What Makes Architectural Photography Different?

Architectural photography is a specialized field that involves taking pictures of buildings, angles and landscaping. Here are several steps that show you how architectural photography differs from so many other great forms of photography.

Image Distortion

As a photographer, you need to understand and apply different concepts depending on the type of shots you are taking. Image distortion is a very important part of taking a photograph of a building or architectural work.  When you take a look at a building, you will see many different lines. Some of those lines will run in a horizontal fashion and other lines will run vertically. As you take the photograph, the building's lines tend to come out distorted. Why does this happen? Well, it usually occurs because a photographer has chosen to take the picture from the wrong point of view or because the photographer does not have the appropriate equipment for architecture photography.


Again, focusing on image distortion, you will want to pick a camera called a view camera. Most photographers cannot wait to jump at the chance to purchase an SLR camera, but for this type of photography, an SLR camera will still promote a variety of distortion. A view camera actually helps to minimize the distortion and will allow the photographer, such as yourself, take a photograph of a building from any different angle or height. If you are looking to take photographs as a professional architectural photographer, this is a camera you cannot do without.


Again, staying with the theme of distortion, the lens has a lot to do with promoting these types of problems. Never choose a wide angle lens as it will just promote distortion.

How to Take a Great Photograph

A great photograph for architectural photography is generally taken at a high vantage point. Taking these types of photographs while standing at the base of the building is often not wise as the proportion of your building, showing in your photograph will look distorted and will not look to scale.


Lighting is just as important in architectural photography as it is with other types of photography. However, the light applied to a photograph of a building can change the mood of the building, the perceived height and the perceived massiveness. Many buildings are captured best in the evening (from about dusk until dawn).


A tripod adds so much stability when taking photographs of different buildings. It gives you more time to focus on developing the right angle. It will keep your hands free and your arms well rested.

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