Architecture and photography go hand in hand. Beautiful buildings call out to be photographed but those that are as large as they are grand can be tricky to capture in all their glory.
Today we’re paying homage to the beasts of buildings that attract photographers in their groves, by giving you some hints and tips for photographing their best side.
When photographing buildings two of the biggest problems you can have are contrast and perspective. If your contrast is too strong you’ll find the scene could be exposed incorrectly, so pay particular attention to the direction of the light and apply exposure compensation if necessary.
Deciding which angle and perspective to photograph your subject from is perhaps your biggest decision. Shooting tall buildings close up can result in a lot of projection problems, some of which can be solved with a good quality shift/tilt lens. These pieces of kit can be expensive, so you may also want to consider shooting a vertical panoramic instead with the use of a wide-angle lens. Your camera may even have a specific panorama mode to help you join shots together and once you have, they’ll look fantastic with the image transferred onto a customise canvas print!
If you do choose to stand at the base, point straight up and shoot, you’ll likely end up with converging lines that you’ll need to remove in editing. The resulting shot will be subject to distortion too, so you may want to consider moving back a little to add a bit of perspective. If you also want to include people or other objects within your shot, select a small aperture so you can make out the detail.
Learning a little about your photographic subject in advance will help you line up special shots, even if it’s just a case of being more aware when people, events or other types of action might be milling around the base or inside the building to provide an extra point of interest. Delve a bit deeper into the history of the building and you’ll start to understand some of the buildings features – the individual nuances that make it unique and that you want to capture. From doorways and archways through to unique window trimmings – all of which you may want to highlight in your own personalised print.
If the building is in use, start by speaking to those who use the building, they’ll be able to suggest good times to photograph it and perhaps give you the inside scoop on unique features that you can capture with a telephoto lens. If it’s a tourist hotspot, don’t be afraid of asking your tour guide questions that will support your efforts, they’re likely used to being quizzed.
We’ve spoken many times about covering off the basics – arriving early in the morning or setting up in time for sunset and using a stable tripod to get some truly spectacular shots. The rules apply equally whether you’re photographing a landscape or a massive building. If the weather plays against you this isn’t necessarily a negative with architectural photography – large buildings disappearing into mist can be just as impactful as steep towers illuminated by sunshine! To demonstrate the true majesty of the biggest beasts, why not capture them against the elements and transfer the results to a split custom canvas?