Last edited 15 Jul 2016

Photographing buildings


[edit] Introduction

Sometimes taking the perfect photograph comes down to being quick. Becoming familiar with the functions of your camera can be extremely helpful in those moments when you only have a fraction of a second to get the perfect picture. When in doubt, just snap away. If you take the shot, then there is no chance of losing that perfect picture.

If you think you should not bother taking a photograph because everyone and his uncle have already taken the same shot, take it anyway. Put your own unique spin on it, and enjoy your photograph of the full autumn moon, the spring tulips at the park or the famous church downtown.

For that perfect photo, pay attention to depth-of-field! Practice shooting photographs using differing apertures and note how the different settings affect your final image. A smaller depth-of-field is useful for focusing attention on a single element, such as a portrait shot of a person or pet. The background will appear blurry, making the subject stand out. A greater depth-of-field is great for landscapes, keeping the entire frame in focus and allowing the eye to take in the full effect.

When aiming for the perfect shot, remember to keep sunlight in mind. Too little and you can't see the subject. Too much and one of two things happen. The first is that too much sunlight is directed into the camera's lens or on the subject and washes out the picture. The second is the person being photographed has to blink or close his eyes because of the massive amounts of sunlight coming into his eyes.

Make use of panning for some great and interesting shots. This means following the image with your camera. When applied correctly to your shooting conditions, you will end up with sharp details on your subject matter. You will also end up with a motion blur on everything else, making for a great shot.

When photographing a building or landscape, consider shooting from an angle that incorporates a strong point of interest apart from the "bigger picture." Examples could include a colourful bouquet of flowers next to the building, or a majestic oak tree in the forefront of that distant sunset. Landscapes are often lost in translation if not defined by their proximity to other items.

To create photographic images that resemble paintings, try having your photos printed onto matte or semi-gloss papers, then painting them by hand with photographic oils or pastels. These items can be picked up at most art supply stores and many camera shops. The most popular paints are made by Marshall's and are created specifically for use on photographs.

A good photography trick that can help you out is to focus on a particular spot in front of the action if you're taking an action shot. If you simply try to take a picture of the action itself you might miss it entirely. It's better to focus on an area in front of the action.

Now that you have some tips to help you capture the images that you shoot, you are sure to produce images that you can be proud of. You can show all of your photos off knowing that the images in them are clear and ready for all to see them.

Make sure you're holding your camera properly to get the best photograph. You want to make sure you have your arms tucked against your sides and one hand should be under the lens to support it. This will help reduce any movement and insure that you're able to get good photos.

Use a good lens to get a better image quality. You can create artistic pictures with any kind of equipment if you work hard and adapt your style to your equipment. But getting a good lens definitely opens up more possibilities. For instance, you can capture more details and get a better focus. Take your pictures quickly. The longer you hesitate, the better the chance that your subject will move away, break their pose, or become tired and stop smiling. Start taking shots as quickly as you can, and don't worry about getting the camera perfect before the first shot.

The faster you shoot and the more photos you take, the better your chances are of getting a good one. Decide if you are interested in a subject before you photograph it. Know that if a subject is seeming boring to you, it is going to be boring to future viewers of the image. Take some time to make your shots interesting, and you will be rewarded with better shots. When working around subjects that are moving a lot or are totally in action, you need to focus on capturing the moments by keeping your trigger down. These kinds of moments can not be recreated and there are no do-overs. Keep your eye on the areas at all times and keep shooting.

An important tip to consider with photography is that you want to be creative and unique at the same time. This is important because there are already a myriad of pictures taken in the same way of the same subjects. In order for your photographs to stand out you need to add your own flavour to them. Remember to look for unusual things. It can either be a small detail or a strange situation. Learn how to represent what strikes you as unusual or original in the world you see. As you practice, you will be able to recognise what makes a good subject for your pictures.

A good photography tip is to use colour contrast as a way to create your focal point. Basically this means the area you want the viewer to focus on should have high colour contrast. A good way to achieve this is by putting two pure colours side by side. In conclusion, one of the greatest inventions has to be the ability to take photographs. People can use cameras to capture any moment that will last for many years. Use the photography tips in this article to help you capture moments that will last for many future generations.

Having a high quality camera is the first step. Make sure that the camera, lens and equipment are all from a reputable company who makes quality photographic equipment.

Play with the aperture settings. Take a number of photos of the same subject with different settings to see how it affects the look of the final photo. Bigger f-stops allow you to get an entire landscape in focus, while a smaller f-stop will draw attention only to the centre of your frame.

Learn about composition rules. Practice and experiment with these rules to create unique pictures. For instance, organising a picture around diagonal lines gives an impression of depth. You can also play with colours and gradual nuances to give an impression of movement to a picture. Do not follow the rules blindly, but learn when to use them.

If you are thinking about becoming a photographer, it is important that you go to college. Most companies will not hire a photographer unless they have some sort of education in photography. There are many websites that will provide you with the best colleges throughout the whole world for photography.

Be ready to take a picture at all times. This does not mean you should have your camera in hand, this means you should be in the proper state of mind all the time. Look at the world as if you were seeing it through your camera. When you see something interesting, take a picture.

