Starting Out In Architecture Photography

When starting out in photography, one might think that buying an expensive camera is the first step, but I have found it is more important to experiment and learn what you enjoy most about photography, and to do that you need to take pictures. You could have a great camera, but if you don’t put thought into composing the shot, the photograph will not turn out great.

Art principles are used as guides when combining various elements into a composition and can be used in architecture photography to show you what to look for when photographing a building. These art principles include (but are not limited to) Balance, Emphasis, Harmony, Movement, Pattern, Proportion, Rhythm, Unity, and Variety. Keeping these principles in mind when shooting can make a photograph more pleasing and engaging.

Elements are symmetrical and in a visual equilibrium.

Hassan II Mosque, Ben Feicht

One element overpowers the other elements.

Brazil House, Ben Feicht

Relating and complementary elements are arranged to add complexity.

Budapest Metro, Ben Feicht

Elements lead the eye along a path through the composition.

Casablanca Cathedral, Ben Feicht

Repetition of shapes or forms establish a visual beat.

British Museum, Ben Feicht

Elements vary in size and quantity to show scale.

Berlin Jewish Museum, Ben Feicht

Elements repeat to give a feeling of organized flow.

 Museu del Disseny, Ben Feicht

Similar elements order together to make a larger complete form.

Dohány Street Synagogue, Ben Feicht

Elements differ in form or type to show contrast.

Bibracte Museum, Ben Feicht
One exercise to try is photographing one building with each art principle. My favorite method for starting out is using a cheap film camera because if I only have 12 or 24 shots in a roll of film, I need to think about the shot much more before I take it. Whatever your camera choice, composing your shot is the difference between taking a picture and making a great photograph.


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