INTERIOR /ARCHITECTURE 

Architecture and interiors is something that envelops us every day, thus making it a very popular subject among both amateur and professional photographers. It’s a broad subject, which encompasses everything, from skyscrapers to farm houses. Virtually anywhere we go, we’re surrounded by some sort of architectural style almost on a daily basis. And it is because of this that it should come as no surprise that it’s such a popular model for photographers.

Despite being diverse, there are a few principles and techniques which can be applied to most situations. Keeping them in mind, during your sessions, will help you to think more carefully about your structure, framing, composition and even lighting.

With practice, however, it will become like second nature and help you develop your eye for architecture photography. This will give you the ability to shoot your subjects in a more interesting way, thus avoiding commonly repeated compositions and will inject more personality into your photographs.

 

OLD ARCHITECTURE

When photographing older architecture, a more straightforward and simple composition is what usually works best. This allows the photography to showcase the natural beauty and elegance of the building, which usually makes the picture much better. It usually helps to include some of the surrounding scenery to help give the entire picture more context and makes it feel less cramped, and freer.

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What will make the experience ever better is researching the reasons behind that piece of architecture and find out why it exists. You’ll be surprised how a little bit of information can change your perspective and even fuel inspiration. Ask a local or even a guide to point out small interesting aspects that would have otherwise gone unnoticed by the general public and then makes that your focus.

Contemporary Interiors and Architecture

While photographing modern architecture however, you can get away with using a much more modern style. Experimental approaches with wide angle lenses to produce extreme perspective, photographing the buildings and interiors from rather unusual angles all give away to a more modern and abstract method. Also since modern buildings are more often than not squeezed closed to one another, you can crop in tightly on the building and not make the photo feel unnatural.

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Good Architecture speaks of itself, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes a building is just overall fantastic but you as the photographer struggle to find an area to shoot it from. On the other a building you pass every day without even giving it a second glance, can suddenly become interesting. Give it time, and walk around, point your camera different ways at it and forget about the people around you and you’ll find it!

 

PUT YOUR ARCHITECTURE IN FOCUS... OR DON'T

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Sometimes a question arises, whether or not to show your building’s surroundings, and it all depends on the situation or the message you want to convey to your audience. Ask yourself the question, will putting the building in context add to or detract from the photograph??

It all depends on what one wants to convey in the image it could be an emotion,feeling or just the interiors or exterior of the building like the way it is.

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LIGHTING

Lighting is a crucial part of any type of photography but in architectural it shows us a way to give perspective to an image. While we have no say over the position and orientation of a building, and lighting something that big is usually out of the question and not to mention expensive. Instead we have to make do with whatever the sun provides us with.

For most architecture photos, side lighting usually produces the best results. It provides plenty of illumination and also casts long and very interesting shadows across the face of the building which makes its surface details stand out and gives the structure a more 3D look.

Window light diffused  on the other hand gives a beautiful effect when it comes to interior photography. Simply because it creates a very soft and moody feel to the image.

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When a building is lit from the back,the  best way to deal with this kind of lighting is to either crop out the sky and increase the exposure to help rescue some of the detail or use the backlighting to your advantage and photography the building as a silhouette.

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SHOOT DURING THE NIGHT

Everything somehow manages to come alive at night, even the most boring architecture - as a matter of fact, many modern buildings and cities are designed specifically with darkness of night time in mind.

Especially because, after dark these buildings are lit by dozens and dozens of lights which bring colour and vibrancy, and cast beautiful shadows all across the face of the building?

However, when shooting at night make sure to use a tripod and set your camera to its lowest possible ISO setting to keep digital noise to a minimum.

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REDUCE DISTORTION BY CHANGING YOUR LENS

If you shoot a building from to close, it can leave the walls looking extremely distorted, as the building is bulging outwards. But while this can be a very interesting effect to play with, most of the times, we want to reduce this so that it doesn’t become the star figure in your image.

However, by using a longer lens, such as a telephoto lens and photographing the building in your mind from further away, it will reduce you chance of a distorted walls. Instead, you will find the building walls and lines appear an acceptable level of straight.

You can also use the telephoto lens to help you create some great abstract effects, by changing the focal length. This will allow you to flatten the perspective and make the lines of the building appear parallel to each other, giving the photograph a more surreal feel.

 

PICK OUT INTERESTING DETAILS

As I said before, most architecture or interiors is covered with small details that only a few people may know about. Ask around and then make that detail your prime focus – from ornate windows to decorative cornices.

