Architecture has long been a common subject in photography. It encompasses such a broad range of man-made structures and can be found wherever we look. Yet, now matter how many varieties there are, there are some quick tips you can follow to get the most out of photographing architectural subjects.
Decide whether to include the architecture with its surroundings. Some structures look their best when photographed on their own. There are others, though, that would be more enhanced by their surroundings. By putting the structure in context with the scene, you can convey a message to the viewer. By including the ocean by the fisherman's hut in your frame, you are placing the structure in context. But if you want to place emphasis on the shapes and lines of the structure, it might be better to crop out everything else but the hut.
Architectural style has evolved through the ages. Old architecture usually exudes a sense of history and character. A simple composition will do since artistic effects might just distract the viewer from its natural beauty. On the other hand, modern architecture can be composed in a more modern way as well. Creative cropping, abstract compositions and experimenting with perspective can lend a fascinating aspect to the image.
The piece of architecture you want to shoot may look completely different at night compared to the day. When evening comes, the structure's lights are turned on and the colors and energy of its illumination can make the structure come alive. Lights can reflect on windows, shadows can dance on the façade, and even dull cement buildings can appear spectacular at night. When shooting at night, remember to bring a tripod and adjust your camera settings to maximize the available light.
Each structure has its own special details, whether it is the windows with broken glass or the intricate door carvings. Look at the subject and find out what gives it its beauty. If it is ugly, then find out what makes it fascinating to look at. Is it the cracks? The falling roof? There is always something interesting to look at and this can be your point of interest.
Lighting is essential in architectural photography. It is difficult to control the lighting of a huge subject like a building. In the daytime, the sun would be the main light source. Find out when is the best hour to shoot the structure. Side-front lighting is preferred since the façade will be well lighted and the sunlight will cast shadows that can create depth and perspective. Another option is to wait until nighttime when the artificial lights are turned on. Try to avoid backlighting unless you want the structure to appear as a silhouette.
Architecture does not refer to just buildings. It is an outdoor construction and this also includes towers, monuments, bridges, and dams, just to name a few. You will not be at a loss for potential subjects and even just by photographing your house, you are on your way to practicing these quick tips.
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