When architectural photographers take pictures of buildings, their aim is to capture it at its very best. They try to shoot it in the best light, at the best time of day and from the best possible angle – and preferably without any pesky people cluttering it up (find out how to remove people from photos)!
What they’re trying to produce is a perfect, almost idealised view that’s all crisp, clean lines and pristine surfaces (for more tips, download our free architecture photography cheat sheet).
Of course, when most of us photograph buildings we’re not doing it to keep a client happy, so we don’t have to be so particular, but the same principles apply: the idea is not to just fill the frame and hope for the best, but to try and explore every angle until we find the best viewpoint.
And before we even get our cameras out we need to work out what time of day – and even what time of year – the light will be at its best for our chosen view.
If we do decide to include pedestrians in our image, or if there’s simply no way of keeping them out of shot, we need to set a slow shutter speed to blur them slightly – if they’re sharp, there’s the the risk that they, rather than the building, will end up becoming the focus of our image.
That aside, one of the biggest challenges facing the aspiring architectural photographer is ensuring that any verticals are actually vertical!
If you shoot a building from straight on, all of the verticals will appear vertical and the horizontals will look horizontal, as the architect intended.
If, however, you point your camera upwards – to get the top of a building in the frame, for example – the sides of the building will tend to lean in, or converge.