Architectural photography is an art form that is intrinsically dependent on the mind of another creator. Without architecture, there would be no architectural photography. Normally, one wouldn’t imagine this to be a two-way street, but this insightful video posits a different view.
Stewart Hicks is an associate professor in the School of Architecture, lecturing in architectural design, at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In this video, he puts forward the case that photography has elevated architecture beyond its normal reaches by being a medium that can interpret and translate a building on behalf of the architect. Not only that but, as Hicks suggests, photography has put architecture in front of many more people, including those that might not have access or the financial ability to view a particular building.
Architects are visual designers, so they know the importance of good photography and have a keen eye for it. Hearing words like this from an educator in architectural design is a positive sign for those in this corner of the photographic industry. Presumably, most of Hicks’ audience is interested in architecture, so it’s great to see an appreciation for the craft being passed on to people that might not have considered this point of view before. I’m sure that a good chunk of that same audience is aspiring architects themselves, which bodes well for more collaborative work in the future between architects and photographers.
If you’re interested in architectural photography, be sure to check out Mike Kelley’s amazing tutorial series, Where Art Meets Architecture.
Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Five, Architecture, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge. Be sure to enter the current round on Portraits, which is open now.
With so many of us living in towns and cities, architecture is a genre that’s open to the vast majority of photographers. It demands a precise approach, but it’s important to retain creativity and imagination, too. The top ten images here are all well seen, and often home in on the details of the scene, potentially creating something entirely new from the architect’s vision.
But, as is so often the case, it’s something fresh and original that has caught the judges’ attention, as can be seen from the winning image.
1 Roy Curtis UK 100pts Nikon D800, 80-400mm at 140mm, 1/2500sec at f/13, ISO 200
Guest judge David Clapp says: ‘This image is a double take. When I say that, I don’t mean the multiple-exposure technique that is handled so well, but the fact that upon first glance, it appears to be Charles Bridge in Prague. With gothic towers silhouetted against light, the positioning and subsequent overlaying spires (which create new spires in themselves) portray a mesmerising hat tip to this travel photography destination, astonishingly from the heart of Truro in Cornwall.
No photographic artist wants to appear indistinct, and Roy has achieved something truly unique and timeless from a UK destination. The seagulls, both airborne and observing, are so essential to the compositional balance, as too are the small vanes on top of all the roofs, adding another gothic feel, far from our modern lives. Perhaps some greater delicacy with processing (there are artefacts) could improve things further, but the concept, camera technique and visual impact held this image high above the rest.’
2 Helen Trust UK 90pts Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/20sec at f/2.8, ISO 640 If you were to ask a photographer what they look for when shooting architecture, the answer is highly likely to include balance and symmetry. Helen’s image makes exceptionally good use of both these elements. Splitting the image straight down the middle goes against the rule of thirds convention, but it works beautifully.
To step even slightly to the right or left would have caused the composition to be completely off-kilter. The precision with which she has set up the shot is to be admired. It might have been tempting to wait until somebody came along in order to add some human interest, but without that added element, we are left with a superb, almost futuristic, result.
3 Marco Tagliarino Italy 80pts Canon EOS 6D, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/160sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 Contrasting classic and modern architecture is a popular approach to the genre, and Marco has achieved an excellent result here, which is both imaginative and even a little surreal. Milan Cathedral stands proudly on the left, with the bustling hordes milling around the Piazza.
On the right, we have a solitary figure who is separated from the crowds by height and plate glass. Converting the image to black & white helps reduce any potential visual confusion that might be created by the swirl of light and its reflection. A tricky scene that has been well seen and shot.
4 Fabio Sartori Italy 70pts Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 14-150mm at 14mm, 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 500 It can be a challenge to find a new way of approaching industrial architecture, but we have a spectacular example here, with Fabio’s image. At first, it appears to be a pretty simple composition, but then we see a great deal of care has been taken over it.
Cropping so that the circle of blue sky at the opening of the cooling tower is just short of the top of the frame is a bold and highly effective approach. We also want to ask who the figure is. An engineer? An abseiler? Whoever they are, the image would be all the poorer without them, because they add a sense of scale that is essential to the success of the shot.
5 Darrell Godliman UK 60pts Nikon D7200, 8mm, 1/320sec at f/3.5, ISO 200 With this extremely well-executed composite, Darrell has taken what in real life is a single-storey building, and turned it into a playful and eye-catching digital image. He has been bold with his approach, but also controlled at the same time.
It would have been easy to go over the top and end up with a confused mess, but by concentrating on the effect of the multiple triangles leading the eye to the centre of the frame, he has created a graphic and engaging image. Retaining the blue elements is an important touch, as they give the eye something to rest upon within all the yellow. It’s a clever and inspired result.
6 Claudio Sericano Italy 50pts Canon EOS 600D, 18-55mm at 30mm, 1/40sec at f/4.5, ISO 250 This image is rather like a still from a dystopian film. The steely blue-grey tones and the repetition in the buidings’ crosses and squares is compelling. Then, of course, we have the mysterious silhouette in the brightly lit window, bang on the intersection of the thirds. The whole thing is fascinating. Claudio doesn’t say so in his caption on Photocrowd, but the image appears to be a composite – and that’s absolutely fine. He has had a clear and powerful vision for an image in his mind, and has set about creating it in a skilled and imaginative way. Very well done.
7 Roy Frankland UK 45pts Apple iPhone X,4mm, 1/100sec at f/1.8, ISO 32 Who wouldn’t want to photograph this ceiling, which forms part of the Gran Hotel Havana in Barcelona? Its shapes and dramatic orange colour cries out to be looked up and marvelled at. The sinuous curves have been placed well within the constraints of the frame, with the eye led neatly towards the kidney-shaped window at the top. Roy used an iPhone X to take this shot, and has demonstrated that camera phones are capable of more than just snaps.
8 Neville Morgan UK 40pts Olympus OM-D E-M10, 14-42mm, 1/320sec at f/9, ISO 250 The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Gehry, provides an embarrassment of photographic riches for anyone with a camera. Its sinuous curves and reflective surfaces make an appealing and challenging subject. The building as a whole is so dramatic, the temptation must have been for Neville to include it all in the frame.
However, he showed laudable restraint by homing in on only a small section of the structure. Within the constraints of the frame, he has managed to give the viewer a very clear flavour of the architecture, with a shot that has depth and interest throughout.
9 Ulrike Unterbruner Austria 35pts Pentax Optio A30, 7.9mm, 1/100sec at f/8, ISO 64 Many of the images in our top ten stand out for showing only a detail of the overall structure being photographed, and Ulrike’s minimal shot is another case in point. It’s almost like one of those challenges that ask the viewer to count the number of triangles in the frame. Every line and point has been placed perfectly, and it’s a rare case where a plain blue sky acts as the ideal foil for the main subject.
