The Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Taj Mahal, the Flatiron Building, Konark Sun Temple, etc… are a few of the amazing and breathtaking Architectures around the world. They are not just buildings. Instead, they are the living examples of the art, science, and technology blended together in the making of such well-constructed structures. Architecture Photography is the art of capturing these beautiful architectures. Both Creatively, and skillfully into the frames. Hence, here an Ultimate Guide to Architectural Photography is all about the career, scope, and challenges in the field of Architecture Photography.
An Introduction to Architectural Photography
What makes an image attractive? Is it the colors in it, light, subjects, elements, or the storyline? Well, all these make together a well-composed image. Architectural photography is a pretty good example of this. Whether it’s the clouds, the sky colors, the colors of the walls, the texture of the building, roofs, interiors, the lines, and the shapes, or simply the light and shadow; it all together defines the beauty of the Architecture. Architecture Photography is also known as Architectural Photography.
What is Architecture?
Literally, the term ‘Architecture’ is referred to as any buildings or structure. They are the designed and constructed with traditional or contemporary form based on art and science.
As per the needs and the requirements of the people and society, architecture is categorized into different types. For instance, the types of architecture include, architecture such as domestic, traditional, religious, governmental, recreational, welfare and educational, museums, contemporary, commercial and industrial, etc…
What is Architecture Photography?
Architecture Photography is a genre of photography that intends in capturing the photographs of buildings, constructions, and any structured buildings, etc… in the most pleasing form. On the other hand, it’s not only the photography of buildings. The greatest essence of architecture photography is the use of light and shadow, lines, shapes, colors, form, and depth, etc… in the image.
Types of Architectural Photography
Architecture photography is of mainly two types that include interior architecture photography and exterior architecture photography.
What is interior architectural photography?
Interior architecture photography refers to photographs of the interior parts or the indoors of the architectures or says structures or buildings. Therefore, in this indoor photography, the most challenging part is the light.
Generally, the architecture photographers use the flash or strobes, etc… along with the available indoor lights as well as the light available through opened windows or doors, or through glasses, etc… The interior photography of rooms of houses, restaurants, hotels, complexes, offices, auditoriums, etc… would be the quick examples that come to our minds.
What is exterior architectural photography?
Exterior architecture photography refers to photographs of the exterior parts or the outdoors of the architectures or says structures or buildings. In this case, the main source of light used is the natural light that is sunlight. Whereas, in some situations, artificial lights are used.
For example, architecture photography during night hours or low light conditions. According, to the different course of day timing, as well as the climate and weather conditions, the photographer skillfully captures the attractive architectural photography. The cloudy weather, colorful sky, the added beauty of nature, etc… enhances the exterior architecture photographs with different moods and emotions in it. Such as classic, dramatic, and even abstract.
The exterior photography of houses, restaurants, hotels, auditoriums, museums, palaces, towers, and various other buildings, etc… are few examples of exterior architecture photography.
Architectural Photography Career
Making a career in architectural photography is something that has been a rare choice for photography aspirants. Most of the photographers, select to be a wildlife photographer, fashion photographer or commercial photographer, etc… It’s just like 2 out of 10 choose to be an architectural photographer by profession. The main cause for this is the lack of knowledge about the scope of architectural photography and the photography career options in this field.
Architectural Photographer can work for a company to update the constructional works of particular sites on a day to day basis as well as construction besis. Other than that, one can work with:
• Interior Designers
• Take up small projects like a freelancer
• Can work in Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
• Work for the researcher’s team or can
• Sell their stock images mainly the monumental in online media
Why is architectural photography important?
Architectural photography is a perfect combination of art and technology. Indeed, without the photography of architecture, the world would have been unknown to lots and lots of places. The Comfort and the Need are the two important reasons for the constructions of Architecture. While architectural photography is important for five important reasons.
Importance of Architecture Photography
1.Architectural photographs have greater importance in preserving the historical heritage of each monument built decades or centuries back. For instance, photographs used for books, museum records, magazines, websites etc…
2. Similarly, architecture photography is important to let the world know about the existence of buildings in different parts of the world. Such as seen in online websites, magazines, brochures, etc…
3. Architecture photography is important in displaying the artistic skills of the architects and interior designers in the making of the buildings and structures with various designs and art in it. Such as the brochures, banners, portfolio of architects, and interior designers.
