about surveying your subject building, going around it and understanding the space and surroundings and also understanding the viewing angles and the vantage points. Also, before doing that he says that it should be clear within you as to what you want out of the photograph or what it should communicate. Do you want to focus on the details if not then on the larger picture of the architecture? He also talks about understanding what the artist or the architect was trying to portray through their architecture and try show it off through your photographs. Also, use other buildings or surroundings as a key component to your photograph like as a frame to your subject building. He also talks about the architecture photography lens and the angles to use. Also, how you can use the same subject over and over again without going mundane on it through change of weather, seasons or viewpoints. We think it’s a great quick tutorial for beginners.

Architecture Photography by Alen Palander

Alen being an architect and urban planner himself breaks down the key components to be a good architectural photographer and taking out good photos of the subject architectural buildings and spaces. He focuses specifically on the gear or the camera equipment to use. He recommends having at least three lenses that is the fish-eye or wide-angle lens, the zoom & wide-angle lens and the zoom lens. He also focuses on discovering the right spaces or the right spots that you want to photograph. Another thing to take in to perspective is the interiors of the building. Architectural spaces is not only outside or the facade of the building but also the inside of the building. He also suggests taking photographs of your subject at multiple times of the day to get a variety of photos an also allows to experiment with colors, shades hues and tints within your architecture photographs. He also talks about and lists various techniques like balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, etc. to photograph a building, city or a space. We feel the video is quite explanatory on the basics of photography of the built environment and there is a lot to earn from it.

Architecture Photography Tips by 30×40 Design Workshop

Their video basically talks about the mistakes they made while starting out as an architectural photographer that you can avoid. They have discussed some fundamental concepts for good photography in the architecture domain like how to avoid keystoning and how to maintain parallel lines like by using tilt-shift lens. How to aptly use white balance, light, style and colors. They also show you tutorials on how to correct your photographs and remove mistakes from them using various software. They also detail out on how to take photographs of intricate building details. They also talk about various use of lenses in various different types of spaces or environment. This video is a quick and in-depth guide to architectural photography.

Architecture Photography Courses

Now if you have more time on hand and don’t want to just quickly run through blogs or videos to learn or understand this genre of photography, you can take up short online courses on learning basics of architecture photography and get closer to becoming a pro photographer of the built environment. And the plus point to taking this online course is that you will also be provided with a certification that you can boast on your portfolio or resume. Here we can list a few courses that you can check out and purse to get a hands-on learning experience in this genre of photography.

1. Architectural Photography- An Artistic Analysis on Udemy

The course has a series of lectures on various topics like light, form, material, composition, color, etc that you can learn about and become a pro photographer. This course focuses primarily on the artistic side of photography and teaches you on how to improve your photographs and talks about how you can work on the essence of the photographs to reveal or conceal information as you would like them to be. This course is more towards how photography of the built environment is an art and you are the artist. Al the courses are supported by great examples to help you learn with ease. We feel this course is apt for someone who is highly creative and has an eye for art and taste for beauty.

2. Mastering Architectural, Night and HDR Photography on Udemy

This course is more technical that the other one and teaches you about your necessary camera gear, architecture photography lens, and different types of photography styles that you can pick up to enhance your architectural photography. It talks extensively on architectural, night and HDR photography as well as the process to shoot in various conditions and situations. It also adds a photoshop learning tutorial to bring out your architectural photographs and turn them in to master pieces. This is a beautiful course with utmost attention to tips and tricks on tools and techniques for mastering the practice of this photography.

Architectural Photography Books

You all must be well aware that nobody can become perfect in anything in a day. Just like that for architecture photography you need time and patience and constant practice to move towards perfectionism. Another way that we recommend to moving towards becoming a pro or a perfect architectural photographer is by reading famous and well-written books on photography of the built environment or architecture. Though it may take more time than other means of learning, but a book is a more detailed out version of learning and experience of an experienced architectural photographer. Architecture photography books provide a variety of flavor in terms of the learnings and understanding. It captures the essence of the writer and not only provides with theory but also with practical case-studies and examples. An architecture photography book acts like a directory or a guidebook to keep forever and has a more lasting impact. More than that some architecture photography books are just like bible for this profession. We recommend some books here written by well known architectural photographers and writers who are well versed with this profession and have been practicing for years and have revealed it all in these books. We would definitely recommend getting a book if you are serious about architecture photography and are determined to become a pro in it. We sample some shortlisted books here and request you to take your pick.

