Architectural Photography

Architectural Photography

Nowadays we all have a camera of some sort; a point and shoot/DSLR/Drone/Disposable/Smart device with a camera. With the ease of access to cameras, it comes as no surprise that almost everyone considers themselves a photographer. Last week whilst on a commission of the largest shopping centre in South Africa, I was approached by a young man. He rushed towards the team and said “really cool, bud you into photography? ….. what camera do you use? My dad bought me one like that, its pretty rad”. I smiled and said something along the lines of “I hope you are putting your camera to good use”. Often I would like to respond by saying “I have watched all of Jamie Oliver’s shows and read all his cookbooks, plus my girlfriend bought me the exact same pots and stove Jamie uses, and my food is as good”…

Architectural Photography is the photography of buildings. I started learning to photograph architecture in my first year Part 1 BA Architecture Undergraduate Degree. Concepts I learnt in my 3 years of studying architecture helps me every day as I go out to photograph a building and these concepts play a major part in how I compose shots. I am a firm believer that architectural photography should highlight the architect’s design concept, bring out the vision of the design team and most of all architectural photography images should be an accurate representation of the actual building without elaborate distortion. One should be able to identify the building and detail when comparing the building to the image of the building.

Photographing architecture similar to wedding photography or portrait photography requires specific skills and understanding of architecture and architectural design. These particular skills can be found in experienced architectural photographers to recreate your design in pixels. An experienced photographer is able to showcase the key angles, structure, lighting and colours that make your building.

As a client, your architectural photographer needs to make a number of considerations prior to photographing your building. Some of these include the following:

  • Understanding the client brief
  • Getting in touch with the form and shape of your building
  • Contextualising the location of your building
  • Best time of day to photograph your building – always get saddened when I see images shot when there is a full shade in the foreground….
  • Lighting
  • Best vantage points
  • Appropriate lenses to use – often I see buildings photographed with an incorrect lense which leads to massive distortions, for instance columns and walls curve in the image whilst they are actually straight in real life. At times you see an image of a quarter of a triple volume space as it would have been photographed with 50mm lense instead of a 14-24mm or 12-24mm lense.
  • Understanding that long exposure is not for every building (exteriors)
  • Understanding angles that work for buildings

Your images should be able to be showcase, market and sell your building. As South Africa is part of the global economy, good images are important for anyone who is investing in a building and expects a return on investment on the building, as those images can be seen all over the world and can ultimately help someone sitting in New York to become a potential investor. South Africa has amazing architecture and if photographed correctly we can truly appreciate the great work our amazing Architects, Engineers, Project Managers, Interiors Designers, Landscape Architects and construction companies are doing across the country.

InfrastructurePhotos – Passionate about architecture.

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