Steps to become a successful Architectural Photographer

Every place has a rich and eventful history that helps define its personality. Evidence of this local aroma of life is, in a special way, preserved in our spiritual buildings and blessed sites. Whether it’s just down the road or something you’ll come across on holiday, visiting a place of worship is your chance to photograph part of cultural and spiritual history. Here’s is some details on how to become a successful architectural photographer.

Plan Your Voyage (Where to Visit)-

First up, you’ll need to find a site. If you don’t live in an area with many famous historical places, you might need to do some research to find a proper building to photograph. Not to worry—finding local resources is part of the fun with this kind of photography. You could even plan a trip around somewhere special that interests you.

Once you’ve found your topic, it’s imperative to remember that every building is different. Do some research into the history of the building. Take your time and try to avoid cliché compositions. Think about how you can capture the building’s character, eminence and history in your work.

Old Building at Hooghly photographer
Old Building at Hooghly

A good photographer doesn’t haste

Upon visiting the building, don’t just commence snapping away; have a good look around before you get your camera out of your bag. Use the information from your research and look for details and descriptions. Again, take your time and be sure not to just come up to everything at eye level.

The Warrior Mother-Victoria Memorial Kolkata
The Warrior Mother-Victoria Memorial Kolkata

In locations like an old palace, you will likely be surrounded by interesting articles, monuments and artefacts on display, and intricate details covering the walls, pillars and ceilings. Take note of anything of particular interest and be sure to come back to it after you’ve had a good look around.

Obey the Rules  

I know this will sound a tad mind-numbing, but be sure to stick to the photographic guidelines set by each institution. They often have very precise rules about where visitors can and can’t walk, so don’t go crossing the barriers just to get that extra shot you want. It’s also likely that they don’t want you to use your flash indoors so as not to damage fabrics and artworks through exposure to excessive light.

Interior Shoots  

At most historical buildings that I’ve visited, there are a massive amount of points of interest to look at on the interior. Keep your eyes open for little details, carvings, engravings, patterns, symmetry and stonework that may make for a great macro subject matter.

A Turkish Mosque in Oman photographer
A Turkish Mosque in Oman photographed on May 2017

Arrange the Lighting

Unless interior lighting has been installed, it’s likely to be fairly dimly lit within the building, so you’ll need to work carefully with your exposure settings to guarantee you get the best shots. I, as a photographer, always find it best just to knock up the ISO to 800 or 1600 to ensure you’re getting a good exposure.

As I mentioned earlier, it may not be possible to use your flash, so you’ll need to try to put your night photography skills to the experiment and work with the light available. Look out for artificial light bleeding through windows or fractures—it may underscore certain features. You will have to be tolerant and wait for the sunlight to be shining just where you want it, but sometimes waiting those extra few minutes can make all the difference.

Shooting Exteriors

For me, this is the most fun way to capture a historical building: trying to summarize its history and grandeur in one shot. It’s vital that you take the building into consideration in its own right, thinking about its spirit and stature.

Frame your composition using the basics of architectural photography: look for walls, doors, archways or windows to add to the symmetry, if possible. Consider carefully what time of day you want to capture the building. Would you prefer to shoot on a bright, clear day, at dusk as the sunlight falls side-on, or in the evening as the building is lit up by artificial lamps and lights?

As with any shoot location, it’s important to do return visits at different times of the year. You never quite know how the change in conditions will affect the shot. The changing of the seasons makes a huge impact upon the surroundings and atmosphere within a landscape shot.

Contemporary Buildings

Although architectural treasures that were built hundreds of years ago have a special appeal, there are many contemporary buildings that are just as interesting to explore. Like their older counterparts, new buildings can live up to their purpose and the spiritual element of their use. This often makes them far more intriguing than contemporary commercial buildings.

Contemporary Building-Acropolis Mall Photographer
Contemporary Building-Acropolis Mall

Let’s Go- Hey you Photographer!

Now all that’s left is for you to go out and give it a try for yourself. Find a free day in your calendar, fix up a visit to a local historical building, and go capture history! Each and every building has its own stories to tell, individual character and charm.


Kolkata, the City of Joy has been enchanting me, since childhood, of her glorified past and also the time at present.This blog is made with the intention to give you a brief and photographic detail of the famous spots of Kolkata with a pinch of little-known history behind it.