10 Tips for Adding Human Elements to Architecture Photography

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Pictures of People and Architecture

This might seem obvious, but including people in your frame is a great way to add the human element. Pictures of people provide a sense of scale and context to a scene, and help viewers relate to the architecture. Look for repeated patterns and lines in both the person and the architecture.

Keep It Candid

With the focus on architecture, I try to avoid a person having direct eye contact with the camera. Capturing passers-by is the best way to include people acting candid and natural, and their inclusion is directly relevant to the architecture and the story.

Depending on what I’m using the photograph for, I may work from a viewpoint where I can’t see faces clearly, to circumvent any privacy/permission issues.

Use the Movement

Borrowing a cool street photography trick, use a tripod and shutter release cable and slow your shutter speed right down so that you capture the blur of people moving against the stillness of the architecture.

It’s one of those techniques that looks more complicated than it is. Because of the slow shutter speed letting more light into the camera, it’s best to do this in lower light levels (an overcast day or during the golden hours is ideal). Working with this technique at night also provides an awesome effect with movement of vehicle lights against buildings.

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