10 Andy Fowlie Germany 30pts Sony A7R III, 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/125sec at f/4 ,ISO 640 Light is as important in architectural photography as it is in any other genre. Here, Andy has used it to draw the viewer’s eye towards the sunflower-like pattern in the centre of this section of ceiling at Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. As with Neville Morgan’s image above right, the challenge here is to distil the essence of the scene within the photographic frame, and narrowing it down to this vignette would have been no mean feat. The shaded areas around the periphery of the scene have been well controlled, and there is plenty to keep the eye interested.
Round five winner, Young APOY
Hugo Begg Australia 100pts Panasonic DC-G9, 12-40mm at 12mm, 1/160sec at f/5, ISO 320 Hugo submitted several very strong images to this round, but this was the one the judges unanimously felt should be awarded first prize. The spiral is a common subject in architectural photography, but Hugo has done a good job of making a particularly interesting image from this one. He has balanced his composition well, giving slightly more space at the bottom than the top, and has exposed the shot skilfully so that all the detail is retained, right through from bottom to top. The tones are beautifully rendered, and the image is neither too flat nor too contrasty. A measured and carefully composed shot.
The 2021 leaderboards
Pete Baker and Jayne Bond maintain their positions in first and second place respectively, with Marco Tagliarino coming out of nowhere into third, showing how much the rankings can change from round to round. There’s no change to the leader of Young APOY, either, but Hugo Begg’s winning image has seen him jump from fourth to joint second. In the camera club rankings, Truro have hopped from fifth to third place. Keep up the good work!
Winning kit from MPB
The gear our winners used can be found at MPB. Roy Curtis shot his intriguing, round-winning composite with a Nikon D800, which is renowned for its outstanding quality and high-resolution images, thanks to the 36.3MP full-frame sensor.
It is the sort of camera that particularly appeals to landscape and architecture photographers and, with the added feature of 1080p video, it is a great tool for helping push your photography to the next level. A model in excellent condition at MPB will cost you £669, or you can expect to pay £604 for one in good condition.
In third place, Marco Tagliarino used a Canon EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens to create his almost surreal shot of Milan’s Piazza Duomo. This pro-standard wideangle zoom is hugely versatile, outstandingly sharp, and with its wide constant aperture, gives the photographer huge scope for creative images. Pick one up in excellent condition from MPB for £709, or £644 for one in good condition.
Coming in at fourth, Fabio Sartori shoots using an Olympus E-M5 Mark II. A mirrorless model that features up to 60fps and 5-axis image stabilisation, it’s the ideal tool for handheld photography. They go for £354 in excellent condition at MPB, or £319 in good condition.
To browse the extensive range of stock at MPB, visit www.mpb.com
Personal style and keeping it simple are key ingredients to strikingly minimalist architectural images. Benedict Brain talks to two photographers to find out more.
Modaser Based in the Netherlands, Modaser studied political science at Leiden University. His interest in photography started in 2010 with his Instagram account @meau. In 2018 he started using the account actively for architectural photography adopting a politically inspired minimalist approach.
For Dutch photographer Modaser, it was a trip to Russia in 2011 that sparked an interest in photographing architecture. Soviet architecture, to be specific. ‘I mostly like to shoot architecture in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet republics,’ explains Modaser.
However, it’s not just the buildings that interest him, it’s also the relationship between former Soviet Union architecture and politics, another of his keen interests. ‘You can tell a lot about the period in which a building was constructed by reading its architectural style,’ he explains.
Cinema Oktyabr, Minsk, Belarus. Canon EOS 550D, 17-50mm, 1/320sec at f/7.1, ISO 100
He continues, ‘For example, the euphoria about a “new Soviet society” that existed before and after the Second World War can also found in the socialist classicism or Stalinist style of that era. Many of the buildings in this style were quite impressive and were extensively decorated with a lot of ornaments.
After Stalin’s death, Khrushchev came to power and he ordered an end to “architectural excesses”. ‘He needed to solve the housing problem in the USSR and saw the use of concrete and prefab housing as the solution. After Khrushchev there was Brezhnev, and he too left his mark on Soviet architecture. And so, one can easily distinguish between a “Stalinka”, “Khrushevka” and a “Brezhnevka”.’
Courtyard of Schlesische Str 30, Berlin, Germany Canon EOS 70D, 17-50mm, 1/250sec at f/6.3, ISO 200
Modaser uses minimalism as a tool to isolate his subject, the building, or to focus attention on the architectural style. ‘The popular opinion about Soviet architecture is that it’s grey and boring,’ observes Modaser. ‘Nowadays it doesn’t look so good any more because the buildings and their surroundings are not taken care of and the people living in these buildings make alterations to the exterior that deviate from the original design.
A good example of the latter would be that a lot of people in post-Soviet countries chose to close up the balcony of their apartment. They did it with their own design in mind and with different materials. The result is that it looks horrible. That’s why I try to clean up a building in post processing in order to show a bit more of the original design. And when I isolate the building, I can put more emphasis on this design.’
Residential building on Bul Mira, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Canon EOS 70D, 17-50mm, 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 100
There is a certain amount of pre-planning and Modaser uses maps to figure out what the best point of view is and how the light will fall on a building. However, he also loves to wander around and shoot whatever he comes across. ‘If I see an interesting building, I pin the location down on my phone so that I can revisit it at a later time,’ he says.
‘In general, I like buildings with strong symmetry, clear use of geometric shapes and an interesting pattern because these work the best with my minimalist approach. I also like to shoot historical buildings that have their own story.’ The subtle colour palette and tonality in Modaser’s images are artfully controlled in post. ‘For the background, I use two hues of blue,’ explains Modaser, who continues, ‘A slightly more vibrant background makes the photo pop more without being too distracting. Also blue is a calming colour so it’s a good way to make the background disappear because I want to emphasise the architecture.
For the building itself, I try to make the colours pop a bit more but mostly it’s just some small tweaks together with my own LUT in Affinity Photo. I try to use mostly white, black, reds and yellows because I like the combination of these colours with a blue sky. For photos on Instagram, I add just a bit more contrast and saturation because I feel that it gets more attention on the platform that way.’
Pink house on Groenhazengracht, Leiden, Netherlands Canon EOS 70D, 17-50mm, 1/640sec at f/4.5, ISO 100
Top tips Find a topic or an aspect of architecture that you yourself find interesting instead of what you think others might find interesting and the creativity will flow more freely. Practice, practice and practice. Try shooting the same image or scene multiple times over long periods of time to see how you can improve yourself and your photography. Preparation is key. Try to visualise the photo, find out what time of the day works best for the photo you want to make and make sure you bring the correct gear.
Jeanette Hägglund Jeanette is a Swedish photographer and artist based near Stockholm. She studied aesthetics, the philosophy of art and language, art, media, film and photography at universities in Sweden and abroad. She works as a commercial photographer and as an artist. See more at www.jeanettehagglund.se Instagram @etna_11.
Swedish-based pro photographer Jeanette Hägglund started taking photographs and making short films at the age of eight. She went on to study photography and then continued to explore the language of photography, experimenting with different films and developing techniques.
‘I try to think outside the box to play with different styles and to stretch the boundaries of photography,’ explains Jeanette, who continues, ‘at one early exhibition in my career, a photography teacher said that my work was not photography but art. So, “good” I said to myself, art-photography it is then!’
