Tried to upload images in the Wiki section, but to no avail. I hope this might benefit someone:
Architectural photography focuses on buildings
and other human constructions such as bridges, stadiums, airports, etc. Interior design photography also comes under this term. Unlike urban photography, the building is the centre of attention; human subjects are included to provide a scale, but it is worth remembering that the most expressive architectural photograph requires a setting
and a context
as well as a sense of scale
Lighting is, as usual, a very important factor, although architectural photography is one of the few genres to benefit from direct lighting. Try to spend as much time as possible around your subject. The same building can look very different in the morning, at midday or at night.
Architecture subjects are large. Professionals very often use medium and large format cameras. When using SLRs and the equivalent, photographers frequently use wide-angle lenses and panoramas to capture architecture.
Perhaps the most important factor is composition; constructions have more straight lines than nature, which can be brought out to great effect.
Unlike other photographic genres, a large depth of field
and consistent focusing
are required for nearly every capture. This requires a narrow aperture (high f/ number) and therefore long exposures, which means a good tripod
is necessary for every capture. Using a cable release, the timer and mirror lock and then post-processing for tack sharpness also improve architectural shots.
One of the biggest problems in architectural photography is converging parallels
. When shooting tall subjects fairly close, especially with small sensor cameras, the subject appears to “fall away”. Parallel lines (usually vertical ones) seem to converge. Our brains correct for this phenomenon automatically, but our cameras cannot.
Below is an example of converging parallels.
The problem can be corrected with post-processing software, but at the cost of image quality, as seen below. It is also easy to over-correct, which is what I did below.
Alternatives include perspective control
(a.k.a. “tilt-shift”) lenses, which come with a hefty price tag and are usually bought by professionals. A tilt-shift lens varies the focal plane relative to the film/sensor to compensate for converging parallels. Perhaps the most cost-effective solution is to shoot panoramas, although this does require good photo-stitching software.
Interior architecture photographs are made complicated by the presence of different light sources
, many of them artificial. In these cases, a colour swatch card and light meter can be vital to correct the colour cast from artificial lighting. If shooting in digital, it is always easier to correct RAW captures non-destructively. HDR techniques can be used to bring out different light sources to good effect, although once again, it's all too easy to overdo it.
As mentioned above, a tripod is necessary. In some areas, use of a tripod is subject to official authorisation. Depending on where you live, privacy laws may prevent you from taking photographs even of public buildings. If you plan on taking photographs of architecture, it is always a very good idea to check out the location in advance and make sure you are allowed to do so. The security staff hired for office buildings and airports, for example, rarely know what is and is not allowed; their attitude can be aggressive and unpleasant. In some countries, photographing airports is illegal. Check first and, if in doubt, don't shoot.