Architectural Photography: The Key Elements

In a mini-documentary featuring Birmingham, Alabama-based architectural photographer Chris Luker, we are not only told but shown what kind of thought and preparation goes into each of his photographs. The video starts out with a powerful quote from world-renowned architecture writer and critic, Paul Goldberer, which you can read and hear in full by watching the following video:

“In a world where technology allows us to be anywhere, then what does it mean to be somewhere?”

Those powerful words are what Luker draws his inspiration from when he is out photographing. He feels it’s his job as an architectural photographer to define the meaning of somewhere. When going about translating architecture to the viewer, Luker says he looks for what the architect is saying with his design in the same way a person would look at a painting and find the artist’s intent. It’s that idea which should be portrayed in the photographs, suggests Luker. In doing so, Luker looks for the following key elements:

  • Details
  • Context
  • Light
  • Environment
  • Time
  • Elements
  • Season
  • Materials
architectural photography

Elements of Effective Architectural Photos

When photographing architecture, Luker uses a variety of lenses on his Canon 5D Mark II including a  Canon TS-E 24 mm f/3.5L II,  Canon E 85 mm f/1.8, and a Canon E 50 mm f/1.8. The video editing was done using Adobe Premier, a powerful video editing platform that comes bundled with Photoshop, After Effects, and many other goodies in Adobe’s Creative Master Suite.

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