Jeanette doesn’t limit herself to photography though and is equally happy drawing and painting. However, the quick pace and immediacy of the photographic process suits the speed with which creative ideas come to her. As a professional photographer, Jeanette’s main subjects are architecture, branding and portraits. Her architectural photography is a mixture of commissioned work and personal practice.
Jeanette’s approach to photographing buildings is relatively straightforward. ‘I want to create my own style where I am concentrating on the essence of a building,’ she says. While there is a strong element of abstraction and minimalism in her architectural work Jeanette strives to capture and highlight a structure’s unique character.
‘I have always been interested in geometry and how it appears in architecture,’ she comments, and continues, ‘I think minimalism highlights what I want to capture. When I make an abstraction, I want to highlight the unique, in a kind of semantic way I’m interpreting the building.’
For Jeanette, the minimalist approach, the use of abstract light and colour all come together to form her unique style. ‘Colours, light, textures, tones and so on are all part of all the image,’ she remarks, and adds, ‘Colours are interesting and have a strong meaning and effect on us. I love colours, but I simply use what I have in front of me.’
Planning plays a vital role in her workflow. ‘I do a lot of research and check the orientation of the building so I know how and when the light will fall on it during the day,’ notes Jeanette. ‘I often have more than one building to shoot. It all depends, there is no typical procedure of which buildings. Depends on the work, or if it’s a project with a special subject.’
Unlike Modaser (see above) Jeanette never uses image editing software to alter her composition and the images are as she framed them in the camera at the point of capture. Many architecture photographers work in the early morning and in the evening, to take advantage of the magic hour, the blue hour and so on; Jeanette embraces this too but also works throughout the day to take advantage of the hard, harsh shadows on the midday light which can further enhance strong, graphic architectural shapes and lines.
If possible, Jeanette will return to a building many times to find her favourite light. ‘I’m always full of ideas and have a great imagination but I want to stay open for changes in my plan,’ she explains. ‘I want to let reality mix with my preconceived ideas, letting the architecture affect me at the same time and mixing it with my ideas. I see my work as interpretations.’
Jeanette works with tilt-shift lenses to correct verticals and keep lines straight. ‘I have many different lenses, depending on whether I’m capturing the whole, parts or making close-ups of a building.’ It’s perhaps surprising that despite the very formal approach to Jeanette’s style she rarely uses a tripod. She concludes, ‘I’m very stable and have my own technique to be as still as possible. Although I will use a tripod in a very low-light situation.’
Top tips 1 Have an idea of what kind of buildings you want to shoot and why you want to shoot them. Once you’ve developed a style, try to stay within it and look for buildings that fit into this mode of thinking. 2 Light is vital and it’s good to choose a day with the right light. If you can, return to a building multiple times over a long period of time to see how the light changes and affects the building in different conditions and from different angles and times of the day. 3 Look for lines and shapes, shadows, patterns, tones, textures and colours and make a note of how they interact with each other and try to capture the spirit of this.
Claire Gillo speaks to three pros to find out their top tips for photographing architecture and interiors from different eras, angles and perspectives. If you find these insights helpful and take some great building shots, make sure you enter the Architecture round of APOY, which closes on June 11th – get your skates on!
Modern Exteriors – Dug Wilder
Dug started specialising in architecture and interior photography eight years ago. He shoots mainly for architects, interior designers and building manufacturers in the UK and NZ. See him on Instagram @dug_wilders or www.dugwilders.co.uk
Low light Shooting when it’s dark or at dusk can create some fantastic effects. It shows off the lighting which the client may have spent thousands of pounds on. Shooting at night will nearly always require some post production work to create a professional finish. Often the difference in light levels need tweaking, and this takes time to get right but the effects are worth the effort.
Symmetry is your friend Bracketing your shots (taking various exposures) is something I do for all my shots, but for night photography you need to really extend that range to make sure everything is covered, from the dark foreground to the bright internal lights.
Symmetry is your friend I love finding the central point of a building and trying to create the most symmetrical shot possible, as it’s pleasing to the eye and impactful. With symmetrical shots I often have to take several shots and stitch them together because usually you can’t stand far enough back.
Often there will be another building or detracting item in the way. Take your time with this kind of shot as just being slightly off-centre can sometimes be horribly obvious.
Add another element By adding a human or animal to a shot you add life to the scene. It’s a quick and easy way to transform what otherwise may have been a lifeless shot, especially when the building itself doesn’t excite you.
Unfortunately you don’t always get to shoot stand-out buildings! Often it takes a bit of patience to get the right moment but a crowd or individual crossing in the right place really can make a difference.
Go long(ish) Long(ish) lenses are great for architectural photography. When I first started shooting I always wanted a wideangle lens on a full-frame body, however now I’m moving back to longer lenses, and getting further back from the subject to shoot either part or the whole building.
The effect is more subtle, more proportioned and shows the property in its surroundings. On a typical shoot I’ll capture the shots half wide and half long. Usually the wide is for the essential shots the client requires of the whole property, and the fun stuff is done with a 24-105mm.
Keep your vertical lines vertical Nothing shouts amateur architectural photography more than converging lines (with the odd exception when it has been intentional). There are a few ways to do this, but keeping your camera level (preferably on a tripod) using either the built-in spirit level or one that fits to your camera’s hot shoe is the first step.
I always work with a Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift lens that allows for the horizon to be raised or lowered whilst keeping the camera horizontal, however these lenses are not cheap. Until I could afford one I used a super-wideangle lens and cropped it, creating the same effect but with a smaller res image.
At the post production stage I nearly always tweak my images with the lens correction tool to make sure all the lines in an image are both horizontal and vertical.
Dark and light Don’t be afraid to let the shadows be dark and the highlights be bright. It’s very easy now especially with an HDR technique (which I personally don’t use any more after dabbling with it when it was first created years ago) to make the whole image too bright and visible.
However by keeping areas in shade it helps to show off the bright, reflecting parts of the building, which is especially effective on bright sunny days.
27in 5K iMac Architectural photography requires a lot of editing, with mixing levels of different exposures, correcting lens barrel distortion and removing any unsightly skips/cars/people. Having a large high-resolution screen to do these edits can help. Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift lens My go to architectural lens creates stunning images with almost no distortion, and with the shift function offers views of buildings otherwise impossible. Although it has no autofocus, this inconvenience is outweighed by the end results that this stunning lens can achieve. A big breakfast I spend hours lugging my big tripod, full-frame camera and heavy lenses around buildings and I love it, but it can be tiring so I need a good breakfast to keep me going.
Historic buildings – Duncan Shields
Duncan is a heritage and museum photographer and photographic historian. He uses a variety of digital and historic processes within the heritage industry and gained his PhD in photographic history in 2017. See www.duncanshields.co.uk.
Steady as she goes Use a variety of tripods and stabilisation devices such as mini tripods, flexi-legged tripods, a monopod and bean bags. Keeping your camera steady in the dark, and often tight places is a must to get sharp and usable results.
