In my last post, I went through five tips for architecture photography and as an aid to that I have decided to produce a post to accompany that with the architecture photography equipment I use. So hopefully this list of my top five pieces of equipment for architecture photography will give you an idea of which kit I find most beneficial when on an architectural photography job.

My top five pieces of equipment for architecture photography

Tripod

Good houses are made with strong foundations and it’s important to get the best tripod you can afford to avoid having to handhold shots. Most of the time you’re going to be shooting at a narrow aperture, so having the ability to set the camera on a tripod is invaluable.

I would also recommend trying out a panoramic tripod head with a bubble level on your camera, allowing you to keep the camera level on its rotary axis. This will allow you to create some amazing panoramic images by stitching multiple photographs together which could otherwise get a little tricky to do with a conventional tripod head.

Tilt-Shift Lens

I had this item on my interior photography equipment list and it’s just as important here.

In basic terms a tilt-shift lens allows you to correct the vertical and horizontal perspective of your shot and avoid your buildings looking like they are falling over without using any post-processing techniques. This allows you to capture more of the original image by not having to use something like perspective shift or cornerstone correction.

Depending on your budget, pairing your tilt-shift lens with a 1.4 converter is a great way to effectively get two lenses for very little extra outlay and converts your 17mm into a 24mm, your 24mm into a 35mm and so on. There may be a very small loss in image quality by doing it this way but unless your images are going to be studied at 200% it will be negligible for the difference in price between the two options.

It is worth noting that you will be working with manual focus if you’re using a tilt-shift lens. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue and can actually be a blessing as it makes you take your time a little more, observing the scene, but if you’re used to working with autofocus lenses and this is an issue then going with a more conventional wide-angle lens and fixing any issues you have in post may be the easier option for you.

Mobile Phone

My third choice for my architecture photography list is something which I’m guessing you will be carrying around with you 99% of the time anyway so doesn’t come at an extra cost, which helps you save up for that tilt-shift lens!

I use my mobile phone all the time on architecture photography shoots to check simple things like the sun position at certain times of the day. Knowing where the sun is going to be before a shoot and seeing how it interacts with the building throughout the day is vital to separating your work from the average architecture photographer.

It’s also a great way to grab some quick test shots if you visit the site beforehand or if you spot something while walking around the building which you want to return to later.

Full frame camera

While having a camera seems like a pretty obvious piece of kit for any photographer, there currently seems to be a shift towards smaller cropped sensors as the technology develops to produce cameras which fit in the palm of your hand.

Architecture photography, for the most part, requires you to capture wide images and for that, you’re going to need the largest sensor that you can afford to capture as much of the scene as possible. I currently shoot on the Canon 1d but there are many cheaper cameras out there which offer full frame capabilities and also some such as the Canon 5DSR and the Sony A7R which can give you a huge amount of megapixels for half the price of the 1D.

One big tip I have learnt from experience is always carry a backup camera. You never know when something is going to go wrong and if you’re hundreds of miles from home and you get an error code then you’re on your own. Your backup camera doesn’t have to be to the same standard as your main camera, I use a Canon 80D but it allows you to get out of a tight corner if the situation arises. If my main camera fails on just one job and the 80D saves me then it has already paid for itself (The reason I choose a cropped sensor for my spare camera will become apparent in the next point).

Long lens

I’m going for an unexpected item for my final choice in my equipment for architecture list but I love getting in close to a building and trying to create an abstract piece of art using a segment of the building which may otherwise be missed.

I find having a 70-200mm lens in my bag is invaluable for achieving some amazing detail shots of buildings, it has the added benefit if used on a cropped sensor body of becoming a ~110-320mm lens which lets you reach those further away areas without having to crop into your full frame sensor.

I hope these five pieces of equipment for architecture photography have been helpful in showing you a little of what I use and how it’s used. As ever, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me and please share this post if you found it useful using the social buttons below.

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