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5 Architectural Photography Tips


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More Light Matters
Bright daylight often washes out colors in the sky. Wait for just after sunset, though, and you may be rewarded with deep, entrancing hues.
Bright daylight often washes out colors in the sky. Wait for just after sunset, though, and you may be rewarded with deep, entrancing hues.
Courtesy 40 Nights Photography

It's worth revisiting the subject of light because for massive structures, you usually have very little control over illumination. That means you have to put some serious thought into the time and place you choose to shoot.

Here's one quick example. At sunset, the east side of a building will be sheathed in shadows, while the west side may be exceedingly bright. In the meantime, the north and south sides might show a combination of golden sunlight mixed with deep, dark blacks that really bring out the character of a fa├žade.

Another consideration-- if this is a gargantuan building, it's going to take you a while to move to a new spot if you decide your original choice is less than ideal. That's especially true if you're hoofing it with a big tripod on crowded city streets.

Time of day is always very important. Shoot a tall building in the middle of a sunny day and you'll likely have blown-out (or overexposed) areas in the sky. Wait until just after sunset, though, for the so-called "blue hour" and your sky will be darker and bluer for more dramatic and appealing results.

And don't forget about night shots. With your sturdy tripod, you can take artful pictures in the dark, which may accentuate a building's lights, outlines or other details that aren't apparent during the day.

Finding the best light and tweaking your equipment is important -- but what's happening in your brain ultimately makes or breaks your pictures, as you'll discover on the next page.


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