Old buildings in particular are often small and difficult to manoeuvre around, but by having a couple of size options you can get into angles that show the less-seen aspects.
Also, balancing the light without creating terribly over-produced HDR imagery means balancing the light in camera, so filters and portable LED lights or speedlights are the order of the day.
Strip it down Try to carry only the most vital pieces of equipment. Smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras and wideangle zooms make getting the shot you want easier than lugging around massive DSLRs and all the lenses you own.
Wideangle lenses between 10-24mm are a go-to for both interior and exterior work, but a standard zoom or 35-50mm prime lenses are also vital to cover every eventuality and opens more photographic possibilities.
Stack ’em high! Learn to use focus stacking and in-camera bracketing for various situations. Focus stacking can be extremely useful to capture the minutiae of a place’s history. Getting everything in sharp focus allows the viewer to experience the photograph in great detail, however never underestimate the value of a narrow depth of field to focus attention on specific areas of the image.
It depends on your aesthetic choices and the story you are trying to impart as to which techniques are relevant for which place.
Remember your composition Slow down and consider your compositional elements for every shot. Try looking for interesting symmetrical positions or try to challenge your usual compositional angles; but make sure you pause and consider what each shot is adding to your story of the place.
For example, aspects of a building’s use, or even parts of the building’s fabric itself, may have changed throughout its history – find the view less seen, perhaps one that is more in keeping with the history of the building and thereby tell the story of its use.
Research Learn the history of the place and aim to tell that story in your images. It’s also vital to know any restrictions and rules pertaining to photography and access before turning up, especially places that might be derelict and potentially dangerous. Visit the site before the day of the shoot, look for the hidden details that show why this building or place is special as well as the wider context shots.
Old buildings in particular have been photographed throughout the history of photography; find those photographs and think about how you want to show this history.
Tread lightly Remember these places are special. They have existed for a long time, sometimes thousands of years, and as such require a modicum of respect. Pay attention to listing and conservation advice at all times; never try to adjust or alter the nature of the place you are photographing and never, never, never do any harm.
The fabric of the building or the safety of the site is more important than your shot. If in doubt, check on the advice for photography issued by governing bodies such as Historic England or the National Trust, and always follow information provided by staff.
Laser measurer Useful to locate the exact same viewpoint over long periods of time when documenting images such as before and after changes to buildings during restoration. Just make sure to measure your position in all dimensions from features that won’t change during repair. Portable LED lights It’s rare to find a historic building or open-air heritage site that doesn’t need some form of lighting and many will not have power available. Remember to take plenty of spare batteries. Colour checker To accurately reproduce colours I use a colour checker for each viewpoint or change in light. A grey card also comes in handy for white balance adjustments on the fly.
Trendy interiors – Hanna Polczyńska from kroniki.studio
Hanna works in the field of travel, interior, and architecture photography. She creates aesthetic visual stories (also called kroniki) for designers, interior-oriented brands, restaurants and hotels. See her on Instagram @kroniki or www.kroniki.studio
Ghost pictures An interesting effect in interior photography is the use of the so-called ‘ghost’, that is a silhouette of a person captured in motion. A person clearly visible in the photo will always focus the viewer’s attention and therefore distract them from the interior design.
However, sometimes it’s good to capture someone in the picture to show functionality of the space. If you photograph a model with a long exposure time it will appear in the photo as a blurry figure. That is how you can emphasise the presence of a human in a more discreet way and not distract the viewer’s eye.
Details Wide frames are considered to be the basis of interior photography but it is also the detail shots that build the atmosphere of the entire photoshoot. It is worth showing close-ups of finishing materials, textures and characteristic elements of the interior arrangement to attract the attention of the viewer.
When taking these shots work with wide aperture values (eg f/2.8, f/3.2) so that the depth of field is as shallow as possible.
Natural light I believe that natural light creates the best conditions for interior photography and for the most part there is no need to enhance the space with artificial lighting. Any good architect, whilst creating and designing a project, will have taken into account how natural light illuminates a space.
Focus on emphasising how these features are lit and not falsely tweaking them. In this case, flash or studio lamps can easily spoil this and flatten the whole interior design. Therefore, instead of investing in professional lighting, I recommend a simple photographic reflector and use the existing natural and ambient light during your photoshoot.
Keeping the lines straight Just as you would in exterior architectural photography, in the case of interiors it is also necessary to keep the lines straight. It is crucial to use a tripod and I personally feel if you want to take quality images you should invest in a professional tripod system instead of using cheaper ones.
When you are taking your shots straight on you need to remember the lines and levels. This is where an auxiliary grid through the viewfinder or LCD screen comes in handy, and some also have a built-in levelling option, which can be useful.
Elements of life The role of an interior photographer is not only to present a spatial design and its features but also, if not primarily, to reflect the spirit of a place and thus also its hidden story. After all, interiors are created for people – they are homes, places of work or leisure.
Given this, it is worth showing in your images traces of someone living, working or resting within the space. For example, it could be a coffee mug on the kitchen counter, a book lying wide open on a nightstand or a table set ready for a meal. However this is only one side of the styling process, as you also have to hide less- desirable elements, such as cables, clothes or excess decorations. The key is to get a natural effect without overloading the frame with unnecessary distractions.
Using Wi-Fi Some of the more recent technical innovations can significantly improve the quality of your photos. In the case of interiors, the absolute blockbuster is the Wi-Fi connection option which allows you to control the camera from a tablet or smartphone.
After setting the camera on a tripod and selecting the frame, you have a live view in front of you and can freely move around the entire set, constantly controlling the arrangement of furniture and objects visible in the photo. This way you are able to precisely compose the perfect shot!
Wide lens and standard I use at least two different lenses – one wideangle lens to capture overall shots (e.g. 16-35mm) and one standard lens for close-ups (e.g. 50mm or 85mm). Tripod This is needed to keep the lines straight and save yourself time fixing the photos in post-production. Tablet This is useful for shooting remotely and using live view mode while composing the scene.
Further reading Great women architecture photographers share their insights
Architecture photography has traditionally been a male-dominated genre, as has architecture and the building industry generally, but things are changing fast.
Some of the biggest names in architecture photography are now women, so to give you lots of ideas and inspiration for the current Architecture round of APOY – which closes on 11 June 2021 – we speak to some leading exponents below.
How did you get into photography? I have always enjoyed photographing. In the beginning, I was in doubt if I would study fine arts or architecture. I decided on architecture and graduated in 2003.
From 2007, when I was still working in an architectural office, I started doing various photography courses as a hobby. Gradually, at the request of the office, I approached architectural photography by taking photos of the construction process and development of some buildings.
After that, in 2013, I decided to leave the office and start my own practice to only work with architectural photography. At that time, it was very difficult to find specialised architectural courses. So, I started to wonder about—and build—what I considered important issues to develop my own language.
Did you start out on a specific type of photography that eventually led you to a more architectural style? As I graduated in architecture, this language has followed me since 1998. When I started to become more interested in photography around 2005, I chose some courses that were aimed at photographing people.
