Architectural Photography As a Career

Architectural Photography is not just a profession, but a passion which is constantly evolving.   

“Starting a photography project is like meeting someone new. You observe, you read, then you proceed; and every occurrence is different and unique.”

I’ve chosen to discuss this particular photograph, not because I took it, but because I like the idea of “imagery” coming along in between all the “information”.

Architecture is one of the few professions that is never static. In that case, considerable time might be spent finding customers and new assignments. Travel might be required, and photographers often work on their feet for extended periods of time .This is to document and create a captivating visual narrative of a built environment for publication .The architect tries to capture the purity of the form at least in ever-lasting photographs before the users make their mess. It means seeing architecture as sculpture and denying its social nature. Architectural photographers meticulously work to bring us polished renditions of projects around the world every day. Often spending hours and days studying their subject, these creative professionals tirelessly walk the ins and outs of a building to find a telling angle, waiting for the perfect moment to catch the light at its best.

Photographs through light and shadow
Location – Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Photography exerts great influence in architecture and has played an important role in Architecture.

A symbiotic relationship has always existed between architects and their photographers. Photographers need good buildings to photograph and publish for a living, architects depend on good photographs to promote a design or attract new clients “Architects today use the photograph as a form of pornography. More importantly it has become a substitute for experience.” Such criticisms may be overstated, but they alert us to the power of the architectural photograph, a power which can be productive, problematic and pleasurable.

LENS THROUGHCOLORATTI MASTER, KEITH COOPER

Learn what keeps structures up – think what’s underneath what you see, from foundations upward. Look at materials and how they interact with light.

Looking at a building and realizing  why it is the way it is and where it is, and how that affects its function helps me convey views of locations that architects want.

Remember that for your business to make a profit you need to take photos that clients will pay for. Take time to talk with people in other disciplines and try and understand their worldview.

Photograph dull, badly designed buildings too – learn to apply the same skills to buildings that don’t inspire you.
Learn to use a shift lens on a DSLR – it produced the most significant change in my appreciation of the space around me and how it can be represented in two dimensions, since I started my architectural work … and no, ‘fixing’ it later in software is not the same!

Appreciate how different types of lenses project the world around you on to the flat plane of the camera sensor. Digital image processing allows you to remap this, such as this view of a factory taken with a fish-eye lens.

Source http://blog.xritephoto.com/2015/01/architectural-photography-coloratti-master-keith-cooper/#sthash.yJFoLxQT.dpbs

Although everyone has their own way of taking pictures, my approach involves learning how to analyze architecture, what the story is, what the design intentions were, which big and small moves made the project work, followed by more analysis on the day of shoot, the kind of light, the neighbourhood context, and the weather.

Photos of architecture strive to give a new perspective on lines, symmetries, patterns and other qualities that are often overlooked when we pass by. Consider this low angle-point photo, for example. Note how it’s framed, how I worked with contrast and how the composition is clean to make you focus at the geometry and surface.

  ANGLE SPEAKS!

Architecture photography usually provides an innovative way of looking at what might seem dull and boring at the first sight. The eye of an experienced photographer of architecture can find interesting angles and frame shots that we wouldn’t think of.

By using geometry and cropping, photographs of architecture can often convey different feelings – you might feel overwhelmed by, say, enormous volumes of concrete, or invigorated by lots of colorful window reflections.

Location – Mysore , Karnataka,India.
Location – Sree Nellaiappar Temple,Tirunelveli.

LOW – ANGLE VIEW POINT

  • Low-angle viewpoint– This viewpoint lets you capture an image in unique ways. You can lie down and take the whole sky as the background if the surrounding disturbs your image quality. An architectural photographer takes every kind of shot and analyzes all the viewpoints before capturing any subject.

 Architectural photography has the advantage that the objects stand still and the photographer has as much time as he or she needs. I like to come back to the same buildings and shoot them repeatedly in different lighting conditions.

Because of this, architecture is also great for learning composition – there are shapes, patterns and lines built in deliberately, but it still takes some effort to capture them in a neat and interesting way. The added benefit of being able to take your time when shooting and even return another day make  architecture a great starting point for any photographer.

All in all, although architectural photography might not be as attractive as portrait photography, I think it’s magical in its own right and a worthwhile area to explore.