4. Architectural photographs are also used for real estate photography where is when we create photos for a property listing that a real estate agent is going to sell on the housing market. Like in the banners, hoardings, websites, newspapers, etc…
5. And for Educational Purposes such as in school books, college books, etc… for learning about the places, monuments, buildings, sculptures, and structures of different places, etc… with visual understanding.
Photographers who capture photographs of various architectures and constructed structures in a professional manner and make money out of it are called Architectural Photographer. They invest their time and money in visiting different locations and capture the best out of it. Moreover, they are trained or educated photographers with specialized qualifications.
How do I become a professional Architecture Photographer?
To make a successful career in architectural photography, a photographer applies various innovative ways. Lets’ see here, to become a professional Architecture Photographer, what has to be basically done?
1. Acquire adequate Photography Knowledge: The most important factor is to understand photography, camera techniques, and explore in this field with proper knowledge. Pursue a good photography course that can provide you with practical knowledge, to achieve the same. Diploma in Photography, a one-year course specializing in Architecture Photography would be an apt course to be pursued.
2. Develop various Skills: Such as communication skills, and various other skills like observation, patience, inspiration, and a readiness to travel, and experiment.
3. Know your Accessories: Gears are important. But, carrying wrong or unwanted equipment will lead to loss of time, space, and money. So, first understand the accessories, their uses, and use a comfortable camera, lens, and other required materials.
4. Work on Composition: Learn to put in your elements and subject that is architecture in proper composition. Understand the application of the basic and the essential rules in photography, perspectives, color combinations, design elements, and design principles.
5. Learn and practice Editing: Digital image editing or post-processing is a required element in the field. Therefore, learn to retouch your images.
6. Prepare own Portfolio: Always maintain an online portfolio comprising the best architectural photographs up to date. A printed portfolio is also good.
7. Digital Marketing:Good works need to be marketed. In-fact the digital marketing through social media, website, etc… is much required to survive in this competitive field.
8. Make your own Signature style: Bring in the uniqueness in your style of photography. To do so, practice and practice, apply different angles and shots, think creatively, and develop your own signature style.
9. Give importance to each Project: How much you earn from one project or how much you are paid for each photograph, doesn’t matter. Remember that, by no means, the quality of work must be compromised. Whether its a project of a small house, a restaurant,
10. Maintain good contacts: This field requires having good contacts and relationships with individuals and groups of individuals. Like companies, architects, interior designers, publishers, and other fellow photographers.
As the quote says, “If a building becomes architecture, then it is art.” -Arne Jacobsen.
Similarly, the architectural photographer has to maintain this art in their photography too. There might be a hundred methods to be applied, to become a professional architectural photographer. But, good practice and practice, is what makes you an experienced professional.
Architectural Photographer Salary
The average salary for an architectural photographer is around Rs.15000/ to Rs.30000/ (approx. $500 per month). For a photographer who works as a part-time architectural photographer or freelance photographer, the income from architectural photography would be project-based. And hence the amount obtained from such projects would be much higher than the salary per month. Or it might be equal to that. While sometimes, the amount is paid per photograph too.
On the other hand, a professional architectural photographer either hired by a company or working on projects will earn a pretty good amount. For example, Rs.35000/ to Rs.50000/ monthly (that is around $700 or maybe above).
How to make an income as an Architecture Photographer?
During the selection of any career, important thought that comes to our minds is How much money or profit one can make out of one’s work or job. When it comes to photography and particularly about an architecture photographer, then the income depends on the quality of architectural photographs. There are various ways to find photography jobs.
Now, let’s see how one can make money from architecture photography.
There are simple yet effective methods to make income by capturing amazing and stunning images of architecture. The five step-by-step processes are as follows.
- Start with Photography of Houses
The best way to start in this field is to have architectural photography of houses. Both the interior and exterior photography of traditional and contemporary houses. Whether you take these photographs for any of your friends, relatives, or neighbors, accept whatever money is offered for this. Later on, with the next projects, you may charge accordingly.
- Take small Projects
Confidently take up any opportunities that come your way. No matter, whether it’s a project of just 10 photographs, or 30 in number, for a hotel’s launch, brochure, etc…, Start charging low in the initial or first project, and thereafter as per your experience increases, you may gradually charge more.
- Work with Architects
Collaborate with Architects in the city. Architects do have good contacts with bigger companies. They want their architectures to be displayed in the most professional manner. Working with them and providing the images as per their requirement, would lead us to make money.
- Work with Interior Designers
Just like Architects, the interior designers are the artists who work in decorating the interiors of the buildings. Work with such interior designers and provide them with the interior architectural photographs.
