Architecture / Architectural Photography

Specialising in capturing compelling imagery of the built environment, we work with a variety of clients some of which include Architects, Estate Agents, Interior Designers, Engineers and Property Developers. We like to capture imagery which connects in some way with the audience and depicts an accurate representation of the structure. Our services regarding architecture and architectural photography cater for built up areas such as London as well as the rest of the UK.

enquire about architectural photography

Our Photography

Our photographs are typically used for marketing purposes but we have also been commissioned by property owners to document their new or recently refurbished building. Our photographs have been used for public events, town planning meetings and visually verified views etc.
We offer our clients a high-quality responsive service and attempt to turn around each photographic project within 10 working days.

Clients Include:

Our Photography Process

  • Speak to our client about their requirement, understand their goals and business aspirations.
  • Find out what the application (end use) of the photographs is. This is essential to determine what resolution will be supplied and if aspect ratio is important during compositional framing.
  • Offer the client some guidance on suggested vistas and best time of day for light / sun path.
  • Check the weather forecast and advise on the most suitable day for the shoot.
  • Choose the correct kit to do the job and pack some backup kit.
  • Closer to the date we check the weather forecast again and shuffle around dates if weather conditions are an essential part of the project.
  • On the shoot it is usually not essential for our clients to be present however we welcome as little or as much input as our clients like to have.
  • Sometimes on the ground conditions can be different to what was expected. Unforeseen problems such as road works etc can inhibit a good shot. In many instances we can remove unwanted items in post however on occasion this cannot be avoided. If there are any unavoidable problems on-site we contact our clients to advise accordingly.
  • We try to capture as much of the structure as we can even if many of the shots we take fall outside the clients brief. It is better to have more photographs to choose from once back in the studio.
  • We usually select the best of the bunch and do some minor post-work enhancements on those before sending to the client for approval.
  • Upon approval we go into much more in-depth photo-enhancements and refine each photograph to ensure the final product is the very best that can be achieved.
  • Once all post-works are complete we then transfer the high resolution images via Dropbox.

Specialised Equipment

We have built up the correct equipment over the years which ensures we get great photographs regardless of available light or weather conditions etc. One of the most important items that most good architectural photographers carry is the tilt shift lens. This lens revolutionised the way architecture is captured and gives the photographer the ability to capture tall structures whilst maintaining straight vertical lines in the image.

A rule of thumb when shooting architecture is to ensure the vertical lines of the building run parallel to the edge of the frame. This gives the most pleasing results however we believe once a structure exceeds around 20 stories in height it is sometimes better to show perspective and allow the vertical lines to converge. This quite often gives a much more dramatic effect and mitigates problems with the structure appearing top heavy in the frame.

The bulk of our architectural photographs are captured by Paul Doherty. Paul studied architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, then went on to practice as Architectural Technologist for 5 years prior to setting up Urban 3D. Paul’s career experience spans essentially 3 different disciplines which are now interlinked – Architecture, Property Marketing and Photography. It is that merge of disciplines which has developed Paul’s eye for strong composition and the distinct style you see in his photographs.

We’ve used Paul and his team since 2007 and we don’t even look elsewhere now. They know their business and, more importantly, they understand our needs.

Conor Margey, Fermac Properties

Head and shoulders above any of their competitors.

Alan Jones, Development Surveyor, Henry Boot Developments

Highly professional approach, top class CGIs together with creative brochure design. Our clients were very impressed.

Cormac McNabb, Associate Director, Savills

What Makes a Good Architectural Photograph?

We think good photographs have a very distinct, clear subject. The viewer should never be confused as to what the main subject of the image is. If our eye jumps around the frame too much then the likelihood is you have captured an image with multiple subjects and inherently / ironically nothing is the subject if everything is the subject.

A pleasing Architectural photograph will typically have straight vertical lines which run parallel to the edge of the frame.

The image will contain good quality light. This is a subjective topic however we think good light is a very fine cocktail of directional and ambient light. We like the sun to be lower in the sky to add drama to the shadows however we do not want the direct light to be overly strong as the result is a harsh looking image. We find around 2 hours before sunset or 2 hours after sunrise with a partly cloudy sky to be just about right.

One of the first questions many of our clients ask us is on image resolution. The general consensus seems to be the higher the resolution the better the photograph but this is definitely a myth. Whilst image resolution is important it really depends on the end application. We have seen many poor photographs with mega resolutions! Our photographs are typically between 20-30 MP as we think image sensors and lenses which operate around the 50 MP level are not producing as pleasing an image just yet. We assess this every 12 months and when we feel the quality is achieved we upgrade.

There are many technical aspects to making a good photo such as image depth, colour, contrast, depth of field, vignette, composition etc and as expected these all apply to a good architectural photograph.

Digital Cameras are now at a point where almost anyone can take a decent photograph, however composition is, and always will be the one thing the camera manufacturers cannot automate. A good architectural photograph first and foremost has a very strong composition. The structure should be shown in context with neighbouring structures to give it a strong sense of place.

The shot should show people interacting in some way with the structure but the people should be obscured. Techniques such as motion blur can be applied to achieve this. People give the structure a better sense of scale however care should be taken to ensure the people do not dominate the image and become the subject.  People within a photograph can carry a significant compositional weight so it is vital they sit as ancillary to the main subject.

Honesty of shot. We want to add drama and sometimes a wide lens can provide some interesting effects however a good shot shouldn’t venture too far away from how the building appears to the human eye. A 50 mm lens is said to be the closest to the field of view of the human eye. This is a great lens for portraiture but not quite right for architecture. We think somewhere between 20-35 mm is perfect. However, in many instances due to limitations on the ground, such as the ability to stand far enough back from the structure a wider lens may be necessary.

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London, UK +44 (0) 1978 226 343
Derry, N.Ireland +44 (0)2871 279 700

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