Ever since the invention of photography, architecture has been a notable subject for photographers and likewise, photography has played an important role in the way architecture is communicated and perceived. Every picture has a meaning, it not only represents the visual aesthetics and materiality but also how space is perceived without physically being in it, thus it has the capability to convey feelings and emotions.
Although everyone tries their hand at being an architectural photographer, it takes skill and perseverance to be a professional. To learn the art of architectural photography, one has to understand the details and techniques involved in the field.
Architectural photography books provide a detailed understanding of the field and explore a lot of options in terms of learning, whether it is through the experience of other professional photographers or as a full-fledged guide to master the art.
Here’s a list of ten books that showcase a wide range of perspectives and interpretations of the art of architectural photography:
1. Architectural Photography, 3rd Edition: Composition, Capture, and Digital Image Processing by Adrian Shulz
This book is a comprehensive study about how to capture real-world objects and the different tools and techniques of architectural photography involved in the digital age. It teaches the art of capturing buildings inside-out and includes topics like selection of the correct equipment, the effective composition of architectural shots, working with ambient and artificial light and processing of images in an efficient workflow.
It’s the complete guide of architectural photography for both, an aspiring amateur interested in learning and also to a professional photographer who wishes to advance their skills in the subject.
2. Framing Architecture: The poetics of architectural photography by Nithi Sthapitanonda
This book puts forth the idea that one picture can be interpreted in a hundred ways depending on the individual’s perspective; Professional photographers prioritize techniques and equipment, architects and designers give importance to space, materiality, details and form while an artist pays heed to human life and emotions.
Thus, the book is a compilation of narratives and viewpoints of 43 different people involved in various industries and brings light to the fact that architectural photography is not just about techniques, equipment, components but also about conveying stories, feelings and imagination of the photographer and the creator.
3. Construction and Design Manual, Architectural Photography by Axel Hausberg
This book provides a detailed account of architectural photography and everything that is associated with the graphic documentation of the built environment while having a unique take on architecture.
The book essentially begins with the historical background of photography which is followed by a technical section containing vocabulary, techniques, equipment, accessories, design composition, the various techniques involved in post-processing and ways to improve them. The book is beautifully illustrated with images, charts, diagrams, examples and is useful for any practising person interested in architectural photography.
4. Concrete: Photography and Architecture
Authors: Daniela Janser, Thomas Seelig, Urs Stahel
Concrete explores the complex relationship between photography and architecture and celebrates photography as a medium to not just influence the way architecture is perceived but also the way it is designed.
This book is a humble response to the argument against photography as to how it takes away the essence of architecture; it endorses the idea that for photographers to exercise their true power, one has to understand the building thoroughly, inside out.
The book is a collection of photographs of architecture and cities with nine short essays depicting works ranging from 19th-century photographs of ruins, construction sites, streetscapes to 21st-century ‘art’ photographs of cityscapes, suburban desolation, houses and homes, thus, capturing the transience of architecture against time.
5. Julius Shulman: Architecture and its photography
Julius Shulman was a world-renowned architectural photographer who aided the mid-century modernist movement through his exemplary photographs of pioneering architecture works of architects like Charles Eames, Richard Neutra.
His work raised the bar of architectural photography to an extent that it had to be considered as an independent art form. The beauty of his images lies in the precise compositions that examine the placement of the built form within the landscape.
6. Photographing buildings inside and out by Norman McGrath
Although the book was written in the pre-digital era, it remains a classic in the field. It comprises special tricks and tips on architectural photography through seventeen case studies of domestic, office and public space interiors and nine case studies of exterior photography that will help understand the overall working and techniques of architectural photography.
7. Professional Architectural Photography by Michael Harris
This book is best suited for beginners in the field, who aspire to explore the scope of architectural photography. It is highly illustrated with images and examples, contains the professional secrets of the author and tips to achieve high-quality architectural images.
It also talks about the history of architectural photography and comparison of digital vs film mediums, thus helping in better understanding of technical considerations of photography.
8. Ezra Stroller: A photographic history of Modernism
Ezra Stroller was a legendary photographer who played a major role in shaping the way we perceive the built environment. He is known for aiding the modernist movement through his documentation of works by Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Frank Llyod Wright and others. Ezra Stroller: A photographic history of modernism, a book from Phaidon offers a prodigious study of his archives and the factors that made his images so fascinating.
9. Follow the sun: A Field Guide to Architectural Photography in the Digital Age by James Ewing
This book is an overall guide which covers all aspects of architectural photography, right from the rich history of the genre to the stirring new perspectives developed in the digital age. It elucidates on the use of new tools and techniques of digital photography while simultaneously implementing several past skills and traditions of the art.
10. Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography by Elias Redstone
Shooting space is a compilation of photography of various contemporary artists like Iwan Baan, Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gusky and more. The volume is divided into five chapters that examine the collaboration between architects and photographers, alterations to the natural landscape, re-evaluation of modernist icons and innovatively imagined environments.
The book is not just an analysis of contemporary architectural photography but also helps the reader to observe and survey our built environment.