- Sell your Photographs in Online Media
One of the best ways to make money is through the online platform. Various stock photo sale websites are available that allow the photographers to sell their images and make an income out of it.
Architecture Photography Tips and Tricks
In architectural photography, our subject is the buildings and constructed structures. Whether it’s an old building, a monument, or a new contemporary house, the subject really matters. The addition of extra elements such as the sky, clouds, grass, trees, natural surroundings, people, etc…, add more value to the photographs. Well, remember that priority is to be given to the structure, concept, and purpose of the photograph. And then arrange and compose the frame accordingly.
10 Best Tips for Architectural Photography
- Use a comfortable camera, apt lens, and proper gears or equipment
- Research and pre-work about the architecture and location
- Revisit the location to experiment in different timing and weather
- Use the rule of composition for better results
- Apply design elements and design principles to catch the viewer’s attention
- Understand the art and design of the structure or building
- May add different elements, including trees, clouds, sky, and even people etc…
- Try out various angles and shots and make own signature style
- Use post-processing for retouching the images
- Above all acquire good photography knowledge and practice it
To acquire good practical knowledge in Architectural Photography, pursue a one-year Diploma course in Photography specializing in the Architecture Photography.
10 Best Composition for Architectural Photography
The composition and framing of the image stay different for each and every one. In fact, photographers are known for their unique style of composing. It’s good to know some of the basic yet essential composition techniques that can ease our job of capturing amazing photographs.
1.Rule of Thirds: The most used rule of composition in photography is the rule of thirds. Either the architecture of the building or their major elements are placed on the rule of thirds points.
2.Golden Ratio: Many photographers follow the Golden Ratio rule instead of the Rule of thirds. Dividing the frame in a ratio of 1:1.6 composition, gives a pleasing look to the entire frame.
The basic concept while applying either the rule of thirds or the golden ratio is that the subject will be off center that is away from the center.
3. Leading Lines: The lines in the structures such as horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines, and curved lines form the leading lines.
4. Perspectives: Architectures are composed either with a One-point perspective, two-point perspective, or three-point perspective, etc… The lines and depth in the image give a pleasing effect on the image.
5. Balance: The balance to the image can be applied either symmetrically or asymmetrically. In some cases, the balance is obtained from the center of the image forming the Radial balance.
6. Pattern: The repetition of designs in the structure form an attractive look in the photographs. Such as the repeated windows, pillars, sculptures, etc…
7. Texture: The surface of the building walls, or roofs etc… can be framed in closeup to acquire the texture of the architecture.
8. Light and Shadow: The technique of using the combination of light and shadow in architectural photography is one interesting composition technique used by many photographers. It indeed gives depth and form to the subjects in the image.
9. Frame in Frame: This method of composition allows the photographer to frame the architectural building through a shape that forms a frame in front of the architecture. Hence, if applied properly, it gives an entirely different look to the image.
10. Add Shapes: Circle, rectangle, triangle, oval, and so many such shapes are a part of any architecture. The whole architectural structure or building is made up of different shapes. Therefore, composing these shapes in the photograph skillfully, add more beauty and concept to the image.
Architectural Photography Equipment
One of the essential tools required for better photography results is the Gears. It is the art within each photographer that makes the images unique. But, it’s the science and technology that allows the art to be captured and displayed. Here is the list of best essential equipment or tools required for architectural photography.
The first and foremost tool required is a comfortable camera. Either DSLR or Mirrorless camera, Half frame, or Full frame camera.
Apart from a camera, the essential tool that an architectural photographer invests in is the lenses.
- Wide-angle Lens: To get a wider angle of view, the best lens recommended for architectural photography is the Wide-angle lens. Such as Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, etc…
- Tilt-Shift Lens: The Tilt-shift lens is one of the useful lenses while photographing the tall buildings, cityscapes, etc… Unlike with any other lens, the photographer here is able to shift the lens front element and apply the tilt feature for a better quality wider image. Such as Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L, Nikon PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED, etc…
- Fisheye Lens: For a much wider angle of view, a Fisheye lens can also be used. It gives a 180-degree angle of view. Since the lens is expensive, this lens is rarely used by architectural photographers.
The corners of the photographs captured from a fish-eye lens look like getting bent outwards. Hence, such lenses are usually used to capture 1 image to a maximum of 5 photographs of an architect or project.
One of the tools that are to be added to the list of gears for architectural photographers is the set of filters. Namely, the polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter.
