Welcome to (The Occasional) Photo Tip of the Day! Please also visit my main site jeffwignall.com. Text and photographs Copyright 2016 Jeff Wignall.

“The best way out is always through.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Architecture: Break Some Rules to Add Drama

Ask any architectural photographer and they'll tell you never to get too close to a tall building with a wide-angle lens because your photos will show an effect called "keystoning" that causes the buildings to lean back in space. But ask them if they ever do exactly that to create drama and the answer will be, "Of course." In most cases (especially if you're shooting photos for the architect) you want to get architecturally-correct views which means either backing away a sufficient distance or, if you're well-heeled equipment-wise, using what's called a perspective-control lens (a lens with a shifting front element that corrects keystoning) to keep the lines of the building square and parallel. But when it comes to creating dramatic photos of buildings, very often it comes down to abandoning technical rules and going with what looks most interesting.

I photographed this view of the Iowa State Capitol, for example, using an 18-70mm zoom at its widest setting (equivalent to about 28mm in 35mm format) from right next to the building. Obviously the building doesn't lean back like this and the columns don't converge, but again, the combination of the wide lens and the close vantage point creates a shot that is technically "wrong" but also quite dramatic. I also shot a number of images with a longer lens from a distance so that the building would look architecturally correct, but they were also complete yawners! The last thing you want people to do when they look at your photos of buildings is to get bored. Next time you find an interesting building, shoot some "straight" images if you have to get it out of your system, but then break some rules and see if you don't like those photos more.

No comments: