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5 Tips and Tricks for Creating Better Architecture Images
Architectural photography is a special type of photography requiring a specialized (and at times expensive) set of tools and demands a discerning eye. When shooting architecture it is important to capture discrete elements that the architect has laid out.
Since most people viewing your images will likely never visit the space you are capturing, it is up to you as the photographer to convey what the architect intended. It is your responsibility take what someone has created in three dimensions and translate their vision to the viewer through a two dimensional image. If you are up for the challenge, here are a few tips and tricks to get pointed in the right direction.
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” -Frank Lloyd Wright
Avoid Converging Lines: First and foremost you’re biggest concern when shooting architecture are composition and the avoidance of something called “converging lines”. When you’re vertical lines are not spot on, converging lines occur and they distort the final image of the design you are shooting. Instead of perfectly vertical walls, you may end up with walls that appear to be falling inward on top of the viewer. Clearly this isn’t the reality of the building you are shooting. If you’re shooting for a client, you don’t want to show off a building that looks as if it’s falling down!
As with all photography, lighting is key. If you aren’t able to bring lights or don’t have the time to wait around for that perfect time of day try taking multiple exposures of the space and then blend them together in programs such as Skylum’s Aurora HDR. This allows you to show detail in both the extreme shadow and highlight areas in a relatively even exposure.
Architects and designers spend countless hours planning every detail of a space. Likewise, you should invest some time to soak up the space before you even take the first shot. Walk around and check out different angles, look for small details that might get overlooked and try to incorporate these into your final image. If you are able, stage your scene; add props like fruit, or a newspaper to make the space feel more alive. Designers and architects love seeing the space being used as intended.
This is perhaps your best asset in getting the right shot. If you plan ahead, scout the location, note the best times of day for the right light and spend even 10 minutes thinking ahead and pre-visualizing how the shoot will unfold, you will notice a dramatic difference in the polished final look of your images.
While architectural photography can be an extremely technical endeavor requiring specialized lenses and tools, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. You can still create amazing architectural images when keeping the above tips in mind, especially when using post processing software like Skylum’s Focus CK or Aurora HDR to correct distortions, add effects, and otherwise polish your final image.
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