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Up for Discussion – Architectural Photography

My turn this week.  I have been trying to work out all week what I would discuss with you, I mean what could I possibly talk about?  I went through lots of ideas, copyright, critiquing images, something about blogging, and then I remembered my friend from a week ago telling me how she didn’t know how to photograph architecture.  So here we are on a Friday and I thought I would tell you something about photographing architecture, well I hope I can.

Architectural Photographyscchambers-5hpm7601-5

This has been my favourite type of photography, but for the last year I haven’t been doing a lot of it.  I think the new camera and learning to use my lenses in different ways has been partly responsible for that, but just recently, and with some reminders from other people, I’ve decided I should get back into it.

There are lots of different ways of photographing architecture.  Open any newspaper and you will see lots of pages of images of houses for sale and the real estate images.  Real estate images are about getting images of houses that are representations of what is there.  They try to show a house at its best to help sell it.  There isn’t a lot of scope for doing anything different.

Nothing wrong with that sort of photography, it just isn’t something that I have been interested in.  I like to do something different with my architectural images. I am more into fine art images of scmu2-4hpm2487-7-3architecture.  I like to try and get some mood or drama into an image.

When I look at buildings I like to find old ones, and ones that have some sort of character. Not that it is a hard and fast rule, I do occasionally find newer buildings that I also find interesting. When I am out and about I will photograph everything and anything that I think might be interesting.  It is rare when I am out taking photos that I find something straight away that I know I will want to do more processing too.

I don’t have particular angles that I go for.  I try everything.  I might show you one image, of a building, but I might have taken about 50 images of that same building.  When I have a building in front of me I try every angle I can think of.  I will photograph it from across the road, right in front of it.  I will try to the right, to the left.  I will try photographing the whole building.

LeanneCole-inverleighhotel-20130924-5936_4hpm-3Once I have all the angles for the whole building then I start looking for details.  Buildings are something that I have that I have always enjoyed looking at the details of, though I haven’t tended to look at really small parts, but rather parts that I think will tell part of the story.

When I get an opportunity I do like doing the inside of buildings as well.  Especially older buildings that have been, either kept in their original state, or restored to it.  I find those sorts of buildings have more of a story and you can get more from them.

I know a lot of photographers who do architecture will spend a lot of time taking photos in different light, use their tripod, or use tilt-shift lenses, but I don’t do any of that.  I will use the tripod for indoors, and only use it outdoors if the lighting is bad and I can’t get shots with low ISO.

For me the magic starts to happen when I get home and put the photos on the computer.  I never really know which one I will work on.  I go through the sccity-3hpm0031-2images and mark my favourites and then one will often stand out and I begin.  I try not to have any preconceived idea of what the final image will look like.  I have found in the past that I usually just end up disappointed when that happens. So I just go for it, try things, delete, or go back, go forward and I just keep going until I think I am happy with an image.

When I work on images I’m not always trying to get a true or accurate image of the building.  I try to provoke something more like, I don’t quite know, a feeling, maybe or drama, I have always like the idea of putting some theatre into my images.  I like to give the building a story I suppose.

I like to change the lighting, manipulate it, and put the focus where I want it to be.  It is a hard thing to describe, it is just something I do.  I know that doesn’t help, but when you don’t have a client and are just doing it for yourself, it means that you can do whatever you like to the image.  Experimentation is the key and just trying things.  I will often replace the sky to get the one I want, and I do a lot more manipulation as well.  It is my image and I will do what I want, I will try everything, delete most, but keep going.

So that is basically how I do architecture.  There is no real plan or goals, I just shoot and work with what I have.

laurent-melbourne-littlecollins-building-monochromeI have some videos that I have done over on my other blog if you are interested in looking at how I do them.  They are sped up, but give you an idea of what I do.  Here are the links,

The Before, then the After, and some of the Inbetween

The Old Shearing Shed in Woomelang

Taking a Look at Another Image While Being Processed

I might try doing some more too on just a straight image process.

I think that about rounds it up on how I go about photographing architecture, I hope it gave you some idea of what I do.

Guest Posting

I am always open to having people guest post, so if you are interested, then send me an email, my contact are here.  The discussion needs to be about photography, or blogging.  I don’t mind it being about blogging, but obviously being a photography blog, photography is best.  You can go through the archives to see what has already been done, and maybe you can give a different point of view to that.

