Architect and E20 resident Ellen Manterfield shares her top tips on capturing London on your iPhone. Fancy polishing up your camera skills for the ‘gram or some fine printable wall art? Read on.
Some of the most striking images of tall buildings can be captured from ground level, just look up. Taller buildings appear tapered or narrower towards the top of the shot, so use a portrait orientation and don’t worry about capturing the base of the building too much. You can create great symmetrical shots depending on the angle and position you take them from – these will look even better if you’re able to capture an interesting cloud formation or birds/planes flying overhead.
Another great way to capture a building’s exterior is by framing the shot with trees or flowers – perfect for the autumnal months and those changing leaf colours. Positioning the building either to one side or between two landscape features can really focus the eye on the architecture in the centre of the frame.
Use ponds, lakes and even puddles for clever mirror views. My favourite shot of East Village is captured in the reflection of Portland’s pond during magic hour where the golden colours of the buildings face can be seen shimmering in the reflection. Don’t worry if you don’t have clear skies, raindrops add texture and can create a more ‘moody’ shot.
Capturing the outline or silhouette of architecture can really capture that picture postcard angle. The best time for these shots is early morning with dappled light or during sunset which brings a warm glow to the facades and glazing, creating long shadows and a higher contrast to the image.
Experiment with tilt shift filters to blur out backgrounds and focus the shot on a building or public space. This works particularly well from a vantage point. Have you been to Allegra at The Stratford Hotel yet? Not only does the bar serve up fabulous cocktails but its views from the 7th floor over East Village are pretty delicious too… Or if you’re lucky enough to be able to capture the city skyline from your balcony, play with your lens-depth to get different perspectives.
Use details in the foreground – whether it’s a handrail, a paving line or a person walking towards a building – which will create a different perspective and lead the eye to the focus of the shot. Take this one of Montagne de Bueren in Belgium, where the 374 stairs (I counted!) guide the eye toward the river that runs through Liège city centre.
Lastly, capturing micro details or unique elements of buildings can create something a bit different for the ‘gram; an unusual brick pattern, a colourful balcony covering, or Niall McLaughlin’s facade design showing parades of athletes. These shots can be taken straight on or zoomed in for a different take on building photography.