Week 14 Module: Photographing Architecture
Buildings were one of the few things that held still long enough to get an exposure.
In the early days of photography, of course the cameras were not as sophisticated as they are now. No Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilizer technology, and film of course had a limited ISO capacity. So one of the few things photographers could capture with the long exposure times their cameras needed was architecture. Buildings and monuments didn’t move.
Later on as camera technology grew more sophisticated, the tradition of photographing architecture continued for several reasons, but the one that most emerging photographers cited is that it is easy to get into your portfolio. Architecture doesn’t change as much as say, people’s faces. Buildings are easy to find anywhere that’s inhabited. And you only had to wait for light, to make a good photo.
Simple as it sounds, there are a few techniques that transform an architectural photograph from a snapshot to a fine art piece. This module brings you some tips that could do just that.
Focus on Lines and angles and composition
Architectural photos are all about the language of geometry. The photographer finds how the structure’s lines and angles add to the design of a building. A common technique is to take a slice of the structure and highlight it in the image. This sort of abstraction eliminates the clutter, makes the composition cleaner, and renders an interpretive image.
Focus on color
Colors on a building are no accident; like everything else, they are part of the design. Sometimes, the colors in a building can be used as elements in a composition.
Where is the structure? What surrounds it? Sometimes it is better to include this part of a building’s story. Other times, it isn’t a big help to the composition. It’s the photographer’s decision to add context or to cut it out. Everything you include or exclude in an image adds to the message and effectiveness of that image.
Light and shadow
Here is a great video talking about using light and shadow to make an architectural photograph with character.
What’s it like at night?
Night photography is a great way to explore architecture. Buildings are lit at times to showcase their forms. Here is another tutorial from expertvillage on how to take a photo of a city at night.
Finally, how about some inspiration? Click on these links to see what I mean about the elements discussed in this post.
50 Stunning Examples of Architecture Photography by Smashing Mag
Maxwell MacKenzie’s Website
Finally, your goal this week is to apply these tips and tricks to your photography. Experiment with your imagery, and take photos at different times of the day. Then, share your best image on the Imagine That Photography Tribe Facebook page! Have fun!
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