If you are interested, then please send me an email and I will send you the guidelines. Please take note that I don’t pay people to guest post and I want accept posts that are advertising of any sort.

 

 

87 Comments
  1. Great post Leanne. I love architecture, but I sometimes struggle and don’t really know how to capture the building. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it makes me thinking about it differently, too

    November 14, 2014
    • You’re welcome, I do love architecture, it is probably one thing I am very comfortable doing. Just keep going.

      November 14, 2014
  2. Thanks for your insights Leanne. I love the idea of shooting architecture as in interesting subject and portraying it that way. While yes, there is a need for realtor images, most of that type of shot is pretty standard and yes boring. I love how you’ve found some really great angles and pieces in the shots you shared with this posting.

    November 14, 2014
    • I agree about the real estate photography and usually done to a formula. Thank you John, I’m always trying to think outside the box, not always successful but I do try.

      November 14, 2014
  3. Oh, wow! How little do I know about using Photoshop. Wonderful photos.

    November 14, 2014
    • I was the same Maxine a few years ago, it is just taking your time and learning slowly.Thank you.

      November 14, 2014
  4. Leanne, is there a lens you use specifically for architecture? (wide angle?) Or does it depend on the building in question? Thanks!

    November 14, 2014
    • It does depend, often wide angles are the best, I often use a very wide angle, better for getting lots in .

      November 14, 2014
  5. Lovely gallery of photographs.

    November 14, 2014
  6. Beautiful work and one of my favorite subjects!

    November 14, 2014
  7. Nice post Leanne!
    “When I am out and about I will photograph everything and anything that I think might be interesting. It is rare when I am out taking photos that I find something straight away that I know I will want to do more processing too.” That struck a chord with me as I often find myself in that position. That staircase is……Wow! One love 🙂

    November 14, 2014
    • That is a good way to be, I pretty much do the same. That is great Damo, I think it is a good mind set to have. Thanks, that staircase was pretty amazing. 🙂

      November 14, 2014
  8. Leanne, I’m glad you are getting back to it. These really take you on a journey, over the bridge, up stairs, through windows and – some to the sky. So inspiring!!!!

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Cybele, I think I should too. I like the journey you have described, all through Melbourne.

      November 14, 2014
  9. Amy #

    Magnificent architecture shots!

    November 14, 2014
  10. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    These images are breathtaking! That chair and the architecture are gorgeous. That stairway is like a sonata. 🙂

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Jackie, that staircase is quite amazing. I love that chair too.

      November 14, 2014
  11. Nelson #

    When I do take buildings photos I much prefer old buildings and usually I will go architectural details rather than a global view. Night photography is also something I am considering because of the beautiful results you can get but I need practice for night photography because it is not that easy because of the light conditions

    November 14, 2014
    • Old buildings often have a lot more character I think, though I will go for both, I think. Night photography for architecture can be hard because it can all depend on the light conditions and that is not always something you can have control over. Thanks Nelson.

      November 14, 2014
  12. Hi Leanne, thanks for this. I actually feel a little less frustrated, it’s nice to know that even photographers as yourself do quite a bit of post processing. With a background in graphic design, I can now feel a little more comfortable doing this. I always felt like I was cheating do a lot of post processing. However starting with great photos is where the magic can happen. I guess I am a little impatient with my shooting and only take a few shots. I guess I need to learn a little more patience with myself. Great read!

    November 14, 2014
    • I do a lot of processing Julie, a lot. I have spent hours on some of these images, not all, but many. I don’t get that idea of cheating, all you are doing is using the tools that are available to use. It is like using a washing machine, you aren’t beating your clothes against a rock, so is it cheating to be using a washing machine? It seems it is good to use modern technology except when it comes to photography. I don’t pretend the image isn’t manipulated and I am quite open about it. I love that part of it too, I love seeing what I can do to an image. Patience is not something I am good at either. Thank you Julie.

