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Photography 101: Architecture

Study architectural forms, and also train your eye to look for shots that will translate well in black and white.

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From geometric patterns on skyscrapers to the ironwork on historical buildings, there are many opportunities to capture the beauty and complexity of architecture.

Consider this intricate, organic “doorway” of La Pedrera, a famous building by architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain:

photo-101-architecture-color

Perhaps there’s a grand spiral stairwell at your favorite museum. A stunning Art Deco movie theater in your town. Or a futuristic micro-house on your block. How will you interpret this theme?

When we talk about monochrome in photography, we’re referring to images developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one color.

Tip: As we explored yesterday, color is a powerful element in photography. But let’s not forget black and white, or monochrome, which can be very dramatic! Black, white, gray, and shades in between interact in the frame in dynamic ways.

Train your eye to look for architectural elements that translate in black and white: sharp lines and patterns, defined shapes, large surface areas, and a mix of very light and very dark colors. Compare the color and monochrome versions of today’s shot:

The lines, shapes, and surfaces within the frame come alive in both versions in different ways.

Going monochrome: Many devices let you switch to black and white shooting mode, right in the camera, if you prefer. Or, shoot in color and convert your images to black and white (or grayscale) after in Photoshop or a free image editor like PicMonkey, GIMP, or Pixlr.

Note: Comments on Photo 101 posts are closed — please use the Commons to share your new posts, discuss today’s theme and tip, and chat with fellow participants. If you choose not to use the Commons, just be sure to tag your post with photo101 so others can find your submission in the Reader. 

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