- Camera Placement
- Exposure Techniques
- Contrast Techniques
- Lens Choice
- Explore Details
- Composition Tools
- Post Processing
- Commercial Real Estate Photography 101
- What to Charge for Commercial Real Estate Photography Services
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Understanding some basic principles of architecture photography can result in our creating superior images and get more enjoyment out of the project. Some of my favorite images, from myself and from others, can be categorized as architecture photography.
As an introduction to architectural photography, here are some principles of architecture photography and some architecture photography tips that will also prove useful.
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One of the major differences in architecture photography as opposed to residential or commercial real estate photography is that the purpose of architectural photography is creating art while the purpose of real estate photography is to sell a building or promote a business.
So, our entire mindset changes from showcasing a product realistically to making an interesting image. If you’re a landscape photographer, you switch from searching for interest in a natural subject to one that’s man-made.
When we’re imaging as a professional service, we may often use composition and exposure to make the subject look good and be completely understandable in one view. Within the principles of architecture photography, we have quite a lot of freedom of choice, which applies to all of these principles of architecture photography, by the way.
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One of the freedoms of choice we have in architecture photography is camera placement. With architecture photography, we can choose a point of view that shows the street view of a building, but we don’t have to. We could capture the side or back, or inside we could look right up the stairs or down from a balcony.
With interior architecture photography as well as exterior architecture photography, we have a wide-open opportunity with regards to camera placement.
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Exposure settings allow us to control what is shown in our architecture photography. We can adjust for one part of the building or an interior room, leaving other parts of the image view either in deep shadow or with bright highlights.
Exposure techniques can also be used for controlling how a color is represented in our image. Based on what exposure and lighting we have, the color red, for instance, can be bright or be a very deep hue. This works for other colors as well.
Shooting for black and white images gives us its own variables. We could employ the Zone System for either color or black and white, or could opt for HDR photography with the bracket and merge method.
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These exposure techniques give additional control to photographers, how to handle contrast levels. We often first think of lack and white with respect to contrast in principles of architectural photography, with good reason since it can make such an impact.
Contrast can also be found in color. Being familiar with the color wheel will show us what colors are complementary and which ones are contrasting. Exposure techniques allow us to adjust these contrast levels to what we intend them to be in our final image.
As mentioned in the exposure bullet point, exposure techniques are used in conjunction with contrast techniques through processes such as HDR photography, the Zone System, and use of GND and polarizer filters.
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Wide-angle lenses are a staple in architectural photography for their ability to let the camera sensor see an angle of view that can include most of our subject. Other lenses are also useful, such as fast normal or short telephoto primes.
An ultra-wide-angle lens can be used creatively for extreme depth of field effects while the fast primes in longer focal lengths might be employed in order to accomplish a select focus effect. A fisheye lens offers a field of view that is pretty special, you can enhance that or diminish it with another of the principles of architecture photography, camera placement.
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These lens options will give us freedom to focus on smaller details of the architecture or capture a more encompassing view. Think of it as being to capture the forest and the trees.
We can isolate a smaller part of the subject by excluding other aspects through camera placement and lens choice, or we can use exposure and contrast techniques to control this. A stair rail curving up the wall can be isolated by lens angle of view or by contrast and lighting.
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One of the more important principles of architecture photography is using all of our cherished composition tools and techniques.
Some of the ones that immediately pop up in our thoughts as basic principles of architecture photography are Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Negative Space, and Symmetry. One that we might overlook because we think of it as mostly occurring in nature is the Golden Spiral, also known as the Fibonacci Sequence.
The Golden Spiral can be found in all spurts of architecture, especially in larger or older buildings. You can also see it in bridges, isolated parts of interior and exterior views, or in attens of multiple things such as windows, archways, and other things.
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Post-processing will give us even more control over several of these principles of architecture photography.
Exposure and contrast control can be enhanced, manipulated, or altered with the controls available in most full-featured post-processing programs. Cropping controls might enable us to isolate an aspect of some of the details in our subject.
Architectural photography is a great art form. It can teach us tools and techniques for other genres of photography that we do. It makes great artwork to print and hang on walls or put up for sale. Plus, it’s really a lot of fun!