Dramatic Insights: The Art of Architecture

47 min read

Deviation Actions

Welcome to the Architectural edition of Dramatic Insights!  Please support our efforts and fav this article by clicking the :heart: in the top left corner.  :)

I’m very excited about this issue all because I’m a huge fan of architectural photography and am looking forward to trying it out for myself!!  This issue is full of useful tips and helpful advice from some our top members, so I invite you to grab a cup of tea and enjoy!!  

:bulletorange::bulletorange:   Wanted: Outstanding Bird Shots!!!  :nod: Our next edition of Dramatic Insights will focus on Bird Photography!  If you would like your work to be considered for this exciting article just comment on the current poll at Dramatic-Photography  :bulletorange:  Please note that you must be a member of Dramatic Photography to participate and all applicants will be qualified by their body of work on the topic.


Dramatic-Photography was created to showcase high quality photography with a special flare for the dramatic!  We have a lot to offer talented photographers including the opportunity to be a Featured Artist in an issue of Dramatic Insights, Daily front page features, Weekly Member Features, and Valuable Exposure.  

:star:  Dramatic Insights is a bi-weekly publication featuring Dramatic-Photography members selected work along with insights into their world behind the camera.  ;)


Special thanks to our Featured Artists in this Edition for sharing their knowledge and inspiration. :  

:iconx-beccameccabingo-x: :iconfuchsia-groan: :iconaponom: :iconjacac: :icondocca: :iconzuckerblau: :iconproedros: :iconbpart: :iconmarcelhieber: :iconjonnygoodboy: :iconaloba: :iconmatthias-haker: :icondeere: :iconendegor: :iconkharashov: :iconartdictator:



My tips:
1. When photographing architecture try to get a different viewing angle, from where other photographs have taken the image as this make's your photograph unique and different helping it to stand out.
2. Reflections and architecture go really well, so always keep your eyes peeled for this. As it can give the image an unusual and exciting composition.
3. Don't be afraid to cut of parts of the building off, it can make the image bolder and more dramatic.

Built On Water by x-BeccaMeccaBingo-x Crossing Over by x-BeccaMeccaBingo-x Silence In The Graveyard by x-BeccaMeccaBingo-x Alien Architectute by x-BeccaMeccaBingo-x Too High by x-BeccaMeccaBingo-x


- perspective: is very important when photographing architecture indoor or outdoor. Take time to photograph from diffrent and even uncommon angles. Avoid "postcard" looks and eye heights: go down to your knees or climb a fence to find new and fresh angles.

- composition: Try to find a good balance of the object in the frame of the camera. Leave space for the sky. Often you will not be able to get the whole building in the frame, so choose a detail (if you don´t have a wide-angle lens like me). Wait for the right moment when you are in a museum or castle until you have empty rooms or places.

- Light: The sun, the light and the sky have an enormous effect on outside shootings. Clouds can be very dramatic, or shoots at night. If you can, come back to the same place on diffrent days and daytimes and see what it chnages to the atmosphere and impression of the place or building. It´s worth a try!

High above by Fuchsia-Groan Memento mori by Fuchsia-Groan Castle Sooneck II by Fuchsia-Groan Spiral Stairs by Fuchsia-Groan Castle Reichenstein by Fuchsia-Groan


Here are the three most important things I believe should be considered when making architecture photograph.

1. Composition must be precise. If your shot is symmetrical, it must be dead centered. Horizontal lines must be horizontal, verticals - vertical, unless your shot
is deliberately inclined. Look for strong lines, diagonals, S-curves, contrasty patterns. Using tripod helps a lot to achieve this.

2. Light. Wait, or plan your session in advance, when the light creates the most dramatic effect. Consider shadows, how do they add to the dramatic impact of your composition. Or maybe there should not be shadows at all. Pay attention to the sky, dramatic clouds or the moon can help handsomely!

3. Scale. Architecture means buildings. Building are for people. Include some human figures in your shot to give it a sense of scale. Or some other familiar object, which size is known to the viewer. If there are too many people around, try to use long exposure (tripod again!) to make them disappear or blur into ghostly images.

