Architecture Photography: Tips, Techniques and Equipment

Michael • February 20, 2023 • 9 min read

Architecture Photography: Tips, Techniques and Equipment

Architecture photography is a unique genre that blends technical skill with creativity to capture the beauty and complexity of buildings and structures.

Whether you’re photographing historic landmarks or modern skyscrapers, architecture photography offers a range of challenges and rewards for photographers.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of architecture photography, from the equipment you need to get started to the tips and techniques for taking great photos.

We’ll also discuss the challenges of this genre and how to overcome them, as well as provide advice on how to become an architecture photographer and market your work.


Key Takeaways:

  • Architecture photography offers creative and professional opportunities. Photographers must have good equipment, know composition and lighting, and plan and research their shoots to succeed.

  • Architecture photography requires artistic and technical skills. Photographers must capture the beauty and character of architectural structures while using light, color, and composition to tell a story and evoke emotion.

  • Architecture photography requires constant learning and improvement. This includes keeping up with new technologies and techniques, developing your own style, and building a strong portfolio to show potential clients and employers.

  • Finally, photographing buildings offers many exciting career options, from freelance to staff photography for magazines, architectural firms, and other organizations. Anyone can turn their passion for architecture photography into a lucrative career with hard work and dedication.

1. What is Architecture Photography?

Architecture photography is the art of capturing buildings and structures in a way that conveys their beauty, character, and context. This genre of photography requires both technical skill and creativity to produce images that are both visually stunning and informative.

Architectural photography is important for several reasons. First, it allows us to appreciate the design, history, and culture of buildings and structures that might otherwise go unnoticed. Second, it provides a way for architects, designers, and developers to showcase their work and promote their brands.

In the 1870s, Albert Levy began photographing old buildings, launching architectural photography.

Some notable architecture photographers include Julius Shulman, Iwan Baan, Ezra Stoller, and Richard Barnes, among others. These photographers have captured some of the world’s most iconic buildings and structures, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York to the Beijing National Stadium in China.

2. Styles of Architecture Photography

Architecture photography can be approached in various styles, each of which seeks to capture the unique features of the structures being photographed. The four most common styles are:


Classic architecture photography typically involves capturing older, more traditional structures with a focus on capturing the building’s grandeur and detail. The style often involves capturing the building from a frontal perspective, emphasizing symmetry and proportion.

Classic Architecture
Classic Architecture


Modern architecture photography focuses on capturing contemporary architecture, which is characterized by sleek lines, minimalist designs, and a focus on functionality. This style often emphasizes the building’s clean lines and geometric shapes, and may include capturing the building from unique angles and perspectives.

Modern Architecture
Modern Architecture


Interior architecture photography is focused on capturing the inside of a building, emphasizing the space’s layout, design, and decoration. This style often involves playing with light and shadow to create a mood, and may involve using wide-angle lenses to capture the space in its entirety.

Interior Architecture
Interior Architecture


Abstract architecture photography is a more creative and experimental approach to capturing buildings, using the structure’s lines, shapes, and forms to create artistic and unique images.

This style often involves capturing the building from a different perspective or manipulating the image in post-processing to create a new interpretation of the architecture.

Abstract Architecture
Abstract Architecture

3. Architecture Photography Equipment

To get started with architecture photography and may like to start a business, you’ll need some basic equipment. Here are the essentials:


A digital camera with manual controls and interchangeable lenses is essential for architecture photography. Look for a camera with a high-resolution sensor and good dynamic range, which will allow you to capture fine details and rich colors.


A wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing the scale and context of buildings and structures. Look for a lens with a focal length of 14mm to 24mm, which will provide a broad field of view. A telephoto lens can also be useful for capturing details and compressing the perspective.

Special tilt-shift Lenses

Architecture photography requires tilt-shift lenses to capture buildings from unusual angles. Even on tall buildings, these lenses let the photographer control the plane of focus, resulting in a sharp image. This helps when photographing large structures that distort due to barrel distortion.

Photographers can create stunning effects with tilt-shift lenses. Tilt-shift lenses are expensive, but architecture photographers who want to improve should buy them.


A sturdy tripod is essential for keeping your camera stable and allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds. Look for a tripod with a weight capacity that can support your camera and lens, and consider a tripod with a center column that can be adjusted to different angles.

  • Find gear recommendations at the end of the article

4. The Right Time of the Day

The importance of light and time of day in architecture photography cannot be overstated. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to capture buildings and structures, as the light is softer and more directional. Harsh midday light can create solid shadows and wash out colors, so it’s best to avoid shooting during this time.

