Architectural Photo Tip from Russ McConnell
Probably the first thing that anyone photographing an exterior or interior of a building can do to improve their photograph is to add some type of foreground element. Most amateur’s architectural photos have nothing in the foreground to create depth. A foreground element can act to create leading lines that attract the viewers attention. For an exterior shot I first suggest looking to see if there is an item in the foreground such as an existing tree, shrub, or perhaps some type of landscaping or sidewalk that can be used to lead the viewer.
This shot was done for the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and is used extensively in their advertising as a signature shot. I struggled to find a foreground element until I backed up across the bridge and was able to use the bridge itself to lead the viewers into the scene. This was a great solution to creating depth considering the bridge literally leads patrons of the spa to it’s doors.
For an interior the foreground element can vary but is often a piece of furniture or even a houseplant. Even a person/people in the foreground can work if none of these items are available, or I’ve been known to even hold the small branch of a tree or shrub (or houseplant for an interior) in the foreground with one hand while taking the picture with the other. In this interior photograph created to advertise El Capitan Canyon, a resort boasting well appointed individual cabins, the breakfast elements were added to create depth and add some much needed color.
In all cases the photographer must be careful to only add elements that feel logically like they could be there. Done correctly you will be amazed at what a difference this can make in not only your building pictures but in most all of your photography!