Sunday, November 3, 2013

Architecture Photography as an Art

– Timothy Shotts      

I commonly document my models with photos – we all should.  Document Everything!  Models are fragile and you might not get a chance to borrow your friend’s SLR camera and take some quality shots before something tragic happens.  I feel comfortable changing the focal length to blur the background, and I can frame a photo with the worst of them, but that’s where my photography skills end.  Did you know that Peter Smith may offer Architectural Photography class in the spring?   I would love to see the gallery and hallways filled with photos from that class!

Until that class is offered…
A quick online search turned up a couple photography sites with tips for successful architecture photography. and .  Unsurprisingly, I also found this, and on their Who, What, Why page:   “Architects live and die by the images that are taken of their work”.  We are photography industry professionals with a love for architecture. Great architects need great photographers and our goal is to help them find each other. ( ).  You want to be a great architect, right?  Of course you do!  I’ve found that the folks in photography department are more than willing to help photograph your models.
From, here are their 9 tips summarized.
1.     Be conscious of lighting, contrast, shadows, textures, and reflections.  Also, bracket shots at different exposure values and use a photo editing program to merge them.
2.    Get a fish-eye or wide-angle lens to capture the building in its environment.
3.    Don’t forget the inside.  If natural light levels are low, use a long exposure.
4.    Take dusk and night-time photos too.
5.    The photo can be great even if the weather’s not.
6.    Reflections add an extra dimension to architecture photos.  Seen the Bean?
7.    Research the architecture and find an important detail to photograph.
8.    A large f-stop will retain detail near and far.  A small f-stop will reduce the sharpness of either the foreground or background.
9.    Images should be dynamic as well as aesthetic and graphic.  Look for hierarchy, symmetry, composition, and combine curves and straight lines.

Below is a photo I took at the Du Quoin State Fair during the summer of 2013.  Holly was awarded the blue ribbon in Architecture Photography.   Notice the contrast between the shadows in the arch and the skyscraper that is nearly washed-out in light, the capture of detail on the arch, a small f-stop to retain detail, and curved lines mixed with straight.

Photo by Holly Glosser


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