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This chapter is from the book

Buildings and Architecture

Here are some general guidelines for better building and architectural photos:

  • White balance: Daylight (preferred) or Auto
  • ISO: Up to 400
  • Suggested modes: Aperture Priority (A, Av)
  • Shutter speed: Set automatically by camera
  • Aperture: f/1.8 to f/5.6 (selective focus on details); f/5.6 or narrower (overall shot in focus)
  • Scene mode: Auto, Beach, Snow as needed
  • Zoom: As needed
  • Notes: Shoot before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for the best light. Use a tripod or image stabilization (IS) to prevent camera shake. Use EV adjustment as needed to bring out details.

Figure 7.11 is one of a series I did for a local newspaper on an historic neighborhood. I used +0.3 EV to add a bit more exposure to bring out shadow detail. The morning light brought out building detail and made the flag the center of attention.

Figure 7.11

Figure 7.11 Deep depth of field, thanks to f/14 aperture and a wide-angle lens (22mm, 1.1x), helps capture the essence of a neighborhood in a single shot.

Why Details Matter

Overall shots, such as Figure 7.12, help establish the scene, but to capture the real essence of an interesting building or structure, be sure to look for details (see Figure 7.13). I used -0.7 EV in both photos to darken the sky and make the shadows deeper.

Figure 7.12

Figure 7.12 An overall shot of the Lincoln Memorial Bridge in Vincennes, Indiana.

Figure 7.13

Figure 7.13 Detail of the Lincoln Memorial Bridge. Note how the afternoon light brings out the bas-relief.

Shooting From the Inside to Capture Special Details

The early 1900s house shown in Figure 7.14 was decorated for the 4th of July. To capture the unique flavor of the home's rare beveled-pane windows, I took a picture of the bunting through the window.

Figure 7.14

Figure 7.14 Beveled-pane windows turn any view into a unique experience.

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