5 Architectural Photography Tips


Frankly, My Gear

The right gear can be key to getting the shot you want.
The right gear can be key to getting the shot you want.
Courtesy 40 Nights Photography

When it comes to architectural photography, gear does matter. You don't need the latest and greatest, though. You need basic equipment that will push a good image into the realm of perfection.

It starts with a solid tripod. Yes, tripods are often clunky, awkward and generally a pain in the neck to tote around town. But any frustration spurred by their unwieldy nature is always offset by their tremendous usefulness, especially with regards to architectural photography.

Here's why. When you're shooting buildings, you'll often set your camera to a smaller aperture, or f-stop, because doing so keeps more of your subject sharp. If you aren't familiar with terms like depth of field, read How to Know What F-Stop to Use. The trade-off with using a smaller f-stop is that you must set your camera for slower shutter speeds so enough light reaches the sensor or film. Nudge the camera even a tiny bit and the image will blur.

You might think that a tripod is necessary only for dim, indoor shooting. Don't get cocky. Even when you're outdoors in bright light, a tripod is a really good idea. Picking the right tripod is important, too. Forget ball-head tripods. For serious shooting, you need a geared tripod that allows for minute, precise adjustments. You'll need one with a bubble-level, too. And to make sure your clunky fingers don't bump the shutter button, you should invest in a cable release for hands-free shooting.

The result? A perfectly stable platform for making the crispest possible pictures.