Do’s and don’ts in architectural photography

Photographers who deal with the subject of architectural photography, have to pay attention to some essential things in their pictures. In general, every building, no matter how old, can be used as a motif. Ultimately, this depends on the desired image statement. We have summarized the most important do’s and don’ts on architecture photography here.


Falling lines

In architectural photography one is constantly confronted with the problem of falling lines. This effect may even cause the building to literally tilt backwards. The closer you get to a structure, the more difficult it is to avoid it. But there are some options to reduce or eliminate this effect:

  • Change distance to the building: By moving its location farther away from the object, the aligned lines decrease. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially in densely built-up environments, and the image structure can easily be disturbed by other elements.
  • Increase shooting location: If you have the opportunity to photograph the object from an elevated location, use it. As a result, falling lines can be easily avoided.
  • Shift lens: A very expensive, but probably the best way to avoid falling lines is the use of a shift lens. This makes it possible to move the image section upwards and thus avoid the effect.
  • Subsequent image correction: An image editing software, such as Photoshop, already offers functions that allow a subsequent correction of the lines. However, this is always associated with a loss of quality and pixels.

Falling lines are quite desirable in some situations, because you can also use them as a design tool. For example, as you know from photographs with skyscrapers and a camera tilted to the sky.

Depth of field

When taking pictures of buildings one strives for a great depth of field. The best way to achieve this is with an aperture of 8, or an aperture of 11. If you shut the aperture too far, it may lead to the diffraction blur. In conjunction with a small aperture and a longer exposure time, a tripod is absolutely necessary. It is best to use a remote control to prevent possible camera shake.


Wide-angle lens

Since large angles are captured in architectural photography, a wide-angle lens is the best purchase. For outdoor shots focal lengths between 20mm and 35mm and indoors between 14mm and 24mm are suitable. The right focal length is crucial in architectural photography to capture a building, its mood and often the environment properly.

The light

In architectural photography, you are sometimes dependent on the weather conditions and thus also on the changing light conditions. The light plays an immense role in the visual effect. If you have the opportunity to observe your object for a long time, you should also use it. So you get to know the building at different times of the day and find out at what time it unfolds its effect best.

Image composition

Another important role in architectural photography plays the perfect composition of the image. It is important to consider in advance which objects of the environment are included in the picture and which are not. An accurate and thorough look at the entire environment is therefore essential.

  • Integrate environmental elements: For some structures, it is necessary to integrate certain environmental elements into the image structure. For example, a bridge can only be identified as such if the space spanned by it is visible in the image.
  • People and moving objects: Moving objects bring dynamism to the picture. It creates exciting relationships and situations between the people and the building.
  • Select image section: By reducing the size of the image, the photographer can showcase details, special structures and properties of a building.



Architectural photography takes time. In order to skillfully stage a building, it is an important prerequisite to know this in the most diverse situations and in the most diverse light conditions. The preferred focal length is a wide-angle lens to capture the largest possible angle of view. If you want to take pictures of buildings, you should first think about the desired picture result in order to work more effectively.

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