Jeff Dean states, “The ability of the architectural photographer to select his views and manipulate his medium can be used to enhance or denigrate any building. It can be used to place a building on a figurative pedestal...[or] show the failure of the first sort of building,” (Dean 1). This is a concept I want my students to become very familiar with by comparing existing photographs of buildings, and also by urging them to take a variety of different images of the same building. One main concern when taking photographs of buildings is the fact that you are photographing a three-dimensional structure in a two-dimensional media. This can be very difficult if the photographer is not aware of the elements.
Architectural photography has a few striking differences from other types of photography. Almost everything in an architectural photograph is geometric. Because of this the artist needs to be careful of bizarre foreshortening or perspective distortion. In order to alleviate this it is critical that students learn that the lens must always be parallel to the subject. If a building is tall then the students need to find a different vantage point to capture it, instead of simply angling their camera upwards. Capturing a tall building by tilting the camera up exaggerates the vanishing point and gives the building an appearance of strength and grandeur, which may not be the desired outcome. (Dean 19)
The sun and the weather are both also important factors in photographing buildings. If you are staging a photo shoot inside you can easily control the lighting on your subject. However, outside you are subject to many variables: the position of the sun, the position of the building, and the weather. Ideally you would like a bright sunny day, at the time of day when the sun is beating on the face of the building. This will create contrast and ensure that the building looks like it has volume. (Dean 65)
Planning and patience are also extremely important. You must plan what time of day it is best to shoot your building. I will need to figure out how to help students get to their buildings during this time, since chances are it will not always conveniently be when we meet for class. Buildings are structures that people use and do not exist in a vacuum. Because of this the photographer must be patient and willing to take many photographs in order to capture what s/he is looking for because you cannot control what is going on around the building, or the people interacting with it. (Dean 7)