• Tolulope Sanusi

5 Must-Have Items for Architecture Photography: Amazon Edition

Architectural photography is both an art and an exacting craft. Unlike most genres of photography, in which level horizon lines and correction for keystone and parallax distortions are secondary issues, architectural photography requires a disciplined workflow and a keen sense of design.

The following five items are the tools I use and find extremely valuable for photographing the exteriors and interiors of homes and commercial buildings and a link to the item on Amazon. This list is by no means complete, but it does cover a range of essentials.

1. Wide-angle lenses

Architectural photography inevitably involves working in tight spaces, which require the use of Wide-angle lenses. The best lenses to invest in for architecture are tilt-shift and perspective control lenses, but those are very expensive alternatively Brand and 3rd Party Lens like the one i use currently, Tokina 11-16mm DX II Rectilinear Lens (For Crop Sensor Cameras) with minimal lens distortion is your best bet.

AMAZON Link - Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 Wide Angle Lens

Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 Wide Angle Lens
Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 Wide Angle Lens

A wide selection of Wide Angle lenses are available from Brand names like Nikon, Canon, Sony in a number of mounts and focal lengths. And, for shooters on a budget, Tokina Samyang, Sigma, Tamron and Rokinon manufacture lenses with mounts for Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Sony E-mount cameras.

Lastly, it’s also worth noting that when shopping for a new lens it's advisable to shop using your exact camera specs as most lens have variations for different cameras under the same brand.

2. Polarizing filters

Polarizing filters should be included in your architectural toolbox especially for exterior shoots. Polarizing filters eliminate glare and reflections on windows, metal surfaces and smooth, polished surfaces. In the process of eliminating glare, Polarizing filters often saturate color values too.

AMAZON Link - HOYA Circular Polarizer

HOYA Circular Polarizing Filter
HOYA Circular Polarizing Filter

Simply put, a Polarizer is a filter that affects the way that light is transmitted to your camera’s sensor. It does the following;

  • Darkening and adding contrast to skies

  • Removing glare and enhancing colors.

3. Cable releases and remote triggering systems

Long exposures and remote camera positions aren’t unusual when photographing interiors and exteriors of buildings. In the case of long exposure times, it’s always a good idea to trigger the camera shutter remotely to minimize camera shake.

If your camera has an inbuilt timer function its the cheapest option to achieve a shake-free shot. Alternatively threaded shutter-release button, the simplest and least expensive options are threaded cable releases, which are available in a range of lengths.

AMAZON Link - Timer Shutter Release

Timer Remote Shutter Release
Timer Remote Shutter Release

4. Pan/tilt and geared ball heads for precision multi-axis camera positioning

Just as geared center columns enable subtle adjustments to the camera height, geared ball and tripod heads make it possible to level your camera with equal measures of accuracy. The downside of using ball heads with single-action locking mechanisms is that the moment you release the lock mechanism the camera goes completely off-axis.

AMAZON Link - Bonfoto Travel Tripod

Tripod with ball head.

Pan/tilt (video) heads allow you to adjust the pitch and yaw of the camera position independently, as do geared ball heads, which enable far more adjustment control compared to single-action and ball and tripod heads.

5. Table tripod and compact camera supports for shooting on stairs, nooks, crannies, and ground-level

Sometimes, the best camera angle is lower than the reach of your tripod or situated on a narrow step, ledge, or outcropping. These are times you want to have a sturdy tabletop tripod, which is available in a choice of form factors. In addition to traditional three-legged tripods, compact camera supports can be plate-like for ground-level shooting or clamp-like for mounting cameras on poles, rails, banisters, and other unorthodox camera positions.

AMAZON Link - Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod

Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Red
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod

So there you have it:

Five(5) essential imaging tools that can dramatically improve the quality and visual accuracy of your interior and exterior architectural photographs.

Do you have an item that you can't do without on a shoot? Share it below in the comments.