Architectural photography is related to clicking the pictures and images of ancient or modern structures that are aesthetically pleasing. This type of photography requires the professionals to make use of specialized techniques and equipment to capture the artistic stance of the architect at the time of designing the structure. Architectural photography helps in bringing out the different perspectives and highlighting the various interesting elements of a single structure.

One must have knowledge in Perspective/Technical Drawing. Before, when 3D modeling is not the norm, we have to learn to draw the Plan’s perspective. There are various style, i.e. one point perspective, 2point perspective, 3 point perspective/birds eye view, worm’s eye view etc.  These can help to create a strong sense of “architecture” for photos.

  • 1point perspective

Location – Umaid Bhawan Palace, India.

As you can see here, all edges are concentrated on a single point. In interior architectural photography, I mostly try to find this point and see if I can make it the same way I make my manual perspectives.

  • 2point perspective
2 Point Perspective Image – Source – www.google.com/pinterest

As you can see here, the edges are pointing in 3 direction, 2 of them are merging on 2 different points. One is just going upward. In exterior Architectural Photography, I sometimes use these guides as well.

Idea of Imagery.
Architects obviously value design. And architects need high quality photography of their designs to display their skills beyond the immediate environment of the building that they have designed.

Architects need high quality imagery to attract new clients.

Architects understand architectural photography, and appreciate a photographer who can creatively photograph their work to enable them to display their work at its best to the outside world.

FRAMED OF COMPOSITION ( Location – Jaipur )
FRAMED OF COLOUR AND CONTRAST( Location – Jaipur )

AN ILLUSTRATIVE

Architectural photography, in order to fulfil its charter, has to be explanatory and illustrative; it has to show the reader how the building works, how it feels to be beside or within it, and how it looks: it has to be informative.

As part of any coverage of a project, I think it’s important to include an impression, an interpretation, however symbolic or romantic – if for nothing else then to show how you personally feel about the building.

There is magic somewhere in most things, and it is good to take a bit of it home.

These images represent the potential of the camera to move beyond the document or record and to serve as translators of the authors’ work. It is fitting to speak in the past tense when describing photography. Photographs of architecture not only allow us to stand in sometimes inaccessible places, but perhaps most importantly, they allow us to re-enter an inaccessible time. These are enviable moments that can only be visited thanks to the skill of the photographers.

Architectural photographs through light and shadow

Some career advice

Laurie Black
“I can enter a space and quickly find the strong and interesting views, from over-views to vignettes. I also have a keen sense of style, and am very comfortable styling a location on my own. I use a sophisticated palette of natural and added lighting to bring life and dimension to my photography.”

What career advice would you give your younger self?
“Never assume that you have this profession mastered. Over the years, I have constantly found myself learning new things about photography, and I don’t think that will ever stop.”

Nour El Refai
“I’m originally an Architect, and I’ve been working as an architectural photographer for more than 12 years in the Middle East and North Africa regions.”

What career advice would you give your younger self?
“Invest less time on checking new gear and comparing different cameras or lenses. Instead, practice more, expose yourself to new experiences, take more calculated risks, and try new techniques more frequently.”

Keith Isaacs
“My goal on a project isn’t only to create photographs – it’s to capture magic. I believe that each building and space has its own unique energy. The way light and shadow transform the physical world throughout the course of the day is one of the most wondrous occurrences that life has to offer each day. Great architecture captures and harnesses light, purposefully redirecting it in ways that enhance the human experience.”

What career advice would you give your younger self?
“Don’t be so hard-headed about specializing. Don’t compare yourself to other photographers, and trust your style and vision – it’s what makes you unique and what makes the creative process fulfilling.”

Andre Nazareth
“Architecture was my professional choice at age 17, and photography has been an intense part of my life for the last 15 years. Interest and experience in these two areas now complement the expertise of acquired techniques and a careful look at architectural interpretation.”

What career advice would you give your younger self?
“When you are hired to photograph a new location, get as much out of it as you can. Even if it’s for client work, see how you can use the opportunity to shoot for your personal portfolio, too. Use every job you can to build your portfolio.”

SOURCE https://blog.photoshelter.com/2018/03/career-advice-from-5-top-architectural-photographers/

Mathesh Janarth

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