Architecture is an incredibly fascinating area of design. The seemingly impossible physics, the play of light, the masculine textures, it all comes together to create an incredible sense of fantasy and wonder.
The magic of great architecture is highlighted and even amplified significantly when presented by the right photographer. These 5 tips and tricks will help you find an approach that results in amazing images.
Tip 1: Find the Fantasy
When you approach a structure, try to find a crop that makes the reality of the building seem impossible. To illustrate, consider how the image above feels like an optical illusion. It’s as if Escher himself took a photo of one of the fantastical places that occupied his mind.
Also notice how the hard lines are positioned in such a way that it feels like the building is immense and could continue forever. For all we know the edges of the building are right outside the crop of the photo, but that illusion of infinite potential is strong.
Tip 2: Master Symmetry
The idea that symmetry is beautiful is an inescapable notion. When we see it in creatures, plants, art, architecture or anywhere else we are mysteriously drawn in and captivated. Whether it’s that our brains enjoy the fun of spotting repetition or that there’s just less information to process, we can’t help feel that symmetry is good and right.
When you’re shooting architecture, the simplest place to start is with the symmetrical aspects. Find something that repeats, stick two or more of them tightly in the frame and you’ll have the potential for a great shot.
Tip 3: Look Up
Some of my favorite architecture abstracts instill a dramatic sense of vertigo not by looking downward, but upward. Impossibly tall structures have a tendency to fascinate and terrify us at the same time and images like the one above bring that fear to the surface. If you stare long enough to really let yourself get taken in, you almost feel as if you’re going to fall into the sky.
Any time you’re up against a tall structure, whether it be man made or natural, try taking a shot looking straight up from the bottom. Make sure to adjust your ISO and aperture so that the sky detail isn’t blown out, it’s often the texture and drama in that vast cloudy background that really makes the photo.
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