Try not to be too mechanical with your shots. Sometimes it is better to get an eclectic angle than to shoot various run of the mill photos. Also, try to implement the scenery into your photos as often as possible if you want to capture a more personal and unique depiction.

Focus on a single subject in your photographs. Pictures will work best with a single, clear point of focus. Setting up a composition that involves multiple subjects can be difficult and can result in a disorganised, cluttered frame. Having a single subject also makes setting your zoom and other settings easier.

A great photography tip is to stop using flash. A lot of people use flash whenever they take pictures because they don't know any better. Flash flattens everything out, creating an undesirable and artificial photograph. Instead try to stick to more natural lighting when shooting your subjects.

Make use of the instant feedback you get from a digital camera. The screen on your digital camera can show you the basics of how your photo came out the instant you snap the shot. Learn from your mistakes and take another shot, there's no need to wait for your prints anymore.

Play with lens distortion. Most photographs use portrait lenses or zoom lenses to focus on an object, and use a wide-angle lens for landscapes and such. By using a lens for a different use than its intended one, you will get a very original photograph. Do not let this become your style: learn when you can use an original lens.

When you are taking a picture, your arms should be close to your sides. This will help keep the camera still and ensure that your picture turns out clear and crisp. Your non-dominant hand should also be under the camera lens to hold it steady as you snap the picture.

Know your camera. If you have recently purchased new equipment, or if you have had yours for a while, but never taken the time to know it's ins and outs, then do so. Read the manual, or play with the functions extensively until you understand it. Knowing what your camera can do will give you better pictures as you can adjust to changing light and circumstances.

[edit] Definition

An architectural photographer is someone who takes photographs of structures and buildings in a professional capacity. Their photographs are often intended for commercial purposes, for the developer to publish online or in brochures, or for the portfolios of the project team. As potential buyers and clients are often drawn to properties by an image, it is very important that attractive photographs available, and the right photographs can be very valuable to those who commission them.

Architectural photographers may be trained photographers that have specialised in architecture, or they may be have a background training as an architect or related profession.

As photographer Paul Grundy said in an interview with Designing Buildings Wiki, it is not essential for an aspiring architectural photographer to study architecture. Universities and colleges offer a variety of different photography courses, during which it may become possible to take a specialist module in architecture… Professional experience can be attained through working as an assistant to a photographer. According to Paul Grundy, 'it takes 10 years of hard work, regardless of what you shoot, to become a professional photographer.'

[edit] History

Architecture has been one of the main subjects for photography since the technology first emerged. Indeed the earliest surviving photo is of building rooftops, in Nicéphore Niépce's 'View from the Window at Le Gras' taken in 1826 or 1827. Building were particularly well-suited to early photographic techniques, which required long exposure times, and so subjects that did not move. This made architectural photography one of the first photographic specialisms.

However, the first architectural photographs were primarily taken as record images, and had little creative ambition. It was photographers such as Frederick Evans at the beginning of the 20th century that began to consider more complex, stylised images, capturing the unique character of their built subjects.

Through the 20th century, architectural photography slowly became part of the stylistic reportage of the time, appearing in art, architectural and lifestyle magazines, photographic and architectural books. This became a way of communicating the latest ideas in style, design and technology, with sometimes dramatic images, depicting desirable buildings, sometimes shot from unusual angles.

Today, the range of uses for architectural photography has expanded, from vast images used to enclose construction sites, to an increasing need for small digital images that are readable as thumbnails, and can be shared on social media. This has driven a trend towards simple, graphic images that flexible and can remain clear and easy to understand in a wide variety of sizes and formats. The digital era has also increased the prevalence of landscape rather than portrait formats, as these can be more suited to viewing on screen.

New technologies such as stop motion photography have become more popular, in particular for recording progress on site or during manufacturing processes, and there is an increasing demand for video footage for platforms such as YouTube. Previously expensive techniques such as aerial photography have become more accessible with the emergence of new technologies such as drones.

With the rise in prevalence of visualisation modes such as CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and virtual reality, there is some concern that traditional architectural photography may be under threat. However, despite the increasing sophistication of the technology available, it is generally felt that high quality photographic representations give more accurate and dynamic renderings of buildings than computer simulations.

[edit] Approach

There are a number of things to consider when commission architectural photography. Photographers have different styles and philosophies and it is important to do research before committing to an individual. It also is important to set out the nature of the commission in writing to avoid possible confusion or disputes about what is required and what usage rights are permitted.

Critically, it is important to decide whether the requirement is for record images, or for sales, or whether the client is interested in the creative ideas and style of the photographer.

The photographer may choose to display some of the building's environment or interesting angles and perspectives. Often, controlled perspectives with an emphasis on vertical lines that are non-converging and parallel are used.

Exterior architectural photography can use natural light or ambient light, while interior photography will often require that the photographer introduces additional lighting, such as electronic flash 'strobes' or incandescent 'hot lights'. This can require more time to set up, but is ultimately more controllable than exteriors, where the light changes, shadows move, people pass by and so on.

Historically, photographers have tended to exclude people and traffic from their images. This in part is because it was considered that the people would then become the subject, rather than the building, but also because the obscure the view of the building, they move, and there may be issues regarding permissions and the need for release forms. This is beginning to change, as increasingly, clients want to show their buildings full of life and desirable places to live.

For more information, see How to commission architectural photography.

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