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Tips for Photographing the Progress of a Building from Construction Through to Completion

It is not uncommon for builders, developers and designers to document the developmental progress of a building from construction through completion. Such a job requires an architectural photographer to visit the construction site during various stages of progress and put together the pictures to properly convey how the building evolved or how it was transformed to its current state.

Tips for Photographing the Progress of a Building from Construction Through to Completion
Photo by: Jakob Montrasio

Although the general principles governing photographing construction sites are very much the same as those for completed structures, there are some additional factors that need to be paid attention to. We will discuss about those in this article.

First and foremost there are two types of shots that you will be required to make, one is a wide angle view showing the entire site, so that people will get an idea about the project as a whole. Then comes detail shots of specific portions of the building, these detail shots will be more or less abstract shots.

tips for photographing construction sites
Photo by: the Apocalypse according to

For both types of shots the important thing to remember is to take the pictures from the exact same spot, using the exact same focal length and composition every time. To make this happen you can either remember the tripod position (if need be you could mark the exact position of the tripod legs on the site floor using paint or any other material), height of the tripod (whether the legs were fully extended and whether or not the center column was used etc) if you are using a tilt shift lens it is good to remember the amount of shift if any was employed for the shots. One very helpful thing will be to bring pictures from your earlier shoot on location (save it on your smart phone or I pad) this will help you compose your frame exactly the same way as before.

For the wide angle whole view shot one should carefully select a good vantage point to shoot from. If there are site huts on location, the roof of one of the huts could be a good choice as these structures are not demolished until the completion of the construction and they will provide an undisturbed, semi aerial view of the whole site.

how to photograph buildings in construction
Photo by: the Apocalypse according to

If there is one sure fire tip to make your construction pictures more interesting it is to include people in your shots, shoot your scene with some action taking place in the foreground; such animated scenes always attract the attention of the viewers.

Construction sites are dangerous grounds for both you and your camera, always remember to wear protective gear wherever required (helmets, boots, reflective jackets, gloves etc.) Also make sure your equipment is well protected against dust and other elements; and whenever you are not shooting (long breaks between shots) keep your gear (especially camera) packed up.

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