The subject of architectural photography

What is the subject of architectural photography? How are architectural photographs done?

There isn’t anything else in architectural photography but architecture: architecture is the central subject that dominates the composition of the photograph and to which any other element in the frame is subordinated.

As we stated earlier, architectural photographs are purposely created as means of interpreting and communicating an architecture project to the general public in order to attract the viewers’ attention and to inform and influence them by how this architecture is represented.

What happens then when an element that is not relevant to the architecture project -an element visible in the frame that may be anecdotic and that does not contribute in any way to the successful interpretation of the project- is easily noticeable in a photograph? It happens that just this single distracting element completely prevents the viewer from seeing anything else in the image but the nuisance, absolutely ruining any photographs’ communicative intent from its very beginning. 

These distracting elements can be sometimes huge construction works, singular cars and motorbikes parked in front of the picture main subject, christmas decorations or colorful banners with “Sales” or “Bargains” text messages written in large capital letters and, many times also, people waving or looking directly at the camera.



Whatever distracting element on a specific point of view that is not contributing to add an important sense to the interpretation of the architecture project is actually subtracting it and obscuring the real essence of the project and has therefore to be removed from the frame, whether physically taken away from the location or deleted later on the computer during the photograph editing process. 

Remember that it is from a careful selection of different points of view and a premeditated way of representing it that the interpretation of the architecture project is generated and the subtle but decisive communicative goals any architectural photographs intend can be achieved: these specific points of view that best portray the project arise, at the same time,  from a fluid dialogue between the architect and the photographer and from a deep understanding of the project.

Architectural photographs are always created first from a dialogue between an architect and a photographer and are read and interpreted from another one between the photographer and the viewer.

Any annoying element in a photograph prevents any communication between all of these interlocutors and makes it completely impossible.

David Cardelús