Six ways to shoot… Build­ings

Creative ways to turn an ar­chi­tec­ture shot from drab to dy­namic, in­clud­ing think­ing about shapes and night shots

Digital Camera World - - PHOTO ACTIVE -

Zoom in

Close clus­ters of tall mod­ern build­ings can look re­ally pow­er­ful when you zoom in with a tele­photo lens to flat­ten the per­spec­tive and iso­late a group into a se­ries of shapes. The greater the range of shapes, sizes, colours and pat­terns you can iso­late within your se­lec­tion, the more ef­fec­tive your photo will be.

Shoot at night

Many build­ings ac­tu­ally look bet­ter at night, when their ar­ti­fi­cial lights come on. A com­bi­na­tion of ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal lights can ac­cen­tu­ate a build­ing’s shape, trans­form­ing its ap­pear­ance and re­ally mak­ing it stand out. Use a tri­pod to al­low your­self to shoot long ex­po­sures in low light.

In­clude peo­ple

Build­ings are built for peo­ple to work, live and play in, so con­nect a build­ing with the peo­ple who use it. Us­ing a per­son or peo­ple within the frame can also help to give a sense of scale. Look for peo­ple inside look­ing out, or peo­ple ex­it­ing through doors.

Go mono

The shapes and pat­terns of build­ings both mod­ern and old will fre­quently work re­ally well in black and white. Look for build­ings that have good con­trast be­tween re­flec­tive and non-re­flec­tive sur­faces. If it helps, shoot in your cam­era’s raw for­mat to get the best im­age qual­ity but change your cam­era’s JPEG pic­ture set­ting to mono, so you can see an in­stant mono re­sult on the cam­era’s LCD.

Think about shapes

Ar­chi­tec­tural photography is all about shapes, whether th­ese are straight-edged, curved, round or any one of the other myr­iad pat­terns that make up a typ­i­cal build­ing. Use th­ese shapes in the ab­stract to com­pose your pho­to­graph, just as you would with a land­scape photo. A curved en­trance can act as a lead-in line, for ex­am­ple. Also con­sider how the struc­ture of your sub­ject might fall within the rule of thirds, the golden ra­tio or other vis­ual guides.

Go wide

A wide-an­gle lens is of­ten used to pho­to­graph build­ings, but watch out for dis­tor­tion that makes tall build­ings ap­pear to lean in. Ei­ther use dis­tor­tion like this cre­atively or try to avoid it. You can cor­rect mi­nor dis­tor­tion eas­ily in Light­room – but re­mem­ber to leave space around the build­ing in your shot, as the cor­rec­tion will crop it.

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