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Composition in Architectural Photography

In Architectural photography there are three major elements that is to be considered while composing a frame, they are;

  1. Structure
  2. Line Dynamics and 
  3. Perspective

In this article we will discuss the first of the three elements that is structure; and how to apply the principles in practice.

What is Structure ?

In Architectural Photography Composition, structure refers to the organizing of different elements in a frame to create the desired effect. There are two different approach to  structure, they are symmetry and the rule of thirds.

Symmetry in Architectural Photography Composition

A composition is said to be symmetrical when both sides of the image  can be divided in two equal parts (either horizontally or vertically). Either of the parts will be a mirror image of the other one.

symmetry in architectural photography composition
symmetry in architectural photography composition

Symmetry is without doubt the simplest form of compositional structure and composing an image based on symmetry helps create a sense of unanimity and harmony. But not all subjects benefit from a symmetrical composition. As a general rule symmetrical composition should only be used for exceptional structures that truly demand such treatment and should be executed in a technically perfect manner.

If not done right, or applied to the wrong subject, symmetrical compositions tend to appear dull and unimaginative. One way to add interest to a dull symmetrical composition is to purposefully add a touch of asymmetry.

The Rule of Thirds in Architectural Photography Composition

In symmetry we discussed dividing the frame into two equal parts, now let us consider a more interesting approach to composition that universally appeals to our sense of beauty.

Rule of Thirds

Rule of thirds states that an image appears to be more pleasing to the human eye when the subjects or regions within the frame are composed along imaginary lines which divide the frame into vertical and horizontal thirds.

rule of thirds in architectural photography composition
rule of thirds in architectural photography composition

Rule of thirds applies not only to architectural work but also to all branches of photography. Even though it is called the rule of thirds it should be considered more or less like a guideline. Often deviating from strict adherence to the rule creates much more interesting compositions and puts the photographer's individual stamp on the image.

However to understand and successfully manipulate the concept to create captivating images one should first be knowledgeable about the principle.

In the next article we will discuss Architectural photography compositions based on Line Dynamics.

Related Reading

  1. Tripods for Architectural Photography
  2. Architectural Photography Tips - Necessary extras
  3. Perspective Control A.K.A Tilt Shift Lenses
  4. Understanding Camera Movements - Scheimpflug Adjustments
  5. Using Camera Movements in Architecture Photography - Shift Movements

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