Concentrating on Structural Elements in Architectural Photography

A beautiful mix of daylight and artificial light at Albertina in Vienna, Austria

Here's a striking architectural element on a summer's evening in Vienna, Austria and the simple recipe for how you might go about making the photo.


Determine what specific element within the overall structure drew your attention and caused you to decide to photograph it.

In this case it's clearly the golden roof, protruding outwards against the blue sky at dusk. It's then simply a matter of positioning yourself in such a way to emphasize that feature by photographing from below and at an angle to emphasize the 3-dimensional aspects of the structure.

Introducing Negative Space

Notice how the roughly equal areas of sky below and above left and right of the structure help to frame it and elevate its prominence within the frame. The sky is serving as an aid to composition by providing what's referred to as negative space.


The blue sky really made this image possible. The color contrast between the golden roof and the blue sky really helped define the shape and 3-dimensional nature of the structure. 


Its important to set your exposure so that diffuse highlights are not blown out. That simply means that color and texture are retained in important highlight areas, such as the right and underside of the roof. If I'd allowed those areas to burn out they would have created distractions and a certain disquiet within the image. And that would have been the opposite to what I was trying to achieve.

Hopefully you'll be able to incorporate some of these fundamental considerations into your own photography. It's not hard and it's a way to elevate even the most simple image above that of the snapshot.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru