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The building or architecture is the star so don't get your mate to stand in front.

Try to get the atmosphere of the building in its context.

Take many shots, and take many close ups of details.

Try unusual angles and views as this means the overall portfolio will be more interesting to view. Many similar shots are used for your selection, not the ultimate (public) viewer.

Also try different lighting and weather conditions. Day and night is an obvious start.

The older the building, the more background context is required. This is because new buildings are designed in computers and tend to look good standing alone.

Older buildings are part of a heritage and so contextual cues are useful.

Sydney Opera House Roof Tiles

Above: Sydney Opera House Roof Tiles - see our Image Gallery for building, architecture images >

Tilt shift photography camera lenses

Above: Tilt shift photography with special camera lenses (Copyright Motorrad-67)

Some buildings need a large context or background. Think of farm buildings in the countryside.

Try to anchor the building and provide information about the context - farm buildings in countryside, urban buildings in a street scene (however truncated) - use your imagination in composition.

The building isn't going anywhere!

Although sticking your mates in the photo is not a good idea, a decorative illustrative local person might be, if you are in a work, tourist, ethnic or exotic area.

Also include fencing, walls, signs etc as these can make the composition interesting. Sometimes a sign can provide narrative to a picture.

Shadows are important and can be used for dramatic effect.

And weather can provide drama and contrast apart from simple lighting effects.


Move back from the building and use a telephoto lens.

Or for effects use a fisheye lens.


There are many advanced professional techniques for photographing architecture and also for taking aerial photography, including 3D - 3 dimensions - using two cameras for stereoscopic effects.

Tilt-shift and perspective control lenses can be used to get better images of buildings as the image can be fitted into the frame better.


This is a special technique that uses special lenses to enable better photos of buildings. The lenses are able to move in tilt or swing direction, which changes the shape of depth of field (DoF). This is the Scheimpflug principle.

See the image at the top of the page >

Tilt-shift and perspective control & correction lenses are available for many SLR cameras, but they are expensive.

PC lens and TS lens are sometimes used by manufacturers to refer to this type of lens.

It is also used in animation to give a weird model or LEGO type appearance.


Rotate the lens about a horizontal axis is TILT.

Rotate the lens about a vertical axis is SWING.

Medium and small cameras refer to both as TILT.


Shift is a movement of the lens parallel to the image plane. This allows the line of sight to be changed.

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See our Image Gallery for building, architecture, construction images >