An introduction to shooting buildings (and their insides).

Architectural and interior photography…
Now that is my kind of photography. Especially when it comes to fresh modern designs.

Franz Rabe - Natural Photography - Architectural Photography


I think the interest in architecture started with looking for a new duplex house (was the absolute rage in South African housing in the 80’s!) with my dad.
I remember being genuinely excited, curiosity at peak level, on entering and exploring each new one. Even the house plans intrigued me.

And decks, I always had this thing for decks – I remember in my earlier working years, buying these Sunset books on designing your own deck.
Give me a view, a deck and while you’re at it, a frosty draught (the beer, not the house plans in this case) and you have one content chappie.

Franz Rabe - Natural Photography - Architectural Photography


Initially architectural photography and I were NOT 1.
Getting the opportunity to photograph a guest house, I would really look forward to it… Expecting to see, as in my mind’s eye, quite spectacular pictorial results.
But alas, the ensuing images would just not creatively connect with me, at all.
This was the case for a few house shoots and I introspectively decided to move architectural photography, to the lower drawer of my photographic capabilities.

The years rolled on and the opportunity of photographing real estate housing realised (pun slightly intended).
This time round I decided to prepare for the battle:

  • I had more experience with off-camera flash and triggers by now – hopefully this would enable me to handle most lighting challenges in the various houses.
  • I worked through hours of YouTube videos on the topic – which helped to especially streamline my Lightroom workflow, as well as learning a few new editing techniques. The ‘upright perspective’-function in Lightroom was an especially useful ally – no need for an extra expensive tilt-shift lens.
  • Photomatix Pro 5 was also released with added ‘interior-fusion’-HDR (High Dynamic Range) functionality. Definitely the best release by far – really sharp and minimum noise outcome.

So, being better prepared than with the previous excursions, I tackled the first house: slightly optimistic, yet careful not to expect too dazzling results – one of the golden teachings of a sane photographic career.
This time round I was lightly thrilled with the results, not quite coffee-book material, but a definite improvement was evident. A combination of flash bounce and bracketing provided that crisp bright sharpness, which made the interior photos shine that much more.

Franz Rabe - Natural Photography - Architectural Photography


Although the main subject is not prone to mood swings or off days, the human element does come in to play with architectural and especially real estate photography: on arrival, houses aren’t always as neat as needed to make for ‘come & buy me!’-photos.
And children and pets normally find the photographer rather amusing.

Also, as with most forms of photography, there is also that band of special light, that comes and goes rapidly – the bigger the property the more swiftly it disappears normally (the Rabe Rule of Architectural Photography…).

As architectural designs fortunately vary decidedly, you often find yourself with new lighting and composition challenges, which is exactly why I find this field of photography so satisfying – it truly is a beautiful blend of science and art.

The journey of architectural photography is an alluring one. And definitely dazzling.

Franz Rabe - Natural Photography - Architectural Photography

2 thoughts on “An introduction to shooting buildings (and their insides).

    1. Thanks a mil, Michael.

      The Rabe Rule has been playing a WAY too prominent role this winter – ran around like an off-the-rocker photographer trying to salvage the last few exterior shots !

Leave a Reply