We offer a few tips for aspiring architectural photographers—and insight into how photographers work best — for the clients who hire them.
First things first: If you’re an architectural photographer, talk to the architects. You want the designers to tell you what the project is about, what was going through their minds when they designed it, and what their needs are for the pictures. Architectural photographer should ask architects to tell him about their earlier understanding of the building and how they solved design problems. Architectural photographer asks specifically for renderings and drawings: Like those studies, an architectural photograph will be used for marketing, publishing, competitions, and awards.
It’s best for architectural photographer to walk around and through the building, to get a sense of it, to see where the sun hits and shadows play. This helps to open myself to the building on an emotional and intellectual level. There are visual decisions that come when you look at the building and respond. Sometimes an architect or member of the design team will come along architectural photographer on a photo shoot, but not always.
Part of the assignment is solving technical problems such as finding the best vantage point to show mass and shape or the way to depict spatial depth and clarity. Architectural photographer have to see how light interacts with the project. As a rule, the bigger the building, the harder it is to find the right view. For the Burj, the challenge was how to express a building of that size.
A project’s environment may give cues about whether to go with a natural or staged look. If it’s a university campus with lots of students walking around, shoot first for a natural look. For interior shots that are not heavily peopled, the shot can be staged. “And if it is staged, let’s really do it,” Merrick says. “Let’s gather people together and let then interact.” You may need to bring in a crowd, and they’re more likely to come from the architect’s office than from a modeling agency. “They become part of the composition.”
Digital photography means architectural photographer can change and clean things up, but keep manipulation to a bare minimum. Architectural photographer can take a person who looks good in one shot and put him or her in the final shot. You can merge and mingle people, change color and contrast, and delete what doesn’t fit—such as an exit sign in an interior shot or a lamppost. But use digital tools with a very light touch, so the photographs do not have a digitally rendered look.
Architectural photographer and Architectural photography is invaluable. A photograph is the only representation of a building that most people will ever actually see. The photograph is ultimately where the work lives. There are many buildings out there that we only know from the classic photographs of them.