I remember a special course that followed the daily work of recyclable garbage collectors on the streets of São Paulo.
The photo essay revealed an almost invisible work of very important urban actors in the city’s informal economy. Photographing people in their activities in the city is something more important to me than photographing just architecture.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? When photographing interior design, I don’t see much difference between male and female photographers. But, to photograph large scale architecture, male photographers are still predominant.
I believe that this “natural” selection comes from two main factors: physical resistance, as it is very exhausting to photograph almost 12 hours in a row carrying heavy equipment and also because of women’s safety while walking through the streets. To make these great essays possible, I do hire a male assistant to help me.
Unfortunately, architectural photographers are still mostly men, but, great female professionals have achieved prominence throughout the years in other fields as well, and this is really encouraging.
What do you shoot on? My first year as a professional photographer was with a basic lens kit (18-55mm / 17-40mm). I remember not being able to photograph a facade of a building because there was not enough recess, and the lens distorted the architecture too much. The Photoshop work was intense to correct perspectives and distortions.
Today, I look at these pictures and I dislike them immensely! Then I have gradually acquired the equipment that I work on today— the Canon 17mm, 24mm and 50mm tilt-shift lenses.
However, the lens I find most versatile is the 24mm TS-E. Another very important item is a good tripod. As I have also photographed large works such as airports, a museum, corporate clusters with several buildings, I cannot have a very heavy tripod. I have a carbon steel Gitzo with a Manfrotto head.
Who do you draw inspiration from? I really admire the works of Cristiano Mascaro and Nelson Kon, two great Brazilian photographers of architecture and cities. In addition, my references include Thomas Farkas, Peter Scheier, Sergio Larrain and Saul Leiter, whose works also focus on common people and day-to-day life in the city.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about from your work? It is not specifically about my work, but about the work of architectural photographers in the contemporary context. Today, our images are practically disseminated only through digital media, since printed media are increasingly more scarce.
The production of great text and image content depends on good professionals and, of course, with long training and expensive equipment. Today, we see the indiscriminate re-posting of images by companies willing to sell their products shown in the photos without wanting to pay for the right to publish it. So, we all expect (and are grateful for) the recognition and respect for the work we have developed.
How did you got into photography? It all ended up as an extension of filmmaking. I was very encouraged by European cinema—Béla Tarr, Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Werner Herzog, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, and other filmmakers.
At that time, I used to watch four movies a day at the local movie theatre and had moved from Portugal to Italy to have a formal education on the history of Italian cinema. Based on my strong visual sense, it was clear to me that I could become a filmmaker and that photography was one of the many fields that I had to be proficient in.
After collaborating at the Italian Cinematique, I decided then to follow my path by starting studying photography and working as an assistant photographer in a studio. This had a tremendous impact on my image-thinking approach. That was my starting point, I became so obsessed with photography that today I’m a photographer.
How did you end up developing a more architectural style? Focusing on space came very naturally. I have always created bidimensional images of physical spaces and landscapes in my mind as a way of trying to tell a story in film—it was a natural part of storytelling.
Moreover, I grew up in Portugal, a country which has a strong cultural sense, interest and sensibility for architecture. I never saw architecture as merely a built environment, but rather as part of society—part of human-kind, a research of social theory, with an important role in sociological and psychological fields.
That is what interests me here as a photographer. Who are the people who use these buildings and spaces inside my images and what are their responses?
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Gender stereotypes strongly influence people’s choices and are barriers to women’s career progress—and so, mine. I still nowadays experience resistance, but it makes me a tougher woman.
Women are still underrepresented in different fields. In the media industry, for instance, it is very clear that women architects, philosophers, image-makers and so on still have very narrow space to participate and share their thoughts.
I think it is important that we as a society encourage and increase women’s participation. That is the key to promote gender equality.
There are plenty of angles in your work, which you seem to combine with organic shapes. Is that a deliberate choice? Yes, I do consciously use composition and different elements to create contrast. All my images are created with maximum control, and I rigorously organise each millimetre you see inside the image before shooting.
What comes across at the end will depend on the project and expressive feel I am trying to achieve.
What do you use to shoot? It is based on the project I am working with. I can use a 24×36, medium format, large format, or even polaroids as I did when photographing the physical space in Ramallah, Palestine.
Who inspires you? I am a passionate reader, my mind gets very stimulated by literature as the voice of Thomas Bernard, who has a great sense of humanity in his writings. I simply cannot avoid reading, I walk from one shelf to another, consuming old papers regarding Hellenistic culture and its literature, art-historical references, philosophy, sociology in a very rigorous and methodical way.
I am thinking, for instance, all my readings, music evenings and strong interest in visual communication go directly to the consciousnesses—it is all about the essence that lies beyond each discipline.
How did you get into photography? My interest in photography started as an architecture student in Rome, where I would use photography to document and complement my design projects. I got even more into it when I had to make work for an urban photography course.
The professor was teaching with Lewis Baltz in Venice and I got obsessed with Baltz’s work. I’m now less interested in the New Topographics, but I think it’s been a great starting point for my career as an architectural photographer.
How did you go on to develop a more architectural style? After my MA in Architecture in Rome, I moved to Toronto, where I was born. I wanted to try and live there for a few months to discover the city and also be close to a part of my family living there.
While I was looking for jobs in architecture, a photographer I met suggested to get in touch with A-Frame Studio, one of the most famous architecture photography studios in Toronto and so I did. I got completely fascinated with the idea of becoming an architectural photographer, waking up early to spend a full day in beautiful houses and buildings, studying the light to document each space.
Since the assisting days at A-Frame, I never looked back. I came to London and completed an MA in Fine Art Photography and that has been a complementary experience that allowed me to expand my photographic knowledge.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? I’m really proud to be a woman working in architectural photography. This is still considered a predominantly male profession—probably because of the heavy equipment to carry around and time to spend alone in the streets in strange hours.
But I see more and more female architectural photographers producing beautiful work around the world. I often like to look at architecture photographs and guess who is behind the camera, looking for clues in style between male and female photographers. In some cases, women’s work is more atmospheric, I think and if architecture photography is moving away from the classic empty photographs, focusing only on the shape and monumentality of a building,
I hope that the vibrant and dynamic touch of female photographers becomes more and more present over time.
Who inspires y0u? There are several artists I really like, but they have very different styles. I’m always very fascinated by the composition in the work of Jeff Wall and the uncertain meanings of his photographs.
I also love the use of colour and shadows in Vivian Sassen’s photographs; the calmness in the Italian landscapes photographed by Guido Guidi and the soft and atmospheric way Alfred Stieglitz portrays New York. I remember staring at his small photos at Tate Modern a while ago and thinking that I really wanted to walk on rooftops and photograph cities.
What do you shoot on? I had the chance to work with technical cameras – Arca Swiss paired with a Leaf digital back and beautiful manual lenses—from the beginning. Here in London, I also had access to similar kit, but I soon realised that a smaller full-frame DSLR camera would be much more manageable – especially as I usually document the development of a project from beginning to end, on construction site also.
