Urban Angles

As many would have guessed by seeing my blog I’m an avid fan of amateur photography.  But a big chunk of my job requires photographing buildings, structure, and urban settings.  This is to convey a certain mood or to express a feeling of a community.  Reflecting the character of a community, activity in specific time of day in a public space, or showing off details of architectural features.  So here are some pointers that may be helpful if you find yourself doing the same thing:

  • Asymmetrical angles are always more dramatic, and specific angles (even if it’s a road or public space) that’s looking slightly up from just below the eye level.
  • Play with reflections especially off of building windows and water features such as fountains.
  • Sunsets are ideal, they can be used to convey the day activities as well as the dramatic lighting that pops out at night (especially artificial lighting from street lamps and other buildings).
  • Make sure clear skies are the backdrop you use, having bland overcast skies will make any structure bland no matter how special it truly is.
  • Always include people into the picture if you can, it gives a sense of scale and shows a lively active space or structure.
  • Avoid parking lots, cars or buses in your pictures, you want to keep it connected to the people and structures directly.  Vehicles and parking drag out the picture and looses the emotional connections people have with the space (boats in a marina is an exception).
  • Don’t be afraid to scope out the place and look at buildings and structures form behind, or sides.  Taking a picture form the front is the usual angle but not always the most dramatic.  Special architectural features might be missed if the front is all you consider.
  • Incorporate corners, often the two sides of a buildings corner offers a dramatic view and juxtaposition.

Any other tips you might have for those taking building, urban space and architectural photography?


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