The Capitol by aponom NGA, East Wing by aponom East Wing III by aponom East Wing II by aponom GM by aponom


Hello Michelle
I already sent you two of my photos to this contest
But i will try to choose five
You know i am an architect, so to me there are no specific tips for making these kind of photos, because i always "see" what i want to do but anyway:

The composition is essential
Try to discover the graphic effects of architecture
Choose carefully about b/w or colours because that makes all the difference
Try to make architecture beautiful, because "she" really is and we make it will all our imagination and love

Frankfurt Postcard 1 by JACAC This Postcard... by JACAC Munchen Postcard 12 by JACAC Munchen Postcard 02 by JACAC Ireland in colours 12 by JACAC

And this is a special one
The X by JACAC


Here are my 3 tips on architectural photography:

- Composition, this rule counts for all photography, you have to create a striking image and get the balance right.
- What is so special about this building? Try to focus on that and capture it in a beautiful way, sort of 'shine a different light' on the subject, try to be original.
- Angle, in my personal oppinion it's fun to experiment with different approaches, don't just hold the camera in front of your head while standing, place it somewhere or hold it so you capture your subject in a unique way.

Warped by Docca Santa Cruz by Docca E L E G A N C E by Docca Floating by Docca Elevation by Docca


1. Don't hurry! Let the building and it's environment fill your senses. Walk around and take a look on it from different angles before you start taking pictures. Get a feeling for the building!

2. Straight lines should always be straight (except you're using a fisheye and the distortion is part of your composition). Therefore use a lens with less or no distortion and/or correct it in post-processing.

3. If something disturbs your composition (as parked cars, a lot of people, bad light, etc) either try to include them into your picture (i.e. long-time exposure for blurring moving people), go to the place at another time or try to change your point of view.

Concrete Still Life by zuckerblau SVA by zuckerblau Hallway? by zuckerblau Symmetric Xmas by zuckerblau Tending upwards by zuckerblau


Some things worth mentioning when photographing an architectural subject:

* Step back and use a telephoto lens. This often brings out an interesting pattern.

* Play with perspective. This way you can add a more dramatic look into your shot.

* Include some of the surrounding scenery to make your subject stand out even more.

Dominoes by proedros   Stand Tall by proedros   Ancient 'mini' Market by proedros   Still Life by proedros   Moon over Westland Row by proedros


So here are my tips for architectural photography, or at least these are the things which I try to consider when taking pictures:

1.) Use wide angle lenses and let the building/statue breath. The picture can get an even more dramatic look by leaving some space around the object (it gives an impression of the sizes, the placement, etc.)

2.) Consider using tele objective, as finding some details on the target can be even more interesting than taking a picture of the whole.

3.) Just let your imagination fly, see things creatively - and I think that’s the most important of all!

Stavkirke by BPart The Opera by BPart The last tower by BPart Roof's Eye by BPart Cloister by BPart


Okay, here 3 tips about architecture:

-I take all my shots in a RAW-Format, better for edit.

-sometimes i use 3 or more lighting levels to get the best light from the situation.
So you can choose the best picture after the fotoshooting without big editing.
Mainly I use to edit the images Adobe Lightroom and Photomatix sometimes.

-The most important thing to make good pictures form architecture and buildings.
You need an eye for details, lines, colors and forms.

Porsche Museum 2 by MarcelHieber Modern sun by MarcelHieber Modern Building by MarcelHieber Shining blue building 2 by MarcelHieber :thumb112436326:


First thing I’d advise anyone to do if they plan to get into Architectural Photography, whether it be interior or exterior is to add to your shooting arsenal and invest in a good wide angle lens. Unfortunately they don’t come cheap but they can be extremely effective at stretching out any perspective and adding depth to your shot.
They can also throw a certain amount of distortion into your image so take this into consideration if you don’t like such an effect before you party with £500+
Don’t be afraid to experiment though, goes without saying that you’ll get a completely different viewpoint and end result shooting the same scene with multiple differing lens.

A fisheye lens is another useful toy to add to your camera bag and you can pick one up for as little as £200 now.
Personally I’ve found mine much more valuable and practical to use for interior shots than exterior where the distortion can be very extreme and harder to control. Just be sure to take your time and line your shot up precisely with the fisheye as even the slightest nudge in any direction can throw your alignment and framing out completely. A Tripod is useful if you are allowed to use it within the perimeter of the building you are shooting but not a necessity. Given these suspicious times, I’d go out of your way to learn to shoot as steady as possible handheld as not many buildings will allow you the luxury to set up and use your Tripod at your own discretion.

Know your rights!
If you plan to get into lots of Architectural photography, it’s inevitable (again given these times and especially in major Cities) you will probably have a run in with Security or the Police sooner or later :police:
I`ve shot loads in London and have been questioned only three times and asked to stop shooting twice, which is pretty good going I think.
Just be respectful, no reason for your day to be ruined by unwanted confrontations.
But visit the informed article below and Know your Rights!