Now, I regularly shoot with the most common set of tilt-shift lenses and I think they are essential to architectural photography. I also use film for personal projects and love shooting with my Hasselblad.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got into photography? I started my photography when I moved to Belgium in 1999. I studied photography at RhoK Academie, and later in Ecole des Arts d’Ixelles in Brussels.
MUDEC Museum, David Chipperfield Architects
What led you to a more architectural style? In the beginning, I was interested in portrait and landscape photography. I was especially excited to work in the darkroom when the image came out of the chemicals.
Working with analogue cameras, developing black-and-white film and making prints in the darkroom, was very important for me in the process of learning and understanding photography. Later on, I got the opportunity to work for a Slovenian architectural magazine, where my work had been published. This has been a great motivation for me, and I became totally devoted to architectural photography.
Nowadays I am appealed to photograph architecture, which is innovative, sustainable, and in harmony with nature. Since 2018 I have been participating at the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), which takes place in June every year. This year, LFA Digital was launched due to coronavirus.
Stelios Ioannou Learning Resource Center, Atelier Jean Nouvel
I’m taking part, with my exhibition A Vision for the Future: Sustainable Buildings. In this exhibition, I present a sustainable office building, 7More London, the PwC building by Foster&Partners.
Besides photographing commissioned projects I also explore architecture as space and as poetry. With my personal projects, I like to present the space as an emotional experience. I photograph mostly contemporary architecture, but I am also excited to photograph the architectural heritage, industrial architecture, historical buildings, process of restorations and constructions.
Series “The Winding Stairs”
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? It is a privilege for me to work as a female architectural photographer, which gives me a chance to present an additional view of the architecture comparing to male photographers. I think that accessibility to this genre is a question of ability to find the clients and the quality of photography work
Also from the series, “The Winding Stairs”
There are plenty of angles and organic shapes in your work. Is that a deliberate choice? I am aware that I always look for light, how the light falls into space, and how creates new shapes and forms. I also pay attention to sound, temperature, smell, material. I’d like to explore the atmosphere of the space and bring it to my photographs.
What do you shoot on? I have used different cameras and lenses—Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc. Currently, I work with a DSLR, the Canon EOS 1DX. I use different Canon lenses, as well as tilt-shift lenses. I prefer working with the available light and rarely use artificial light.
Series “Architectural Detail”
Who inspires you? Many great photographers from the last century—contemporary artists, and architectural photographers—have inspired me. I would like to mention, among others, a few.
Edward J. Steichen, Josef Sudek, Julia Margaret Cameron, Masao Yamamoto, and Bauhaus artists. I admire their work because of their originality, new vision, composition, poetry.
How did you get into photography? It started out sometime around 1998. In the later years of high school, I always had disposable cameras and would take photos of my friends when we were goofing around. Then, after graduating in 2000, I went to art school and by then I had my first analogue SLR.
In the first year, I studied all the studios (ceramics, painting, textiles, commercial art, printmaking, sculpture, film/animation and photography) as well as art history. In the second year, I continued the art history classes and specialised in the painting and textiles studios.
I had access to the darkroom and photo studio so I was still shooting, developing and printing photos on my own time. I really enjoyed the process of creating an image from start to finish, and I always had a supportive community encouraging me to keep pursuing photography.
After studying architecture, I was accepted into the photography programme at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. I had realised that four years of university wasn’t enough for the massive responsibility that is architecture and I wanted to focus more on the connection between architecture and photography before entering into the professional sphere.
So in the summer of 2006 I packed up my life and drove 5000kms to start a new adventure. I ended up getting a number of credits covered because of my architecture degree so I was able to spend a lot more time playing with my own ideas and self-directed projects which were mostly architecture/design related. I graduated at the top of my class in 2009 but in 2008 Canada was hit with a recession so I had a surprise wakeup call that any entry-level jobs I would be looking for at an architecture firm likely no longer existed.
That’s when I realised starting my own business as an architectural photographer was one of my only options where I could use the degrees I had just earned and satisfy my passion for both. Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Apple Visitor’s Center – Foster and Partners, Cupertino, CA
What do you shoot on? I have always used Canon equipment from the beginning so it just made sense to stick with it as the technology changed from analogue to digital. I went to architecture school right around the time digital techniques were being introduced and slowly becoming integrated which was the same experience I had in photography school.
Learning analogue photography and then having to shift into digital was inevitable but was still sad to have to put my 4×5 camera aside. Now I’m using a Canon EOS 5DsR and a backup Canon EOS 5D Mk III, a Manfrotto tripod with a specialized tripod head that combines three-way panning and geared movements for more precise positioning. I have various lenses that I use depending on what the space is like, a 16-35mm for big wide spaces, a 24mm tilt shift lens, a 50mm for details and vignettes and a 70-300mm zoom when exterior shots call for it.
I also learned quickly when shooting architecture that all your baggage should be on wheels if you can’t carry it on your back because there’s so much moving through a space to capture all the angles, details and materials.
Heliopolis Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt
Who inspires you? I love the work of Vivian Maier. Her work beautifully depicts everyday life in the modern city and the characters she encountered. The story of her life is also mysterious and is pieced together by all the documents and photographs she left behind.
I’ve always been inspired by Julius Schulman’s photography of modern architecture. The way black-and-white photography highlights the geometry of the architecture is always exciting to me. I love math—specifically algebra and geometry—and puzzles, so I’m drawn to the composition of lines and how elements of a space fit together.
I learned early on about street photographers and documentarians, the way Henri Cartier-Bresson composed his images by waiting for the decisive moment has always been the objective. To allow that moment to occur naturally amongst the architecture, and being able to recognise it, brings a level of authenticity to how the architecture is being inhabited. Modern architecture/design itself is a huge inspiration because of the philosophy and ideas behind the movement. If you experience a great piece of modern architecture, it can be magic.
Capilano House – Miza Architects, North Vancouver, BC
Because of my painting background, I’m inspired by Pop Art and Cubism, and the modern artists who were changing art the way the modern architects were changing design. I take a lot of inspiration from film and cinematography as well—the way you can create space with light, composition and repetition to influence emotion is powerful in its ability to affect the experience of architecture.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Like architecture, photography and more specifically architectural photography, has been a male-dominated profession. As times have progressed, women slowly made their way into architecture as they did with so many other fields and today the ratio of women in architecture has greatly improved.
A few years ago I volunteered with the Vancouver chapter of Women in Architecture and a lot of the concern (that still exists) is being in a profession that hasn’t accommodated the role of professional women who are also mothers so the result has been women stepping away from their careers to become primary caregivers for children but on the flip side, many were able to become small business owners.
Shopify – Linebox, Ottawa
They’ve been able to create a situation that allows them to still be architects but on a different schedule that is more malleable for a growing family.
Since becoming an architectural photographer and small business owner, I’ve seen more women enter into my profession which helps broaden representation and shifts the idea away from men as more qualified since that’s how it’s always been. Occasionally I still get an older guy commenting on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it but I usually get the impression it’s because secretly he wished he had my job.
