Architectural photography as an art form has existed since the mid-19th century and rose to prominence around the 1860’s. It is divided into two categories: interior and exterior architectural photography; these two categories present different challenges to the photographer. It is noteworthy that in architectural photography, the focus is on the aesthetic beauty of the structure and the design. It is a detail-oriented art form that spans the full spectrum of the built environment; focusing on more than just houses or high-rise office buildings.
Exterior architectural photography primarily uses natural lighting and captures the details of a structure in its ‘natural’ setting. In taking exterior shots, it is important to consider the location, weather and time of day when shooting and consider how these factors may impact the final image. White balance is an important factor both in interior and exterior shots, and the temperature the light is often dependent on nearby natural light sources.
This category relies not only on natural and ambient lighting, but also on external sources of light. The interior architectural photographer must carefully add supplemental lighting sources so as not to overwhelm or wash out the subject. In the case of interior architecture, the photographer is capturing the space within the structure itself; however, the design is still the primary focus. It is easy to confuse interior architectural photography with real-estate photography; however, real-estate photography showcases the space as a saleable property.
The photographer’s choice of lens is critical. Lens distortion creates different effects, with the fish-eye and wide angle lenses being quite popular. Architectural photography relies greatly on line and perspective, particularly when taking exterior shots. An important effect to take into consideration is the so-called “Keystone” effect. This effect is perspective distortion, causing structures to appear to ‘lurch’ within the pictorial field. This and other forms of perspective distortion are avoidable by using the correct lens and establishing sufficient distance between the photographer and the subject.
Considering the focus on line and perspective in architectural photography, the direction of the lighting used should always be considered and adjusted for. To this end, contrast and exposure are factors that you may need to compensate for to present the image in the best possible light
Oliver Karstel is a professional photographer, videographer, designer and creative consultant. I specialise in custom content creation, brand development and marketing | email@example.com | www.oliverkarstel.co.za | FB.com/oliver.karstel.media | IG.com/oliverkarstel
Oliver Karstel is a Pretoria-based South African photographer and creative consultant. As an award-winning photographer and videographer, Oliver has worked with multiple multi-national corporations and organisations including the United Nations (U.N.), NEPAD (African Union), Kal Tire (CA) Thermo King (US), GEA (DE) and PERI (DE and UAE) . Oliver has received accolades from international photography awards including the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), and his work has appeared in publications including INSPADES Magazine and Construction World Magazine. He has worked across the breadth of Southern Africa, West Africa, extending to Northern Europe and the Middle East.
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