Want to photograph beautiful buildings and decaying constructions creatively and with passion? We bring you some must-know tips on architectural photography that will have you snapping your surroundings like a pro in no time!


Camera – of course
Tripod – so you can let your shutter stay open longer
Wide-angle lens – to fit more in without moving further away
Graduated filter – for enhancing the contrast between building and sky

What to look for

Lines – Whether that is the lines in bricks and mortar or the way a building towers above, make the most of the many lines that are present in a building and work with them to create a stunning picture.
Shapes – Domed roofs, pitched roofs, pod-like spaces, rectangular bricks, square windows… architectural limits know no bounds, see them and use them to great effect.
Colours – Capture the varying shades of building materials as well as the nature that surrounds it.
Contrast – The way light hits a surface picks out finer details of a man-made structure, take your time to scope your subject to see how the contrast changes depending on angle and time of day.
Juxtaposition – The contrast between a man made object and nature, or a building and the people who use it can create an intriguing narrative and an added dimension of interest.
Symmetry – Most buildings offer the photographer a symmetrical playground to explore on a scale large and small. Windows, doors, walls, pillars, posts, stairs… the symmetry of these features lends itself to beautifully framed opportunities.
Reflections – Wet weather brings an excellent opportunity to capture reflections of buildings, as does a nearby body of water. Check surrounding buildings too – a modern urban environment is generally rife with reflective surfaces. 
Textures – It isn’t always about the bigger picture, go macro to capture peeling paint, crumbling concrete and all the other fabulous textures building materials offer the keen-eyed photographer!

To capture the beauty of the building, try and get inside the head of the architect. What were they trying to achieve, what is the building’s defining feature?


In architectural photography framing is everything. The way the lines of the building fit within the viewfinder can enhance the beauty of a man made object in a multitude of ways. The usual tips apply: Get down low – Look up high - Get up close – Move away – Always experiment!

Passersby and traffic

The beauty of a wide angle lens is that you can get a lot of building into the frame without having to move far away. This cuts out the chance of unwanted ‘clutter’ in your image such as cars and people, if that is what you want…

Some photographers prefer to keep architectural images pure, excluding anything that is not part of the building. Whilst this produces striking and conceptually focussed results, sometimes including the surroundings can enhance other elements of a man made construction, and even lend a sense of scale, or contextual atmosphere to the image.

Use an ND filter for long exposures during the day, this will create a ghostly scene as people and traffic move around near the building. Or try a night time long exposure for light trails from passing traffic or star trails overhead.

F-stops and shutter speed

Assuming you want to capture the whole building, you’ll need a high f number to get as much of the scene before you in focus as possible. Depending on light conditions, this may mean you need a slow shutter speed. Luckily in architectural photography, your subject isn’t moving, so the only motion blur you need to worry about is how steady your hand is. Crack out your tripod, and this isn’t a problem any more!

We look forward to seeing some dynamic shots of urban spaces, rural retreats and everything in between!

Remember, if you have some advice to share with other 365ers about architectural photography, please do share your thoughts with us below.

October 14th, 2013
great tips
October 14th, 2013
Really great information and tips. Thanks so much for posting!
October 14th, 2013
very helpful post .
October 14th, 2013
Stoked to see one of my photos here!
October 16th, 2013
@dtigani it's a great shot! thanks :-)
November 22nd, 2013
Just catching up on the great blogs on the site and see my photo "Pinnacle" included here. What a nice surprise! Great information, too. Thank you!
May 30th, 2014
Thank You for taking the time to write this.
January 18th, 2015
Being new to 365project, I've only just found this. Great tips, thank you!
January 31st, 2015
Me too - really useful advice. Thanks :)
August 25th, 2017
wow thanks. I was just thinking about trying some building shots... great advice
Post a Comment
Sign up for a free account or Sign in to post a comment.