I do think that the internet and dare I say, Instagram has helped in bringing more exposure to women photographers while introducing the idea that architectural photography shouldn’t be reduced to a small demographic. What I hope for with the societal shifts we’re starting to see is the inclusion of more people of colour in architectural photography as well as the architecture profession.
Bringing more perspectives into the conversation can only strengthen the genre and through that broaden our ideas of the built environment and how architecture inevitably affects our lives.
The Shed – Diller and Scofidio + Renfro, New York City, NY
Any other aspects of your photography you would like to talk about? When I’m not shooting for clients and traveling for work I’m working on self-directed projects. In the background the one project I always have on the go is photographing modern architecture at varying scales. It’s such a treat getting to experience original modernism but to also be able to photograph it satisfies my deep nerd tendencies.
Another project that I’m currently working on is with my friend and colleague Dina Sarhane. In December we traveled to Egypt for the month to study the community spaces located throughout Cairo. While we were there we met with several architecture academics and professionals to discuss the history and design of the spaces that are integral to the wellbeing of the neighbourhoods and urban population.
I was able to document the whole experience and gained access not usually permitted, especially to foreigners. We also went on a three day desert safari to the White Desert where I had a great time experiencing the culture and landscape outside of the city. I have a few different photo series from that trip that I’ve been working my way through.
How did you get into photography? I have always had a strong attraction for images and, I always thought that somehow I should have insisted on this inclination of mine. I come from southern Italy in a small town, which I left as soon as I could to go to study photography.
In Turin I attended a three-year course at the I.E.D. university, where I gained many important skills that helped me to take my very first steps into the complex world of images.
After my studies, I joined a creative collective called “Superbudda”. There, I finally put my aesthetic vision into context with the realization of events and promotion materials, from the planning stage to the final realisation.
What do you shoot on? A funny side of my path is that for several years I have never owned a camera! I knew very well all the equipment that fortunately I was able to use during my studies but as beautiful and professional as they can be to create images are also very expensive. Outside the university, I have always managed my work as I could and with any equipment, I could put my hands on.
To be honest, I am happy with that because I learned to do my job with any tool and equipment that can create an image, without worrying too much about the quality and the performance itself but always finding a valid reason for the final success.
Where do you find your inspiration? At first, more than in photography, I use to look for ideas and inspiration into modern paintings, probably due to my previous artistic studies. My first shots, perhaps for this very reason, are so graphic that they resemble more a modern painting than a photograph.
I have my weaknesses and are certainly Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper, about painting, in photography instead my perfect mix is composed by Ralph Gibson, Stephen Shore and Thomas Demand.
It is already very complex for me to explain why I photograph. When you do something spontaneous, especially when you do it just for the need of doing it, it is untranslatable in terms of explanation. I would very much like to be able to create images that do not need any explanation.
Unlike many, I am more fascinated by aesthetics than motivations even though, today, we believe it is more attractive and captivating to look at something followed by a declared strong meaning.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Very often, I am asked this question and just as often I have found myself in situations where I was ‘chosen’ precisely because I am a woman who focused all her work on architecture.
I admit that at the beginning of my journey I never thought that a photographic genre could be associated to a human gender, male or female, but then, someone pointed out to me that architecture photography is, in fact, a male-orientated genre.
Finding that out came as a surprise and, even today, it is still incomprehensible to me. If architecture is a man then it means that while I photograph I will be a man, no problem.
How did you get started in photography? I started photographing in 2002 when I moved to Toronto, Canada. I was 16 and had a compact camera that didn’t work very well, but I took it with me everywhere. I photographed mostly the landscapes—so different from the ones that were familiar to me in Brazil. Everything was so different and fascinating, so I photographed a lot during my walks around the city.
I was always alone during these walks and photographing was a way to connect with this new reality and share it with my friends from Brazil. A few months after I arrived there, I enrolled in a photography class where I had my first contact with a reflex camera and black-and-white lab. In 2004, I came back to Brazil and the next year I got into college to study photography.
Up until then, I didn’t think about photography history and language. I just took pictures. That’s when I started to study and fully dedicate my time to photography.
My first job was as an events photographer—birthdays, weddings, baptisms, all kinds of events. I didn’t identify with that work because working alone, as much as possible, has always been very important to me. All those people, even though they were the main subject of the job, ended up disturbing me. But, I did it for years because I gained experience from it and the money allowed me to invest in equipment.
Meanwhile, I also worked with fine art printing and as an assistant for my friend Ricardo Teles. It was only in 2010 that I came in contact with architectural photography—I started working for Nelson Kon, who is one of the first architectural photographers in Brazil. A couple of years later, I quit event photography for good. In 2013, I did my first architectural photography job for some friends of mine.
Even though I had been working with Nelson for three years, until then I hadn’t done anything related to this area… but it worked. They liked it, I liked it, and now I’m a full-time architectural photographer.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? I’ve felt many times that clients doubted my capacity as a photographer for being a young woman. It was nothing openly said – always something subtle, like seeming surprised when meeting me in person or walking around me to see what I’m doing during the photoshoots.
I must say that I feel an enormous satisfaction when these clients receive the images and say how happy they are with the results. And there’s the most common thing to us women in any field: clients choosing a male photographer that doesn’t have as much experience as I do.
What do you shoot with? I work with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with 24-105mm and 70-200m lenses, as well as 17mm, 24mm and 50mm tilt-shift lenses. Plus, a Manfrotto tripod and bubble level attached to the camera.
Who inspires you? My biggest inspiration is Nelson. He’s the one who taught me everything I know about architectural photography, and he’s a very generous guy with his knowledge.
I also love the works of Lorena Darquea, Iwan Baan, Julius Shulman, Nick Hufton, Allan Crow and Joana França, and I’m a big, big fan of Hélène Binet.
Time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best contest of its kind…
It is hard to believe but we are on round 5 of APOY already.
With its varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.
The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform.
This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.
Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.
*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.
Send us your best architecture shots! So far we’ve had Black and White, Natural World, Home and Landscapes, and round 5 is on another very popular genre – Architecture.
This round offers huge scope to create all manner of creative, dynamic shots. Whether you’re drawn to grand, traditional structures or sleek, contemporary works of art, the possibilities are endless.
While we fully expect you to explore the buildings and skylines of towns and cities, don’t forget that architecture takes many forms. For example, a bridge can offer many different compositional and framing opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be a little abstract in your images too. Architecture is filled with curves, lines and other interesting details, and they can all be captured to great effect.
Shapes Of The City is a project by London photographer Luke Agbaimoni that explores visual interactions between the architecture and art of London and the medium of dance and yoga.
“It celebrates the huge variety of shapes and patterns that we experience as we travel through the city,” Agbaimoni writes.
Each of the photos in the series features one or more people posing in a way that reflects the location, whether it’s an art piece right next to a dancer or whether it’s a massive architectural masterpiece looming large in the background.
Agbaimoni is also the photographer behind Tube Mapper, a project that aims to document all of London’s tube, overground, and DLR stations.
