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Architecture photography is responsible for portraying and showing built spaces.That is, to capture the different buildings created by men. We can talk about urban photography, being the protagonists a group of buildings, a single building, the interior of a house, or the relation of a specific environment with its furniture.


Interior design images are also included in that category of architectural photography. Lighting plays a primary role in photography, but it is even more important in architectural photography.

What is architecture photography

It is the photograph that is responsible for registering the space between walls, or the walls themselves, in a building or set of buildings. It is responsible for relating the building to the space where it is located, as well as giving it context.


This photography branch has always been necessary to document man-made projects. From the first field cameras to current photography, much faster and advantageous in that regard.

History of Architectural Photography

The first architectural photographs known were those taken by Louis Daguerre from Boulevard du Temple, in 1838 in Paris.

Technique in architectural photography

In most cases natural lighting is used. This is evident when we talk about portraying a building exterior, but interior photography is also the most common.


In the past, the exposure periods were very long. Unlike the photography of people, this caused fewer problems in architecture photography, since the building or construction is a static element and the photographs were perfectly focused.


In the beginning of architectural photography, large format cameras were used, where the image looked inverted and the photographer had to cover himself with a dark cloth to see the image on the glass. In this way the image was focused and then put the film.


To correct the perspective and get buildings images where the lines were straight, the optical plane could be moved and tilted. In this way, the buildings exteriors could be taken completely vertically.

Architectural photography today

Both then and now, photography serves to compose the portfolio of architects; In addition to being a specialty in itself for many photographers.


Architectural photography can be done professionally or amateur. As for the most important professional photographers, the images are usually collected in the author's books, but they can also be part of the architects portfolio indivudually or accompany articles on architecture.

We may tend to think that architectural photography is usually mostly black and white. This is usually common because in monochrome, textures, lines, lights and shadows tend to stand out more and in many cases it is what is most interesting in a building.


But avant-garde and contemporary architecture introduces elements of color, not only indoors, but also in the exteriors of buildings, and in many occasions color photography is necessary.

Photography in architecture is not only interesting and is an important part of the development of the profession, it is also used to push tourism. Photographs of buildings of all time have been printed on postcards, part of books of the study of art or compilations about countries and cities.


Architectural photography can be classified according to the main characteristics of the image. We can talk about urban photography, when it comes to a photograph that shows above all the conjunction of buildings within the city space.


Architecture photography can also be more technical if it is meant to be more informative, or it can be artistic. Artistic photography, in any of its variants, allows a lot of freedom for the photographer. In the case of artistic architecture photography, the conjunction of the spaces can be more diffuse, since reflections in glass and impossible compositions with different lines of leakage can make the building not clearly perceived, but the photography can be very attractive and esthetic.

Relevant architecture photographers

Like any other photography branch, architecture also has its most relevant artists.


  • Dennis Gilbert is among the best in the world with his work in different countries. His works are mostly in color, of urban and interior spaces
  • Iwan Baan is a very relevant photographer whose fame came after his series of photographs about the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Cameron R. Neilson is a very famous New York photographer, whose work consists mostly of black and white photographs of skyscrapers and the urban landscape of New York.
  • Lucía Gorostegui is a Spanish photographer who works both in urban planning and interior design. His way of working is technical and reflects the work of the architect with total clarity.

Master in Collective Housing UPM/ETH

The Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing is a professional and international postgraduate programme that is developed on a full-time basis, dealing with advanced architectural design in the city and housing. It is designed and taught jointly by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).


All vacancies for MCH2020 have been booked. The admission period for MCH2021 opens in February 2020, and it will remain so till 31.12.2020 or until vacancies are filled. The MCH2021 will have two groups, so first participants inscribed will have priority to choose their favourite workshop leaders.


For more information, click here!

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