Eternal Echoes by JonnyGoodboy The Inner Circle by JonnyGoodboy The Machine by JonnyGoodboy ::Footsteps:: by JonnyGoodboy The Arcade by JonnyGoodboy


Tip #1: Study the building, the perspective is very important. If you use a different angle to the common, you'll get to surprise the public and will take a single picture.

Tip #2: Different times of day and sky conditions produce different effects.  Don't forget that the historic buildings or of particular interest are usually lit up at night and show a completely different view than let us see for the day.

Tip #3: Don't focus on photographing all the buildings, old buildings hold many details that are worth photographing

Palau Arts Reina Sofia II by Aloba   Ciutat de les Arts IV by Aloba   The skeleton by Aloba   Punto de apoyo by Aloba   Veles e Vents by Aloba


Tip 1: If you want to focus on architectural photography, get a good wideangle or superwideangle lens. Even though there are exceptions, I do 90% percent of my architecture shots using a (super-) wideangle (in my case a sigma 12-24mm on a fullframe camera).
Tilt/Shift lenses are even better, but unfortunately very expensive...

Tip2: Use a Tripod if possible. A tripod will help you to compose the image precisely and to use a small aperture to increase depth of field. if your tripod allows you to use the center column horizontally, that feature will help you with difficult angles (especially when shooting stairs for example).

Tip 3: If you shoot indoors, have a look at the doors! Especially in that have more than 1 door you should pay attention to them. It's up to you whether you keep them all open or all closed but usually it is quite disturbing if one door is open and one is closed for example. That can ruin the symmetry ;)

London City Hall by Matthias-Haker 311 Steps by Matthias-Haker Among Giants by Matthias-Haker III by Matthias-Haker Crystal II by Matthias-Haker


My three tips for architectural photography would have to be:

1. Keep those verticals vertical! Sure for some external spaces converging lines can convey a great sense of height by using perspective, but nothing gives a greater impression of the space than representing it in it's truest and most open form.

2. Hunt for the composition. In any architectural environment there will be a number of key features that you may want to highlight or play on; hunting around for the best way to fit all of those elements naturally into the frame can be really worth the extra effort and time that you'll take before you even set the camera up.

3. For interiors, utilize natural light. A lot of buildings and spaces are designed by their architects with natural light in mind; they make the most of it to illuminate spaces and so should we!

B Side by Deere Institute by Deere Finance by Deere Stairway to Heaven by Deere No Sleep by Deere


1. Geometry. I like to display the global shape of the object, to underline its geometry as a whole, as a unity. I like geometrical rhythms and when I see them, I try to stress them via composition, lights, framing, sometime with post-processing.

2. Activity. I try to show the subject in active interaction with an its environment or inhabitants. I am not afraid to include people or animals into the frames. This brings dynamics to architecture photographs, enriches them, makes them alive.    

3. Philosophy. I like to discover an idea behind- or above the architecture. Often, I show not only the building/space itself, but also try to display associations, which it can born. It can be done through visual associations, specific light, title, etc.

Time by endegor Heart of the Opera by endegor One-Way Ticket by endegor Learning to Fly by endegor Mind Games by endegor



My 3 tips would be:

1) Always spend a good five minutes or more walking around your location, keeping an eye out for odd and interesting angles. Don't be afraid to get above or below eye level, either. It's unfortunately very easy to get a shot that everyone else has already taken of that location but very much harder to make it your own.

2) Make sure that if you use a wide-angle lens you're not distorting lines and also it can help to get close to a good leading line (which can be a window, a wall, an indentation) that points to something interesting. This can give your shot added dynamicism and energy.

3) If possible, take a tripod. When you're shooting interiors nearly all the time you're working with the available light, which tends to be lousy. A tripod will help you use the lowest ISO you can get away with which in turn will result in a much less noisier, much more detailed shot. Of course, it doesn't matter so much when you post small sizes on the web but if and when you print and blow up your shot you will be very thankful for the low ISO, I can tell you.

The Bridge of Aspiration by kharashov Light Tube Stairs are Warm by kharashov The Falkirk Wheel glows by kharashov City Hall by kharashov Tenement Symphony by kharashov


I've always had an interest in man made structures and the way that they interact with each other and their environment. Architects seem divided on whether to take the surroundings where their buildings are constructed into account or to completely ignore them.
I personally find both of these directions offer opportunities for photographers. When shooting buildings in isolation I look for shapes and patterns inherent in the structure - sometimes detail can be fascinating, but lack of it can have an equal attraction if the architect is just going for texture.
I like to shoot cityscapes at night because they seem to have an organic quality - you can feel the life. The individual structures become less important than the impression they give as a single entity. I've been lucky to spend time in both New York and Hong Kong, which provide the kind of architecture that excites me. I especially like New York, where the old and new rub shoulders in interesting ways.....and that's important I think - to be shooting something that moves you, so you have a real involvement with the image.