      November 14, 2014
      • I like the washing machine idea…….good point, and I didn’t mean to infer you were cheating, I felt that I was often fixing a really poor photo I took with post processing. I guess I was a bit naive, I thought a great photo was a great photo. Not a good photo made great! Now I can hopefully put both skills together 🙂

        November 14, 2014
      • I know you didn’t Julie, it is just that so many people do, or if you change an image then it is no longer a photo, I don’t know what it is meant to become then, but oh well. I don’t think you can make a bad photo good, for these images the base image, or the one from the camera was already good, and then I just enhanced it a lot more. Yes, I am sure you can.

        November 14, 2014
  13. nerdycanuck #

    Reblogged this on EarlGrey&Ink and commented:
    Awesome post on Architectural photography. Its really helpful and has some great tips combined with stunning photos.

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you, that is great to hear.

      November 14, 2014
  14. I always enjoy your architectural images. You make buildings interesting to look at both from within and without.

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you, what a lovely thing to say, I need to hear things like this.

      November 14, 2014
  15. Hey Leanne … great post. Wish I was better at architecture photography. Truth is I seldom do it. Shame!

    November 14, 2014
    • I love it, I think others don’t do it also because they feel they can’t, I say just have a go, so Julie, have a go. LOL.

      November 14, 2014
  16. Great post. Totally agree with your angle on architectural photography, if it has no character or mood the photo will be flat and lifeless. Just like any other photo out there.
    Your collage is really cool, did you take all these shots?

    November 14, 2014
    • So true it has to have something. Thank you so much.

      November 14, 2014
  17. Very nice staircase. Always a challenge to photograph because of limited space and distortion from lenses.

    November 14, 2014
    • I think the main problem here was the lens, it wasn’t wide enough, would love to go back with my really wide angle one day. Thank you Tim.

      November 14, 2014
  18. Beautiful images and great post! Architectural shots can be so challenging. Check out the work of Matej Michalik some time, I think you will enjoy his work.

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Lorren. They can be challenging, and you have to work out time and place that best suits it too. I will check them out, thank you.

      November 14, 2014
  19. Whether created by human nature or Mother Nature, architectural photography has a firm place in my work. Your post is filled with a fondness that comes through in the explanation about your process. Enjoyable as usual.

    November 14, 2014
    • Same Sally, I love it. thank you too, what a lovely thing to say.

      November 14, 2014
  20. Fantastic post Leanne. Insightful with beautiful images.
    I really enjoy your architectural work……… too 😉

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Robyn, I think I want to do more, I love seeing them come together.

      November 14, 2014
      • They really do look great together 😊

        November 15, 2014
      • Thanks Robyn, it is nice to see them together, I’m sure there are others that I have forgotten all about.

        November 15, 2014
      • So true – sometimes its really good to look back and rediscover 😊

        November 15, 2014
      • It really is. 😀

        November 15, 2014
  21. poppytump #

    When I look at these Leanne I realise how much you have covered in terms of subject matter the past couple of years … I know people say it all the time but you really are inspiring . I think I must break out of my comfort zone and take a few risks in experimenting .. post processing is a big learning curve but I guess I need to stick at it to get what I want .
    One Fantastic Gallery 🙂

    November 14, 2014
    • Really, I guess I have covered a lot, they do, I still find it hard to believe that people would find me inspiring, though it is nice as well. I really hope I have inspired you to do that, just have fun with it, that’s what I think too. It is a big learning curve but it is also a lot of fun. Go for it. 😀

      November 14, 2014
  22. These photos are fantastic leanne. I love how you’ve really darkened them down, it makes them look very mysterious, I love it! Thanks for sharing your tips! 😊

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Sabrina, that was something I loved doing and must start doing it again. I liked that look.

      November 14, 2014
  23. great post. I too love architectural photography, and I love how you compare post processing to using a washing machine, in one of your comments. The washing machine is a great metaphor for our post processing! I like the gallery of images you produce, but have no idea how to do it myself. Can you tell me how it is done? or maybe do a blog post on it. thanks for sharing your work.