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Be on the Lookout and pay sharp attention to these details and magnify in tightly on them for a more intimate photography that has the ability to convey both the character and personality of the building and the interiors.

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USE THE WEATHER TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Unlike most forms of photography, the weather can play a very important part in architectural photography. If used well, it can be a very interesting ally and may allow you to get different types of shoots according to the what your weather man/woman says.

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A church on a clear sky less day may strike a viewer as pleasant but it may be a bit bland for most photographers, but revisiting when there’s a storm brewing or even a on a foggy day or during the golden hours of the day, and the results can be much more intriguing. By revisiting and shooting the same building in various weather conditions and at different times of the day, photographers can produce a beautiful portfolio of shots.

 

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT BUILDINGS

Stop thinking laterally and think outside the box,a clichés though when shooting architecture or interiors, it’s very easy for your mind to get stuck and equal architecture to buildings only. But this far from the truth and in fact most manmade structures come under the architectural portfolio – from bridges, towers, windmills, monuments, and even lamp-posts.

Interesting images can be made by just training the eyes and bringing some emotions to it.

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Tips for Better Portrait Photography

The difference between amateur and professional portrait photography is vast.  I have tried my level best to compile the top tips for portrait photography from my experience and expertise.

Whether you're capturing your friends portraits or you've been commissioned to photograph a family, or you're shooting in a pristine studio or in a outside location, I believe my tips will help you become a better portrait photographer.

Connect with your subject as best you can well before the shoot.

Find a common ground, interests that you share with your subject. This will help to put them more at ease with you.

Remember to engage and direct your subject. I'll often say something offbeat just to get a reaction, while my finger is trained on the shutter ready to get the shot.

I never filter the lens, always the light. Your lens is going to be as good as the last piece of glass in front of it.

Background

Background plays a vital role to a portrait. As you know, portrait is all about someone’s face. So it is important to have a background which is not interfering with the subject. A simpler and less cluttered background works better for portraits. However, sometimes surroundings may need to be considered to bring out the personality of the subject.

Light. You can create beautiful lighting situations anywhere quite inexpensively using Natural light and a reflector or a diffuser.

However, shooting outdoors may be tricky, as you may not be able to control the light in most situations. Make sure that you don’t pose the subject right in front of the sun. This may cause unwanted brightness or deep shadow. Shooting in mid-day also should be avoided as much as possible. For best results, position the subject in such a way that sunlight falls on the face from the side. You may also use reflectors or an external flash to light up some parts of the face.

Another way to get a great beauty light on your subject is by "bending light." Place your subject in an open shade area by using a garage, carport or overhang. This also creates a beautiful, even light on the face.

If you are shooting indoors, make sure that you use a soft, evenly distributed light source to light up the subject.

When using flash indoors or out, expose your subject with the aperture and your background with your shutter speed. This will equally balance the mixture of light.

You can control your strobe light but you can’t control your existing light

Lens

Choosing the proper focal length is very important. The focal length has the potential to distort the subject’s head in one way or another. The longer the focal lengths, the more flattering it is for the subject and the shallower the depth of field will be. Personally, I find that the 85mm on a full frame camera and the 50mm on a cropped sensor to be the optimal portrait lengths. Both are wide enough to capture the surrounding scenery with the appropriate distance and also with a few steps forward, they can achieve tighter portraits. Fixed prime lenses such as the 50mm or 85mm are fast lenses with wide apertures that will help shoot at wide settings. This is important when you want to melt away distracting backgrounds

Composition

The purpose of composing an image is to draw the viewer's eye to the essential details of the portrait.It could be the eyes,smile, the face or could be what one sees interesting.The important rules matter largely like the rule of thirds and depth of field but sometimes this can be broken if needed.Its all subjective.

Expression

People tend to forget that a portrait without a REAL expression does not connect to the viewer. Humankind wants to see genuine emotion and not a posed, cheesy smile. This is more important than location, light and expensive gear. Clients will more often than not choose the blurry images with bad compositions if it means those images are honest portrayals of themselves.

Angle and Posing

Pose and the angle of the body and face play a key role.Play attention to the details like the placement of the hand.It can make or break a photo.

Get high or get low. Taking a portrait is not always shooting at the eye level. Positioning the camera high or low while keeping the focus on the eyes brings out interesting features and adds different flavors to the portraits. So make the model sit, stand up, climb up to the stool or ladder or stairs and shoot. Or you go high, climb up, or position your camera high and shoot. You will have more and more interesting options.

Remember to have fun, and you will always take great pictures.  The biggest piece of advice I give is to get out and experiment.