If you have a look at any photographer’s portfolio, you’ll notice that if buildings form part of their subject matter, it tends to be a major focus of theirs, otherwise photographers generally either like taking building pics or they sort of put those types of pics off to explore later. It’s not exclusively a matter of interest however, but mostly a matter of building photos generally requiring a fair bit of specialisation in their photographic documentation. Some of the iconic buildings which are well known and can be spotted anywhere are much easier to shoot, otherwise taking pictures of a large, inanimate object such as a building tends to be something photographers either go “all-in” with or they dabble in it just a little here and there.
For a travel blogger such as myself (and perhaps a little bit of a travel-photo junkie), I love to take photos of buildings, particularly those which embody the destination I’m visiting. I may not always feature in the pic itself, but I reckon anybody who’s seen more than one of the photos I’ve taken can sort of spot a trend – a kind of signature shooting style, if you like. I’m by no means a pro photographer or claiming to harbour ambitions of becoming one, but I’ve picked up a thing or two about how to specifically take what I believe to be good pictures of buildings.
Take More Than One Pic
It’s perhaps an unwritten law of taking any sort of pic, whether it’s an action shot or a selfie (group selfies included), but yeah you simply cannot just take one pic if you want to make sure you get a good shot. The first shot you take could very well be the best one of the lot, but leave the decision around that for later, when you sort through all the pics. I’m not just talking about more than one pic of the same object or subjects though. You should take multiple pics from each angle you shoot. So if there’s a ground-level angle, take at least three similar pictures of that same angle. You’ll be surprised at how the final pics come out, with those that otherwise look similar to each other featuring something significant to separate the good pictures from the great ones.
Use Manual Focus
Because of the colossal size of buildings, the auto-focus feature which is built into so many digital cameras these days can spoil the pic a bit. Auto-focus fundamentally “seeks” out something to focus on by essentially separating it from the background and other dominant colours. This can result in the entire building being “mistaken” for the background with whatever small difference in the profile of the building being targeted as the focal point. Use manual focus so that you can make sure the building comes out sharply.
Otherwise just aim for shots which clearly define the building by way of any unique features it may have. You can’t shoot Big Ben from below the clock-downwards, for example, but you probably also won’t be able to fit the entire building into the shot, unless you’re standing far away.