While I’m a street photographer at heart, I often find myself drawn to the structure and form of architectural photography. In this article I want to share a few tips that help me when I’m looking for interesting buildings to photography
1) Create drama through interesting light and shadow
I mostly shoot in the late afternoon when the light is more directional – resulting in deeper shadows and richer colours.
In the example below I’ve placed the exposure point on the brightest part of the scene – the edge of the large white wall in the centre of the frame. The slight underexposure helps isolate certain shapes and saturate the rich tones in the sky and building facades.
2) Fix your perspective
One of the biggest challenges with shooting tall structures is the way they can lean towards each other, resulting in perspective distortion. One way to fix perspective is to get higher up in the scene. This way you’re shooting it straight on rather than tilting your phone upwards. If you don’t have a lift handy, another option is to use a perspective adjustment app such as Perspective Correct (Disclaimer: I’m the co-developer the app).
With Perspective Correct you can swipe the screen the control the amount of horizontal and vertical correction applied to the photograph (as shown in the screencap below).
Here is the before and after image. Can you see the improvement?
3) Look for reflections and patterns
As you can see in the image above, the reflection form the neighbouring building has created interesting diamond shapes on the façade of the historical building. For this exposure, I placed the yellow exposure circle on the sky (just outside the top of the frame) this has dropped the overall light level of the image and drawn attention to the reflected patterns.
4) Add a human touch
Adding a person to your image helps create scale within the scene. It gives the viewer a point of reference with which they can measure the architectural elements. I often find myself waiting for a figure to walk through the scene. I also search out silhouettes, as they help add drama to the composition.
5) Stack those layers
I’m always on the lookout for interesting layers within the urban environment. Try and be aware what’s happening at different distances when composing an image. In the example below, I’ve placed the figures in the foreground, the stairs in the middle and the building in the background.
There are a number of inspiring architectural mobile photographers. One of my favourites is Lynette Jackson who uses graphic elements to add a new interpretation to the medium. You can also find interesting images under the #architecturedesign and #architecture_masters tags.
ProCamera is available from the AppStore for US $4.99.