:thumb177000338: :thumb174578056: :thumb174691561: :thumb73987240: :thumb186641837:


here are my 3 tips for Architectural Photography:

A fish eye or wide-angle lens is ideal for this genre as it enables photographers to frame the entire building within its environment. With wide-angle lenses you can play with the lines perfectly - be creative by choosing a unique perspective which also gives a feeling for the height and tallness of the building.

Architectural images shouldn’t just be aesthetic and graphic; they should also provide dynamism and movement – so play with the lines, the light and the shadows to provide interest and consider the hierarchy of levels and areas.

Reflections add an extra dimension to architectural images and allow the photographer to create a canvas on which the building can be playfully distorted. Urban environments are littered with a big amount of reflective surfaces, so you’ll never have to look too far to practice, for example: windows, water features, wet streets, rivers ...

:: Plastination City -XII- :: by nexion | :: Plastination City -XI- :: by nexion | :: Plastination City -X- :: by nexion | :: The Aeon Architect -V- :: by nexion | :: The Aeon Architect -III- :: by nexion

:star: Special Features :star:

Fountain by Cattereia Chateau de Versailles by Coralulu Silence is Golden by Amalphi:thumb146927793: Geometry by shadowqueen16 Tribeca. by robkit:thumb161919883: The Covered Bridge by XpiecemealX Fougeres by Azagh Lost World by Pajunen Enlightened by Shreyas-Panambur Maracaibo's Symbol I by amesho Touch The Sky by o0oLUXo0o Senate Wing - Madison Capitol by jvrichardson High Rise Reflection by Cheryl-P arts building by xthumbtakx Manhattan I by Passion4Photos view from the past - infrared by Konczey-Zsolt Way to the deepness by LadyCarnal saint-petersburgo 4 by Iridescent-happinesS Stattsgallerie Architecture by Creative--Dragon Bellagio by dx The Only Way Is Up by Amalphi :: Ginger :: by Den-Lilla-Rose - Jewell - by UNexperienced Golden Ceiling by Kovitlac:thumb159063745:

:star::star:Missed an Issue of Dramatic Insights???  Check them all out here!! dramatic-photography.deviantar…

I hope you have enjoyed the article and that you will check out these fantastic groups specializing in Architectural work!!  :heart:

© 2010 - 2021 Squirrelflight-77
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Shreyas-Panambur's avatar
thanks for featuring my work!!
Cattereia's avatar
Sorry for a late reply, but thanks very much for featuring my work! :)
Kovitlac's avatar
Thank you so much for the feature. Such a great article!
jvrichardson's avatar
Thanks for the feature :heart:
angelandspot's avatar
Excellent tips and beautiful photography.
o0oLUXo0o's avatar
Once again a Great Collection of Work Michelle! And thanks for including mine! and Wonderful Ideas!
Den-Lilla-Rose's avatar
Stunning collection! Thanks for the feature! :blowkiss:
Konczey-Zsolt's avatar
great shots and thanks...
JoseMelim's avatar
Great tips, great architectural photo works. A very valuable piece indeed.
dukeofspade's avatar
JACAC's avatar
w e l l . d o n e . a r t i c l e
i . a m . h o n o r e d . t o . b e . p a r t . o f . i t
c o n g r a t u l a t i o n s . t o . a l l . b e c a u s e . t h e i r . p h o t o s . a r e . a n . i n s p i r a t i o n . t o . d o . b e t t e r
t h a n k . y o u
zuckerblau's avatar
Thanks for having me! :aww:
Azagh's avatar
nice collection!
many thanks for including one of my photos!!
MASYON's avatar
thniceank you so much for this great collection...this is very
svet-svet's avatar
Very nice selection Michelle! :)
XpiecemealX's avatar
Fuck yeah! I'm in a gallery with Nexion, hes one of the grand masters IMO. Mine is the covered bridge.
GregoriusSuhartoyo's avatar
These are all super cool! Great!
Cheryl-P's avatar
Fantastic article and great photos! Thank you :)
Coralulu's avatar
Amazing as always! Thank you so much! :heart:
o0oLUXo0o's avatar
Great Collection Michelle! :wow: Very Cool!
ArwenArts's avatar
Awesome work of features and thank you for sharing this beautiful article with us :clap:
sesam-is-open's avatar
Very beautiful and interesting!:rose:
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In