5. How to Take Great Architectural Photos

To take great architectural photos, you’ll need to pay attention to angles, perspectives, and composition. Here are some tips for getting started:

Angles and perspectives

Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most interesting and visually compelling compositions. Try shooting from low angles to emphasize the scale of buildings, or from high angles to capture the surrounding environment.

Types of structures

Different types of structures require different approaches to photography. For example, modern buildings might benefit from a minimalist and abstract composition, while classic buildings might benefit from a more traditional and ornate composition.

Available light

Make the most of available light by using natural light, flash photography, and long exposure techniques. Natural light can create dramatic shadows and contrast, while flash photography can fill in shadows and create even lighting. Long exposure techniques can be used to capture movement and blur.

Architecture, German Bundestag
Architecture, German Bundestag

6. Planning your Architecture Photoshoot

Planning is essential for capturing great architectural photos. Before heading out to a location, it’s important to do some research to ensure that you make the most of your time there. Take some time to consider the following factors:

Time of Day

As mentioned earlier, the time of day can have a big impact on the final image. Depending on the orientation of the building, the direction of light can create dramatically different moods and highlights. For instance, shooting in the early morning or late afternoon can provide warm, soft light, while shooting during mid-day can lead to harsh shadows and overexposed highlights.


Think about the location you’re shooting in and consider the best angles to capture the building. Consider any interesting features of the building, like the facade or the roof, and determine the best angle to capture them from.


Depending on the weather, you may be able to capture a building in a unique way. For example, shooting in foggy or rainy conditions can add a moody atmosphere to the image. However, it’s important to ensure that your equipment is protected from the elements.


When planning a shoot, be sure to consider the accessibility of the location. Some buildings may be off-limits or require permission to photograph, so it’s important to do your research in advance.

By taking the time to plan your shoot in advance, you can ensure that you make the most of your time at the location and capture the best possible images.

Library Ceiling, USA
Library Ceiling, USA

7. Tips for Taking Architecture Photos

Now that you’ve done your research and planned your shoot, it’s time to capture the image. Here are some tips to keep in mind when taking architectural photos:

Use a tripod

Using a tripod ensures that your shots are stable and sharp. It’s particularly important when shooting in low light conditions, as slower shutter speeds can result in blurry shots.

Experiment with angles

To capture the best possible image, don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Move around the building and try shooting from different heights and angles to find the best composition.

Pay attention to lines

Architecture is all about lines and shapes, so it’s important to pay attention to them when taking photos. Ensure that lines are straight and that they lead the viewer’s eye toward the subject.

Avoid distortion

When shooting with a wide-angle lens, be careful of distortion. Buildings can appear skewed and distorted if the lens is not used correctly. Be sure to use a lens that is appropriate for the size of the building and avoid tilting the camera too much.

8. Editing and Post-Processing Techniques

Once you’ve captured your images, it’s time to edit them. Editing can enhance the quality of your photos and help to create a consistent style. Here are some tips for editing and post-processing:

  • Color correction
    Ensure that the colors in your images are accurate and realistic. Adjust white balance if necessary to correct color casts.
  • Remove distractions
    Remove any distracting elements from the image, such as people, vehicles, or power lines. Crop the image to focus on the subject.
  • Lightroom Presets
    Presets for real estate photos simplify the editing workflow, ensuring every property is showcased at its best. By emphasizing the property’s highlights and correcting imperfections, these presets make each listing pop, attracting more potential buyers or tenants.
    Use software
    Software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can help you to enhance your images. Adjust exposure, contrast, and other parameters to achieve the desired effect.
  • Create a consistent style
    Developing a consistent editing style can help to create a cohesive body of work. Experiment with different editing techniques to create your own unique look.

9. The Do’s and Don’ts of Architecture Photography

Here are some key do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when photographing architecture:

  • Do take the time to plan your shoot in advance.
  • Do use a tripod to ensure sharp, stable shots.
  • Do experiments with different angles and perspectives.
  • Do make the most of the available light.
  • Do research the location and the building’s history to add context to your shots.
  • Don’t rely solely on automatic settings. Take control of your camera’s settings to achieve the desired effect.
  • Don’t forget to capture the details. The details can tell a story and add interest to your shots.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative. Try new angles, perspectives, and compositions to add visual interest to your shots.
  • Don’t forget about post-processing. Editing is an essential part of the photography process, and can help you achieve the desired look and feel for your shots.

10. How to Become an Architecture Photographer

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in architecture photography, here are some steps you can take to get started:

  • Learn the basics of photography
    Start by learning the basics of photography, including composition, lighting, and camera settings.
  • Practice, practice, practice
    The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Start by photographing buildings in your local area, and experiment with different angles, perspectives, and lighting conditions.
  • Build your portfolio
    As you begin to build your portfolio, focus on creating a cohesive body of work that showcases your skills and style. Consider including both exterior and interior shots, and experiment with different types of architecture.
  • Network with other photographers and professionals
    Attend exhibitions and events, and make connections with other photographers and industry professionals. This can help you learn more about the industry, and may lead to new opportunities.
  • Market your work
    Use social media, your website, and other channels to create content and market your work and showcase your skills. Consider offering your services to architects, designers, and other professionals in the industry.