    November 14, 2014
    • Thank you Janice, I do get sick of the idea that we shouldn’t use everything that is available to us to get the best images, so I am glad to see you agree with me. I am not sure what you are asking me there Janice, do you mean how to do the gallery or how I did my images?
      Thanks

      November 14, 2014
      • Hi Leanne, sorry if I wasn’t clear – how do you do the gallery in your blog posts, they always look so good, I thought I might like to try this on some posts, but have not idea how to create one. thanks

        November 15, 2014
      • I thought that is what you meant, but I needed to make sure. You just got to add media when you are doing a post, and then up in the left corner you will see create gallery, you can then select images from your gallery or upload new ones, just click on the ones you want, then down in the right hand corner you click, Create a New Gallery, then it will take you to another window with all your images, you can add captions, or you can move them around. To get the gallery like I have it, you have to go to the menu on the right and where you see Type, there is a drop down menu, I always choose tiled mosiac. It will sort them for you and you get the gallery like it is. Then you just click, Insert Gallery. Presto there is your gallery, it will look like thumbnails, until you either preview it or publish it. I hope that helps.

        November 15, 2014
      • thanks Leanne I will give it a try.

        November 15, 2014
      • If you have any problems send me an email.

        November 15, 2014
  24. I went to our most prestigious state photographic exhibition / competition recently and most of the photos irritated me because the colours were so vibrant that I didn’t think they looked realistic. I like how you said they are my photos I will do what I like.

    November 14, 2014
    • That is an interesting observation, I think that a lot too, it is something I usually avoid, but sometimes, especially when I have a lovely sky, I might make it more vibrate, I did it with the photos I’m showing tomorrow. LOL
      I am a big believer of that, they are mine, and I should do what I like with them.

      November 14, 2014
  25. Architecture photography is really beautiful, and how you choose the corner is very brilliant and i believe because u choose night time to take the picture it gives the picture more aesthetic touch, as i told you in the previous comment that i am fascinated about night photography and i have became more determined to focus on it and now i am more determined thank you…i hope you can see some of my photos and tell me what you think

    November 14, 2014
    • It really can be, I love it. I didn’t actually take these photos at night, well except for one, the one the the two buildings and statues. sorry I misunderstood you, I usually darken my images a great deal, I like being able to do that, change them from light to dark. I am glad to hear you are determines, good luck with it. I will try and see them, send me some links to make sure.

      November 15, 2014
  26. Great photos Leanne!

    November 14, 2014
  27. I can really relate to this post. Mood and drama – you do it well.

    November 15, 2014
    • Thank you, think it is something I should get back to.

      November 15, 2014
  28. I love the drama in these images. You’re making me think of this in a new way.

    November 15, 2014
    • That is wonderful to hear Elen, thank you.

      November 15, 2014
  29. Beautiful work

    November 15, 2014
  30. I do love your perspective on architecture. 😀

    November 15, 2014
    • That is wonderful to hear Raewyn, thank you. 😀

      November 15, 2014
  31. Oh, I love your architectural images. They really are art. All the ones showcased here today are beautiful.

    November 15, 2014
    • I must say I miss doing them, and when I do start one, I find it hard to stop, I should do more, everyone here has inspired me to get back into it. Thanks Nia.

      November 15, 2014
      • It’s good for you to do other work. You can’t do all the same thing all the time. The other work feeds this. You come back to it with more energy.

        Traveling seemed like a distraction to me, but now I’m realizing that all the things I saw are incredible fodder for settings. You just never know how things will feed whatever is the main focus of the day.

        Your seascapes, skies, lighthouses, the Mallee, are all amazing.

        But I’m excited you’re going to do a bit more architecture again!

        November 15, 2014
      • Good point Nia, so true, it is good to do other things.
        Travelling gives you experience which I imagine would feed into the other. I agree.
        Thank you so much Nia, I can’t wait to go to New York and take some architectural images there.

        November 15, 2014
  32. Wonderful photos Leanne!

    November 15, 2014
  33. Leanne, your post resonates and your photos…just…I drool. Embarrassingly so lol. Grateful to have found you…so much goodness to soak up! Best, julia

    November 15, 2014
    • Thank you so much Julia. What a lovely thing to say.

      November 15, 2014
  34. Especially drooling over the HOTEL and the snap below of what looks like a cathedral or Uni building…pure artistry

    November 15, 2014
    • Thank you, that is wonderful.

      November 15, 2014
  35. love the photos, the shot of the staircase is just beautiful! and architectural photography is one of my favorites too.

    November 15, 2014
    • Thank you, glad you like it. The staircase is always really popular when I show it. Would love to be able to go back and photograph it again.

      November 15, 2014
  36. Such an interesting post and wonderful shots (of course!).

    November 19, 2014

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