The 10 main types of architectural photography are
- Exterior architectural photography
- Interior architectural photography
These can be expanded to include the following
- New build photography
- Refurbishment photography
- Existing building photography
And even further to
- Architectural photography of buildings
- Architectural photography of structures
- Architectural photography of plant
- Architectural photography of infrastructure
- Construction photography
In this blog post I will go into more detail on each of these, and will also chuck in a few of my own architectural photography images too, and some bits of advice if you want to be an architectural photographer.
I like to start with who I am and what the subject is before diving into the specifics.
OK – who am I?
If you do not know me I am Rick McEvoy, and I specialise in photographing the built environment. Yes I am an architectural photographer – this is what I do, and this is what I write about.
Yes I am qualified in both aspects, the construction of buildings, and the photographing of them too.
What is architecture defined as?
Put the question “what is architecture” into Google and this is what you get.
“the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings”.
Let’s think about that for a second.
Designing and constructing buildings. That is why I put number 10 in – construction photography, which is, as we have just found out, a type of architectural photography. I do not want to get too hung up on this, but wanted to justify the inclusion of construction photography.
All my own thoughts
This is how I see things. This is not a post that came from endless Google, searches, these thoughts and words all came out of my head and are my thoughts and opinions based on my years of experience of architecture, construction, and photography.
Right, enough from me – lets get into those 10 types of architectural photography.
1 Exterior architectural photography
Quite simply this is the photographing of the exterior of buildings. This is the most popular type of architectural photography, mainly because anyone can do this, as you are not going into a building.
If you are just starting out in architectural photography this is the thing to start with. You can photograph all sorts of buildings. Public buildings are great to start with.
They are right there, and they are public.
In writing this post I have decided that I am going into the different types of architectural photography in much more detail, so next week on my blog you should find a post all about exterior architectural photography.
But I want to say one thing about photographing public buildings – are you allowed to do this? Well the answer is yes, but to find out more check out the post Can you sell photos of buildings? Is it illegal? where I go into this in detail.
2 Interior architectural photography
This is quite literally photographing the interior of buildings – this is a specialism in itself which I love doing.
There is of course a downside to photographing interiors, as you have to get into them. But here is a top tip – churches are great buildings to photograph.
Now these environments need to be treated with respect of course, but they provide excellent subject matter and opportunities.
Interior architectural photography top tip.
You’ll like this one – trust me. You are trying to take photos in a stunning church, but you are not the only one in there. What do you do? Simple.
Just tilt your camera up above the crowds – it works a treat. That is how I got this photo of the interior of the spectacular interior of Bordeaux Cathedral.
3 New build architectural photography
This is something I do a lot of, photographing completed buildings. And quite often this is right at the point of completion, known in the trade as practical completion.
This is something that I love to do, as buildings are only completed once. This is a moment in time that I am capturing, the moment when everything in the architectural and construction processes come together.
A new building will never be the same as that day.
I photograph new buildings mainly for architects, which is great for me as architects value architecture and the photographs recording the completion of their work.
4 Refurbishment architectural photography
Another thing that I do a lot of is to photograph refurbishment projects. You might be surprised just how many refurbishment projects there are going on at any one time. The uses and needs of buildings change over time, meaning that they need to be adapted, altered, reconfigured.
Refurbishment does this, transforming spaces into new working and living environments.
And if I am commissioned to take photos before construction work starts to allow before and after comparisons then I am a happy chap.
Check out this photo, a rare (for me) before and after photo of a school in Hampshire.
5 Existing building architectural photography
A building owner might just want photos of their building taking as they do not have them. Quite often when someone has bought a building they will commission me to take photos which are a record of their purchase, and are also used to promote a company.
A building is a significant investment, so getting some great photos taken is a great idea which as I said can contribute to the marketing of a company.
6 Architectural photography of buildings
I know, I have only mentioned buildings so far, but we can broaden out our thinking by considering the following.
I have to put buildings in here to allow these further types of architectural photography.
7 Architectural photography of structures
Let’s not constrain ourselves to buildings here. One of the things that springs to mind is those magnificent bridges that you can see all over the world – such great subjects to photograph.
And I am sure that we can all come up with other structures – how about Maccu Picchu?
Yes architectural photography can morph into travel photography.
8 Architectural photography of plant
Plant? I am talking large scale plant here – not the stuff in my garden! Want some examples of what I am talking about here?
- Thames Barrier
- Battersea Power Station
That’s two great examples of the top of my head – hopefully you get the idea.
And I have photographed other plant, such as a gravel loading facility. And a quarry. Yep this is industrial stuff but for me it all comes under the same broad genre.
9 Architectural photography of infrastructure
Infrastructure fascinates me. It could be roads, rail, airports, canals, power generation, waste, recycling, – if you think about it this is a massive area.
10 Construction photography
I finish this whistle stop tour of the types of architectural photography with the one that you might not have thought of, but having explained the definition of architecture it makes sense to me to include this here.
This is the thing that I love doing – taking photos on live construction sites. I do not get to do this as often as I would like, but when I do it gives me a bit of a buzz I am not going to lie to you.
This is definitely a specialism, and one for which you need specialist gear, PPE, and knowledge.
This is the thing that I am best placed to do being a photographer, Chartered Builder and also a current CSCS card holder.
One more thing
The point is that architectural photography is much more that photographing churches and shiny new buildings.
It is much more than that – I would include anything in the built environment.
Which makes architectural photography a more exciting prospect don’t you think?
And I do not want to get hung up on names and categories here- it is all about photographing the built environment in all its wonderful forms.
OK – I am done here
I have written lots of good stuff about this, and would like to point you in the direction of two pages on my website
And also a couple of excellent blog posts, even if I do say so myself.
Let’s not forget my podcast
Yes I have my own podcast, called the Photography Explained Podcast – check it out – in each episode I explain one photographic thing in less than 10 minutes without the irrelevant detail.
That’s all folks
Thanks for reading this post which I hope you have found helpful and informative. If you did why not subscribe to get a weekly email from me with interesting and useful stuff and also links to the stuff I have published each week.
Cheers from me Rick