1. Architectural Photography, 3rd Edition: Composition, Capture, and Digital Image Processing by Adrian Shulz

architecture photgraphy book by adrian schulz

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This book by Adrian Shulz uses real world projects to teach about how you can capture buildings beautifully inside out. How to use your equipment effectively, use various lighting to your benefit and how to compose your shots.
This book is a more like a step-by-step guide to architectural photography for both the upcoming amateur photographer interested in architectural photography and the professional photographer who wants to expand his skills in this domain. Additionally, architects themselves will also find this book motivating and inspiring. This is the third edition of his book and has been extensively revised and includes 90 new images and illustrations.

This new edition contains topics such as: Photographic technology, including digital cameras, lens quality and construction, and large format cameras, shooting techniques, real life of a professional architectural photographer, traveling, analog to digital shooting, stadium photography image processing, including screenshots from the latest image-processing software such as Adobe Photoshop CC.
This book will definitely help you learn a variety of creative tips, tricks and guidelines for making the perfect architectural image.

2. Architectural Photography (Construction and Design Manual) by Axel Hausberg

architectural photography by Axel Hausberg

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The Construction and Design Manual on Architectural Photography is a very comprehensive book and defines the photography of the built environment as a very specific challenge and talks about how it involves a very special approach to architecture. This book in the Construction and Design Manual series gives an extensive and detailed out introduction to the necessary skills, techniques, and equipment while at the same time explaining that the key to high-quality architectural photography is not only the mechanics of exposure, focus and composition but something far beyond that comes from within the photographer.
It essentially takes you in to the background and history of architectural photography and the factors that come in to play. This is followed by a detailed technical section discussing perspective, focal length, equipment, HDR, white balance, filters and digital post processing. This beautifully illustrated, hands-on book on architectural photography provides both practical information and inspiration for anyone interested in this domain.

3. Photographing Architecture: Lighting, Composition, Postproduction and Marketing Techniques by John Siskin

Photographing Architecture by john siskin

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This book essentially talks about how to master the technical and artistic skills to produce outstanding interior and exterior images. It is more of a comprehensive guide to how to manage the business of architectural photography along with strategies to attract clients and keep them hooked to your work. It starts right from how to plan a shoot, analyzing the subject, choosing the right shooting angle and working with different interior and exterior light. Then it talks about right cameras, ways to position the cameras, architectural lenses and lighting equipment for architecture. It illustrates all this through various shoot and photographic examples of various spaces and uses them to explain about the challenges of a shoot, how to solve them and the work required after the shoot like postproduction enhancement to remedy lens distortion and creating dazzling HDR images.

4. Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography by Elias Redstone

Shooting Space by Elias Redstone

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Shooting Space is a compilation of the works of various contemporary artists photography of architecture like Andreas Gursky, Iwan Baan, Wolfgang Tillmans, Catherine Opie, Thomas Ruff, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and more. The book is divided into five chapters and covers collaborations between photographer and architect, talks about global urbanization, the altercations being dome to the natural landscape and newly and innovatively imagined urban environments. This book presents aa array of outstanding work in contemporary architectural photography. Shooting Space not only provides an engaging display of beautiful photography but will also reward the reader with an extensive survey and insight of our built environment.

We hope this comprehensive guide to understanding to become a good and learned photographer of architecture comes handy and useful to you all. Though there are dozens of ways to go about the process of enlightening oneself about the art, however, these are a few sure-shot ways to moving in to the right direction of becoming an architecture photographer.

5 Best Architecture Photographers You Can Follow On Instagram

1. Cristóbal Palma

2. Rory Gardiner

3. Edmund Sumner

4. Sebastian Weiss

5. Iwan Baan

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