Seeing line, shape and form in Manchester’s architecture

I’ve always wondered what the secret is when it comes to architecture photography. After going on a course today, it turns out the secret is using manual rather than aperture (or shutter speed) priority, and looking for line, shape and form.

Don’t be scared of manual

Using manual means you’re thinking about the right exposure for your picture. I’ve always used AV and set my ISO to auto and plumped for whatever shutter speed the camera gives me, switching to TV mode if the shutter speed was too slow, but compromising the depth of field. Using manual gives you much more control; you can set your ISO to 400-800, leave it, decide on the depth of field you want, and then set the shutter speed to give you the right exposure (you can check this on the back of your camera).

Experimenting with shallow and wide depths of field and managing the exposure like this gives you much more control, results in better exposed pictures and allows you to experiment a lot more with the available light. It’s also much easier than I thought it would be.

IMG_3431Finding form

Looking deliberately for lines and shapes in architecture gives you a different way of photographing buildings. Instead of seeing the building, you start to see it as a series of shapes, lines and patterns – it becomes almost abstracted. You can start to put different shapes together to create much more interesting photos.

Top tips

My top tips from today’s course are:

  • Use manual – don’t be scared of it, it’s easier than you might think and much more satisfying to use
  • Put different lines together, maybe from different buildings or structures
  • Look for shapes and patterns in the world around you to create great photos
  • Reflections can be an unusual way of capturing a building
  • Look from different angles – adjusting yourself so you’re low to the ground or at a slight angle can make all the difference to a shot
  • Try to tell the story of a building, like what it’s made of, or when and where it was built – give the viewer clues to its whereabouts by what you capture around it.

Want to improve your skills?

Big thanks to Paul Wolfgang Webster – I took all of these today during his architecture photography course, and they’re a huge improvement in my work (so much so, I’ve written my first blog in a while!). Usually after a day of shooting I don’t have this many shots I’m proud to share, so hopefully this is a new beginning for my architecture shots. This is the second course of his I’ve been on, and I’d definitely recommend them – you can get them through Amazon Local deals at the moment and they’re well worth the money!

 

For more of my pictures of Manchester, have a look here.

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