- Polarizing filter: It is best suited for exterior architectural photography. To enhance the reflections or to decrease the unwanted reflections from glasses of windows, or such materials, use Polarizing filters.
- ND filter: The ND filters (Neutral Density) are used during sunny days, where too much of brightness in certain portions of the image can be reduced.
4. Lighting Equipment:
Natural light or ambient light is the choice of most architectural photographers. In some situations, artificial lights are required. Strobes and external flash or Speedlite play a pretty good role while capturing the interior photographs. Well, if the architecture is nearby then, it’s also used for exterior photography too.
One of the must tool for architectural Photography. Thus, use a good quality tripod that has a good tripod head and level balancing.
- Panorama Head: It’s a tripod head, that allows the photographer to capture a few images of panoramic importance. Such as useful when the purpose is for real estate photography.
- The Bracket or Clamp: In some situations, tripods are not allowed. In such conditions, the photographers use brackets and clamp, as the alternative. These are also useful when you want to use rail as well as in situations where you want to photograph from the edge of the wall, etc…
6. Extra Accessories:
1. Memory Cards:
A 32GB or 64GB memory card is worth in this field. While its always good to have an extra memory card along with you while you are in the shoot.
2. Battery Grip: A day-long shooting needs a powerful battery, to keep the camera working. Hence, carrying a charged extra battery for the camera or a battery grid is necessary to gear for architecture photography.
3. Camera Bag: A comfortable water-proof bag that is suitable for all weather conditions and the capacity to carry all necessary equipment is a must.
4. External Hard Disk: Here, the photographer himself or herself has to keep a backup of their work and store their images, using an external hard disk.
5. Post-processing Software: A photographer needs to have a well-featured laptop or computer with a configured monitor and post-processing software installed. Since, it’s essential to correct the colors, remove unwanted elements, correct the composition, and reduce the distortions, etc…
Architectural Photography Portfolio
The collection of the best architectural photographs comprising of the exterior and interior architecture photographs designed in a pleasing format is the intention behind an architectural photography portfolio. Hence, a printed portfolio in the form of a book, and or an online portfolio through a website will bring out a good outcome. Most importantly, the architectural photography portfolio must be up-to-date and well maintained. Having a self website is the best option for the same. A portfolio is also categorized into different types. Like architecture photography of Houses, Hotels, Buildings, Monuments, interiors, etc…
Find the architectural portfolio sample here.
Architecture Photography Guide
Like any other genre of photography, Architectural Photography also demands more and more practice. Buildings, houses, and, various structures, are all around us. There is no looking out for the best time to start with. Hence, just anywhere and wherever you go, don’t let go of any of the opportunities. Indeed, frame the architectures with patience, understanding the design, beauty, and the art that has been put in by the makers of those structures. And let your architecture photographs convey the story to the viewers.
Architectural Photography is a type of photography that aims at capturing the photographs of buildings, constructions, sculptures, and any structured buildings, etc… in the most pleasing form. It portrays the design and the art in the architecture with different design elements like lines, shapes, colors, form, depth, light and shadow etc…
Architectural photographers make money or income by working or acquiring a job with
• Interior Designers
• Take up small projects like a freelancer
• Can work in Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
• Work for the researcher’s team or can
• Selling their stock images mainly the monumental in online media
They also sell their photographs to magazines, content writers, blog writers, article writers, etc…
Architectural Photographs are used for various purposes both in the printed and online mediums. They are widely used for bringing in the awareness of the existence of the buildings, or structures, etc… Architectural Photography is used for,
1. Architect’s Portfolio
2. Interior Designer’s Portfolio
3. Brochures and Journals
4. Books and other publications
5. Banners and hoardings
6. Real estate photography
7. Property sale hoardings
8. Magazines and Newspapers
9. Articles and Blogs
10. To preserve in Historical Records
The best way to get architectures in the image in focus, is to keep the aperture less wide open. That is around f/8, f/11 or sometimes above than these, are good for architecture photography at day time or sunny days. While, in nighttime architecture photography, basically a long exposure method is applied keeping the f-stop in between f/5.6 and f/8.
1. Acquire photography education and camera knowledge
2. Understand the gears and invest in the required equipment
3. Own a comfortable camera, lens, and other necessary gears
4. Understand the Light and lighting techniques
5. Learn about the design and art of the architectures
6. Learn and apply the design elements, design principles, and rule of composition
7. Understand the colors and different color combinations
8. Learn and apply the editing skills
9. Prepare the architectural portfolio printed and online
10. Market your works using digital media