What is architectural photography?

 

The term architecture photography defines the subject (architecture) and the medium to capture it (photography).  It is the branch of photography that specializes in properly capturing the architectural constructions developed by man.  Architecture is omnipresent in our lives and was born from the very beginning of humanity serving primarily as a refuge, but over the centuries it has evolved and its use has greatly diversified to meet an infinity of modern man needs.

Architecture photography is responsible for documenting and visually describing all spaces created by the human being.  Describes how a building relates to its surroundings and how it communicates with it.  It’s also used indoors to show the relationship of furniture, color, texture and lighting with the documented space.

Architecture and interior photography tries to understand the space between walls and its relationship with what defines it to communicate the architect or designer’s vision and the idea that he wants to show with his design, as well as its functionality.

 

How does it apply?

 

Architecture and interior photography is useful not only to document the different types of projects, but also for publication in books and specialized magazines, and also to update the portfolio.  In this way, it’s a tool that becomes very practical for construction companies, hotels, commercial and cultural centers and anyone who wants to show the spaces in a professional way with adequate proportions and close to reality.

The main feature of architecture and interior photography is in the technic.  Since digital photography made its appearance, different types of specialized lenses have been manufactured for perspective correction.  These lenses called “tilt-shift” by some manufacturers, are intended to show the correct proportions of buildings, basically correcting vertical lines that become convergent when photographed in low-angle plane.

The architectural photographer

 

Unlike what is commonly believed, photography is not all the same.  Perhaps, for the untrained eye, it seems that all types of photography are approached in the same way, but the truth is, that there are great differences in how each type of photography is developed and carried out.

It is true that the basic technical concepts are the same for all types of photography, however, the composition and lighting vary greatly when it comes to one type of photography or another.  This statement is logical, since it is not possible to illuminate a person in a fashion photo session, in the same way than to illuminate a building, either externally or internally.  Each scene requires a meticulous prior analysis of the given conditions and the desired final result in order to properly create a suitable lighting scheme.  It also happens with the composition, since the subject or the object to be photographed is what dictates the parameters to compose the scene.  This way we return to the previous example, where evidently, it is not the same to compose a scene having as the main subject the interior of an enclosure and its interior design, than composing a scene of a specific product for a catalog or magazine.  This is where the specialist in architecture and interior photography becomes important.

The architecture photographer with time and experience has been educating his brain and his eye in terms of space, design, aesthetics and functionality of a building.  This means that the architecture photographer carefully analyzes technical concepts such as vanishing points, the dimension of the building and how it relates to its surroundings, in order to find the most significant angles, perspective and composition to result in a balanced photography with correct proportions.  In this way, the photographer specializing in architecture and interiors, strives in his quest to represent the architect’s vision and what he wants to convey and communicate with his design in the most reliable way.  Similarly applies to interior design.

But not everything is a matter of composition and light.  It must also be taken into account that certain more specialized equipment and technology is used to carry out architectural and interior photography than is used in other photographic disciplines.  We are talking, for example, about lenses that correct the perspective and vertical lines of a building, or also about applications that fashion photographers or another types of photographers may not even know. These applications allow the architecture photographer to plan in advance and with great precision, for example, the photograph of a facade at sunset, since they let the photographer know exactly the time when the sun rises and hides as well as its path.  And last but not least, you also have to take into account the skills and technical knowledge of the photographer related to the architectural photography editing process.