I know times are very different, and materials and costs are also a totally different ball game, but I still think it’s a pity that much modern architecture is so stark. To be fair, what I like equates much more to the crowded, busy interiors that are exemplified by the John Rylands Library in Manchester. A wonderful, gothic place that excites the imagination. And then we have the modern extension, welded onto the side of the old building and looking more Ikea than Gothic. I will admit that the open, spacious cafe and shop area are pleasant, but they waste space, as does the atrium that leads to the stairwells. The atrium is a classic example in my book of a total waste – it is just a large, open space that seems to have no connection with the humanity that passes through it with no sense of interaction.
Or the areas leading to the lifts.
I just find that so boring and bland. So, let’s contrast that with some of the dark, gorgeous Gothic architecture of the old library buidling.
But sadly, I doubt that many clients will pay for Gothic these days, so we may be stuck with glass, metal and concrete for some time.
Architecture photography is something that’s accessible to all and with so many ways to capture structures that line our streets, it’s a project that you probably won’t get bored of anytime soon. You can shoot skylines at night, look for interesting patterns in small detail, use the hight of skyscrapers to add drama to your shots or how about simply making a project about your own home? Don’t just think this is a town or city project either as you’ll find interesting structures at the coast as well as statues and monuments that are well worth capturing images of. Whatever you decide to do, here’s 36 tutorials crammed full of tips to help you improve your architectural photography skills.
When buildings are illuminated at night their shapes and features are enhanced in a very different way than by daylight and it’s a great time to take photographs. The most challenging thing is getting the exposure and colour balance right, which we’ll help with, otherwise the standard rules of composition apply which we’ll cover briefly first.
The beauty with photography is you’re not restricted with how you can take a photograph. You can play with as many lights as you can afford, add filters, gels and play with numerous other gadgets to alter the look of your photograph. But even though there’s all these toys waiting to be played with, one of the simplest ways to change the way your image looks is to get up high.
Stairs and steps may sound boring, however when you start thinking about the materials they’re made from and the shapes and styles that exist, you’ll soon realise there’s plenty of steps to keep you and your camera occupied. Be it a graphical shot of an industrial set of steps leading up the side of a metal structure or a spiral staircase in a grand house, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll soon realise there’s many interesting sets of steps and stairs around you that will make an interesting image.
City life’s not for everyone but as the sun begins to set find yourself a vantage point where you can see most of the city skyline and you’ll soon have a photograph that may make you rethink your dislike for cities. One of the best times for photographing city skylines is when the sun’s begun to set so there’s still a touch of blue in the sky but the light’s not too harsh so make sure you’re on your chosen vantage point well before sunset.
Most of us use bridges every single day and while it is true that many – big and small, old and new – of them aren’t worth photographing, there are a great many that are extremely photogenic. These are impressive structures that often dominate the area in which they are situated.
Britain’s bursting with structures and buildings that photographers are naturally drawn to thanks to their postcard-perfect looks and history. It also helps that many of the buildings are in locations that are perfect for a day out, making them subjects photographers can shoot and their families can enjoy too.
Capture something you may not have normally noticed by shooting abstracts in the city. To help you out, here are a few tips to get you thinking more creatively about buildings and how you can focus on patterns, textures and shape rather than the structure as a whole.
For many of us, when we decide to get out an about with our cameras we automatically turn to the countryside. But with the majority of the population living within easy reach of a major Town or City, is that really the right decision? It’s great fun just walking around a city taking shots of literally everything but if you want to capture great images you need to go with a plan and a bag of kit including a couple of lenses and a tripod.
Who said the buildings and structures you capture only have to be in-land? Beach huts are a popular feature of the British coastline and provide photographers with colourful detail that’s often overlooked. While many of us shoot with a wide angle and get the huts dramatically stacked in a row under a broody sky there’s an alternative option of moving in close for a more abstract shot.
Stately homes are, in many cases, open to the public. Some are still lived in, with sections cordoned off from public viewing, but the rest is accessible, often with restrictions – no touching, often no flash and sometimes no photography. For those properties that do allow photography you have the opportunity to photograph grand designs, walls with magnificent paintings, and rooms with exquisite furniture and other items.
From the earliest known relic, some 8000 years old, to the latest metallic monstrosities, statues are waiting to be photographed. You could visit a museum or sculpture park but as statues decorate out city streets, local parks and even churchyards, you don’t have to venture too far if you don’t want to.
When we think of historical buildings we often think of castles and churches, but there’s much more to explore. Our towns and villages are brimming with architectural delights from banks to factories to inns and market halls, all waiting to be photographed outside and sometimes (if you’re lucky) inside. All you need is a little local knowledge.
Here are 5 more essential tips on photographing the bridges that dominate our towns, cities and countryside. We look at what time of day is best, what lenses to use, how to give your shots a creative edge and more.
To make the most of what our churches have to offer we have to get inside them which can be trickier than you think. Larger churches and cathedrals may have photographic restrictions (a fee payable to use a tripod, no flash etc.) and certain opening hours but generally smaller, local churches are more willing to give you access any time of the day.
Towns and cities are great places for hunting down textures and once you start looking at detail rather than buildings as a whole, you’ll soon find a variety of textures to fill your memory card with. Walls, steps, doors, sheds, modern metal structures, roof tiles and windows are just some of the locations you’ll find interesting textures at.
Church interiors are difficult to photograph because they usually have huge bright windows and dark nooks and crannies with the rest being a mix of tones illuminated by tungsten light or candles. Fortunately, with digital photography and modern software there is a solution, it’s called HDR (high dynamic range) photography.
Take a short walk through your town and you’ll find a thousand and one things to photograph but instead of walking around for hours photographing trees, postboxes and buildings one at a time try getting your wide angle lens out to capture and emphasis a wider area of the town.
The nights are drawing in again which means most of us are now driving home from work in the dark. It’s a stark reminder that winter’s on its way but all’s not that bad as it does mean you can shoot some night time shots in and around your town before you head home for your evening meal.
The key to this type of photography is to stop looking at buildings as whole structures and focus on the small pockets of interesting patterns and shapes they’re made up of. Don’t overlook the ugly looking buildings either as most of the time, once you’re zoomed in and focused on one part, you’ll find they’re perfect subjects when you’re on the hunt for architectural patterns.
For a while now people have voiced how they’re bored of seeing the same line of shops in every town that have repetitive signs, the same window displays and products on offer. But even though these giants are all over the country you can still find the quirky shops with interesting frames and signs to photograph.
Everyone likes a sunset but instead of packing your gear up once the sun’s set wait around for when the sun has vanished below the horizon and you’ll have the chance to capture some really creative images.
As Times Square is a popular location for tourists, it can be hard to shoot architectural photos that aren’t dominated by people. However, there are a few things you can do to capture shots that aren’t so focused on the people visiting this city.
Skyline shots and photos of iconic structures are something all photographers strive to shoot when in Manhattan, New York and David Clapp has headed to one of the most iconic structures in the city – Brooklyn Bridge.
The UK’s coastline has many lighthouses which are worth a visit with your camera. Some are open to the public and are definitely worth exploring, but here we discuss using lighthouses within the wider landscape.
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