Minggu, 21 April 2013

Taking Architectural Photography using a smartphone camera

Recently, I was asked by InstaSG to write tips on taking architectural photography using smartphone camera. InstaSG is one of several Instagram communities in Singapore. 

Well, I am not an expert in this area, but yes I have been shooting architectural photography using my iPhone camera (first i used iPhone4 and now iPhone5)

The thing is, I shoot mostly based on instinct. So this request is timely as I was finally able to consolidate and pen down what my 'instinct' has been telling me whenever I 'click' the camera button on my smartphone. :)

So here it goes, the edited version of the one featured on InstaSG instagram. This tips is not just for iPhone users but for those who use smartphone camera to shoot this theme. Lastly, I hope the tips will be useful for you. 

Things you need to understand when taking architectural photography.

1. Shapes. Because of the lens restriction, we usually get distorted perspective when we capture whole structure of a big building using smartphone camera. I would suggest shooting parts/ details of the building instead. For example: the spiky roof of the esplanade, the UFO-like roof of the Changi expo MRT, the stilts of the Science and Arts museum, the fan-like roof of the open plaza at RWS, fa├žade details of the (now-defunct) Tanjong Pagar railway station etc.
Art and Science Museum #imole #apim_event #sgneworld

2. Lines. Always find interesting perspective and leading lines. Choose interesting and fresh angle (one that people never have taken from before) and apply good composition (try to follow rule of thirds). Architectural elements as leading lines can be in the form of sharp fins of windows, stairs leading to a room, merging lines of a dome, bending path of a bridge etc.

Punggol Interchange

My million dollar view that day -"Glass jungle"

3. Order. There is always an order in architecture. It can be in the form of facade pattern, flooring/ window pattern, the roof structure etc. Showcase them. Most times it is easy to spot orders in a building, occasionally though, it is not so obvious.

Tight repetition. Somehow i am so busy this week . Allow me sometime to reply to your comments and pay you a visit

4. Symmetry. Understand the symmetry of the building, or the proportion of the building. Learn about “golden section” if you wish to know what is considered good composition in photography (and architecture). Basically it is the rule of thirds.

Unique building against pretty sky!

5. Use surroundings to add scale, for example: people walking by, vehicles, lamppost etc. Use surrounding and nature elements such as trees as foreground or background, frame etc.

Perched high-up. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! Dear haze...shoo shoo away!

6. Look up. You will be surprised with what you will find.

Windy Christmas  wishing everyone a wonderful Xmas! (And i went to the Gardens again...would you believe it!)

Most importantly, we should understand the building before we take pictures of it. Do walk around first, in and out of the building if you have time. It will give you a better sense of the scale, mass and spatial elements of the building, thus hopefully you can identify those points mentioned above. 

Have fun shooting! :)

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