Tutorial: Architecture Photography

Alternative viewpoints

You don’t have to photograph buildings from ground level; look around for a higher viewpoint.

Another building or a structure such as a bridge or a multi-storey car park offers a completely different view. This has the advantage of raising the camera so that it does not need to be tilted. However, you won’t be able to alter your distance to the subject, so a zoom lens with a wide range is the best way to frame the building accurately.

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La Cathédrale Saint André, You Connect member Daniel Ouiller, Canon EOS 7D

Alternatively consider a lower viewpoint. This works best if you can find an object in the foreground such as flowers. Lie down on the ground with your camera so that the flowers create a foreground interest for the main subject. 

The vari-angle screen on the PowerShot G12, G1 X and SX40 HS makes this much easier to achieve. You can place the camera where you want to, then angle the screen to suit your position. 

Capturing the detail
An overall view of a building is worthwhile, but the details can be even more interesting. Cathedrals and churches often have statues carved into the stone. Some are at ground level, making them easy to photograph. Others are higher and are best photographed from a distance with a zoom lens at its telephoto setting. This will reduce the distortion caused by tilting the camera up.

Modern buildings do not usually offer carvings, but there are patterns to be found in their windows and texture in their building materials.

Old versus new
Older buildings are often photographed in the context of their settings, showing some of the surrounding land. Modern buildings are less likely to be set in open land and are more suited to abstract approaches – especially close views of sections of the structure.

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