6 Can’t-Miss Tips for Better Composition of Architecture Photos
As photographers, we’re all well aware of the constant journey to improve our composition to impart our photos with a unique and powerful voice.
Developing our points of view and composition techniques will likely be a never-ending process, as composing within various genres of photography provides a new and unique challenge with each category.
Architecture photography, for example, has its own set of composition tricks, which will do wonders to improve your photos. In particular, beginning photographers can benefit hugely from practicing the principles of composition with buildings as their primary subject.
Ready to go beyond the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ and produce truly outstanding images with advanced composition techniques? Download the Advanced Composition guide today!
The Framing of Architecture
To maintain the architecture itself as the shot’s primary subject, some photographers may find that they tend to fill the frame with the building rather than allow any of its surroundings to shine.
While you can certainly achieve some powerful architectural images by filling the frame with fine details, capturing the whole building and its context is essential! Vary your shots by occasionally framing buildings or other architectural structures within their surroundings—trees, streets, people, or even other architecture.
Improving Architecture Photography Composition
Many of the techniques used to master architectural composition are similar to general guidelines, which make for good composition, but we’ll take some time here to highlight some particular strategies in the context of photographing buildings.
1. Don’t forget the Rule of Thirds
To visualize this rule, divide a photograph into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that you are left with nine equal boxes.
Research has shown that the human eye tends to focus more on these points of intersection rather than on the center of an image, so use the Rule of Thirds to create a balanced architectural image where the subject aligns with these points.
2. Find and Use leading lines
Photographing architecture is a particularly good way to practice finding and using leading lines in your photographs.
The sharp edges and architectural details of a building offer ample opportunities to lead a viewer’s gaze to another point of interest within the photo, or even to infinity.
Varying the way that you photograph these lines allows you control over how the viewer will perceive your image, giving you power over your resulting photographs’ composition and impact.
Plus, the orientation of your leading lines may even convey emotion! Diagonal lines, for example, are often associated with movement. Curved lines may not be as easy to find within architectural shots, but they, too, make for an interesting composition.
3. Look for repetition
Repetition in a single photo is far from boring—in fact, finding architectural patterns and photographing them in an interesting way will help viewers to engage with your photo. The “rhythm” of a pattern will create a more dynamic composition to capture and maintain interest.
4. Photograph textures to keep interest piqued
Building materials such as brick, concrete, and wood are ripe with textures prime for photographing. Other details such as engravings, which impart additional texture to a building, also make for good photograph subjects and compositional elements.
Textures, particularly when cropped close, allow the photographer to convey a building’s personality to the viewer—very few textures will be the same!
5. Negative space can be your friend
Don’t be fooled into thinking that every part of the frame has to be filled with something.
Sometimes, a partially blank slate makes for better composition. This is all the more appropriate given that negative space is a concept frequently used in architecture! This negative space (often the sky when photographing buildings), offers the photo’s primary subject plenty of room to shine and helps to avoid a cluttered result.
6. Make bold statements by featuring architectural shapes
At the basis of any architectural masterpiece is a series of shapes. By breaking down more complicated shots into basic shapes, photographers can add interest to their architecture photography by shifting the focus to these shapes.
Paired with other compositional techniques such as leading lines and repetition, photographers have the ability to capture varying points of view and direct the audience’s eye to an interpretation of a building they might not have achieved on their own.
The same saying goes for all kinds of photographic composition — practice makes perfect (or rather “practice makes permanent.”) Analyze each shot with a critical eye both during your shoot and in post.
By studying your photographs, tracing the leading lines, dividing the image into thirds, and identifying patterns, you’ll quickly pinpoint your compositional strengths and weaknesses.
Follow the tips above, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly your architecture photography will improve by leaps and bounds!
If you’re ready to go beyond the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ and create breathtaking images using advanced composition techniques… download the Advanced Composition guide today!