11. Tips for Creating a Strong Portfolio and Marketing Your Work

Your portfolio is your calling card, and it’s essential to create a strong, cohesive body of work that showcases your skills and style. Here are some tips for creating a strong portfolio and marketing your work:

  • Curate your work
    Choose your best shots and create a cohesive body of work that showcases your skills and style.
  • Show a range of styles and types of architecture
    Your portfolio should show your range as a photographer, and should include a variety of styles and types of architecture.
  • Use social media
    Use social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to share your work and connect with potential clients.
  • Attend exhibitions and events
    Attend exhibitions and events to network with other photographers and industry professionals.
  • Offer your services to architects and designers
    Reach out to architects and designers to offer your services as a photographer. Building relationships with professionals in the industry can lead to new opportunities.

12. Learn from Famous Architecture Photographers

There are many famous architecture photographers who have made significant contributions to the field.

Julius Shulman

One of the most well-known names in architecture photography is Julius Shulman. Shulman is famous for his work capturing the iconic buildings of mid-century modernism in California, including the Stahl House and the Kaufmann House.

He was known for his use of dramatic lighting and unique compositions to showcase architecture in its best light.

Iwan Baan

Another notable architecture photographer is Iwan Baan. Baan’s work is known for its unique perspective and ability to capture the human element in architecture.

His photographs of buildings such as the Torre David in Caracas, Venezuela, and the Aqua Tower in Chicago, Illinois, are particularly famous for their ability to convey the humanity of the buildings, as well as their architectural design.

Ezra Stoller

Finally, there is Ezra Stoller, who is widely considered to be one of the most important architectural photographers of the 20th century. Stoller was known for his ability to capture the essence of a building in a single photograph, and his work was instrumental in helping to popularize modern architecture in the United States.

Some of his most famous photographs include images of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. His legacy has had a lasting impact on the world of architecture photography, and his work continues to inspire photographers to this day.

13. The 3 most Photographed Modern Buildings

Modern architecture has also given birth to some iconic buildings that have become the subject of countless photographs.

1. Guggenheim Museum

One of the most famous modern buildings is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum’s titanium-clad exterior has become a symbol of the city, and its curved, flowing lines make it a popular subject for photographers. The museum’s interior is equally impressive, with its unique design providing a stunning backdrop for art installations.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

2. Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, is another modern building that has been the subject of countless photographs. As the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa dominates the Dubai skyline, and its striking design has made it a popular subject for photographers.

Photographers have captured the building from all angles, including from the ground, from the air, and from other buildings in the area. The building’s unique design and towering height have made it a subject of fascination for photographers and travelers alike.

Burj Khalifa Dubai
Burj Khalifa Dubai

3. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House in Australia is another iconic modern building that has been the subject of countless photographs. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the opera house’s unique design has made it one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

Photographers have captured the building from all angles, including from the water, from the air, and from nearby buildings. The building’s stunning location on Sydney Harbour provides a beautiful backdrop for photographs, and its unique design continues to inspire photographers and travelers from around the world.

Sydney Opera Hall
Sydney Opera Hall

14. Conclusion

Architecture photography is a fascinating and rewarding genre of photography, and with the right equipment, skills, and planning, anyone can capture stunning architectural photos.

By experimenting with different angles, perspectives, and lighting conditions, and by taking the time to plan your shoots and research your locations, you can create a portfolio of work that showcases your skills and style. With dedication and hard work, you can turn your passion for architecture photography into a successful career.

15. Gear recommendations

Camera recommendations:
Nikon D750, Nikon D810 and the Nikon D5
Sony A6000, Sony A7 III, Sony A7 IV, Sony A7R III and Sony A7R V
Canon EOS 80D, Canon EOS 90D and Canon EOS R5
Panasonic LUMIX G7

Lens recommendations:
Sony Zeiss 16-35 f/4
Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art
Canon EF 11-24 f4L
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

Tilt-shift Lens recommendations:
Canon 17mm TS-E f4L
Nikkor 19mm f4E ED
Samyang/Rokinon 24mm f/3.5

Tripod recommendations:
Manfrotto Compact Action
Oben AC-1321
Gitzo GT2545T Series 2
Feisol Elite Tripod CT-3472LV M2
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP

16. Videos about Architecture Photography

What do you think about Architecture Photography? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.


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