Photographing Buildings: A Brief Guide March 10, 2015 – Posted in: Photography – Tags: , ,

Most of us know the advantages of planning for an important shoot. But “how” we prepare is just as important. This is especially true for subjects that are new to us.

Architectural photography is an example of a specialized subject that could be outside the norm for many. How do you approach the building? What are the key things to be looking for? 


I was reading Architectural Photography, 2nd Edition by Adrian Schulz, and discovered this very useful checklist on page 54. I think it’s perfect for planning this type of shoot. So I wanted to share it with you. Here is Photographing Buildings: a Brief Guide –

Preparing for Your Architectural Shoot

Once you have chosen your subject, you need to analyze the situation and its specific characteristics.

  • Which side of the building is best suited to being photographed? Where are shadows or backlight positioned? What is the weather like? What other structures characterize the surroundings?
  • What specific physical structures does the building have? Are there any interesting (or irritating) reflections?
  • How do you want to portray the building—in a documentary or an artistic style? Static or dynamic?

The next step involves a detailed analysis of your subject’s surroundings

  • Which camera angle best emphasizes the building’s strengths?
  • Which camera positions will deliver great shots and which are less suitable?
  • Which elements of the building’s surroundings should you include in your shot, and
    which should you leave out?
  • Do you want to shoot in landscape or portrait format?

The final step involves selecting your camera settings and the accessories you will use to make the shot.

  • Which accessories (tripod, filter, remote release, etc.) do you need?
  • Which focal length lens is best for capturing your chosen composition?
  • How do you want to compose your image? With the subject in the center? Using the
    Golden Ratio? Or with the subject positioned toward the edge of the frame?
  • How will you avoid converging verticals?
  • Which camera settings will produce a balanced exposure?
  • What is the right moment to release the shutter? Which people, cars, or shadows
    are you waiting for?

There’s lots more where this came from. Adrian’s book provides the in-depth detail that will help you make the most of this checklist. In fact, having his eBook on your tablet during the shoot would enable you to address any unexpected challenges while on location.

For me, the only thing better than planning, is informed planning. If you’re preparing for an architectural shoot, Adrian Schulz can help you with that.

Derrick Story is the photography evangelist for Rocky Nook Publishing.