Architecture Photography. What is it?

Kenneth Jones
December 29, 2022

Architecture. The very word tends to conjure up a variety of images in one's mind. Some may envision an iconic Roman arch bridge, others may picture skyscrapers in a city skyline, and yet others may think of the abstract structure of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

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And while each of these imaginings appears to be vastly different from one another, they all share the same similarity, being that each is a creation that originated from a design born in the human mind.

The word "architecture" actually means the art of designing a building or a structure. Ergo, the term "architecture photography" is used to describe the capturing of a photographic image of the physical realization of the designer's vision. The person who captures photographic images of buildings and structures is called an "architectural photographer."

Architecture Photography

Simplistically speaking, architecture photography is the process of capturing photographic images of buildings and structures. Sounds pretty simple. Right?

That's probably why most people think that taking photos of buildings and other structures has to be pretty easy. After all, they're stationary and don't have eyes that blink to ruin a shot like human photo subjects.

But while photographing buildings and structures don't present the same challenges that photographers of humans must deal with, those of us who photograph buildings are confronted by different and, arguably, far more complex obstacles than the issues that photographers in most other genres must overcome.

The Purpose

Professional designers, such as architects and designers of interior spaces, commonly use photographs of their finished works to exhibit their talents and, more importantly, to market their skills to new prospective clients. And, because competition for new clients among all types of designers is so fierce, marketing is the area in which most professional photographers find themselves in the greatest demand.

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Since the purpose of most architectural photography is for marketing that's intended to generate new clients, interior designers place a great deal of emphasis on having their photographer create images to maximize the desirability of their work.

Note: Since photographing a building's exterior and interior each has significant challenges that greatly differ from the other, and considering each requires extensive explanation to reasonably understand, I will not go into depth into either in this article but will create a separate post for each.

Challenges

There are numerous, almost countless types of challenges that building and structure photographers face. A few of the more common issues are that each building is uniquely shaped and has a different overall exterior height that can range from a 1-story home to a 50-story office building. Additionally, each is uniquely located with different surroundings, from vast open space to being surrounded by massive structures that reflect or block light.

As I mentioned earlier, not only does this type of photography involve shooting the exterior of buildings, but it also involves shooting a building's interior spaces. Consequently, it presents many other issues, such as unwanted color reflections (a/k/a color casts) from and onto walls, floors, and furnishings, as well as problems of conflicting colors from various light sources, which add to the technical challenges of creating a desirable photograph.

Summary

Architecture photography, especially interior design photography, is a very demanding specialty within the greater universe of photography.

Photographers in this field should own and be proficient in using the (rather expensive) specialized lenses and other photographic equipment needed in this genre. They must also have a very high level of technical skill and creative artistic ability.

Finally, since the success of a designer's marketing campaign depends almost entirely on the photographer's ability, that photographer should have extensive marketing knowledge and experience in addition to all the other necessary assets.

Contact me for more information on how I may be able to help you with your architecture or interior design marketing photography.


Tags

architecture, interior design, marketing, photographs, photography


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