Given the fact that buildings are static and therefore relatively easy to photograph, I’ve always wondered why architecture is an often overlooked photographic subject.
It could be that many people shoot buildings square on, which sometimes produces flat and uninteresting photos. Or maybe a famous landmark has been photographed so many times, with the exact same composition, that a photographer figures “Why bother?” and walks on by.
Whatever the reason, following a few basic tips should help you shoot architecture in a more interesting way.
When photographing a group of buildings, zoom in with a telephoto lens and try to get as many of them in the composition as you can. This will create an effect in which the buildings will appear to be stacked against one another.
When shooting a tall building, get up close and shoot upward with a wide-angle lens to give the appearance of the walls leaning inward. The lower and closer the camera is to the building, the more exaggerated the walls will appear.
Modern architecture can be a good source of patterns. A repetition of lines, textures or shapes can be used to create eye-catching abstract images. Using a zoom lens will make it easier to isolate unique patterns and eliminate unwanted elements from the picture.
Including a person or a group of people in a photo can often better illustrate a building’s size. It is important, however, that the person/people not compete visually with the architecture. Ideally, they should be located at the bottom or bottom corner of a photograph and should not be wearing brightly colored clothing.
When photographing architecture, oftentimes a story can be told by focusing on the details of a structure as opposed to its entirety. Looking for pieces of a building that would reveal its character is often more successful than using the building as a whole, especially with old architecture.
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