Dynamiek in architectuurfotografie

Onlangs schreef ik een artikel over de elementen die een foto in architectuurfografie tot leven brengen, die dynamiek toevoegen (dat is te lezen in Dynamiek in Architectuurfotografie). Op deze website houd ik daarom bij de engelse vertaling van mijn tekst.

Light, light, light. And shadow.

Light is always crucial in a photo, and then of course the use of light is the main way to bring dynamics in a photograph. An architectural photographer is highly dependent on the available light. There is much to correct in post-processing, but sometimes you are just at the right time to capture the subject at its best (and yes, you can do some planning to make that happen). Take for example the image below, where the few rays of sunshine in a week of pouring rain brings the picture to life; this is a commercial building, newly designed for Jacobs Electrical Group in Breda by Oomen Architects.

Bedrijfsgebouw van Jacobs Elektro Groep in Breda, ontworpen door Oomen Architecten | Company building in Breda

Natural elements of movement

Architecture shapes our life. Most of the time, we work, live and recreate in by architects designed spaces. We can bring dynamics in an image by capturing the relationship of man and architecture. When doing so, the focus should be at the architecture (as the person would be central, the genre is shifting from architectural photography to street photography).

An example of natural movement in architectural photographs are light traces of traffic, establishing the building as a part of the built environment (see the image of the Grand Central Terminal in New York). Another example: pedestrian flows in large buildings such as stations, but also trains in motion (see pictures of the opening of Arnhem Central Station).


Clear structures offer a viewer support, and can him / her to seduce dive deeper into the picture. That is also a form of dynamics. In one way or another, I'm crazy about symmetry. This probably is determined by the training of the left part of my brain during my earlier career (- :); see the switch that I have made. Symmetry first and foremost brings a sense of calm and stability. But it can also bring dynamics and strength in an image by using light and by the presence of elements that make it almost a bit off balance. An example is photograph 5 of the Dutch Tropenmuseum, recently renovated, where the Light Hall is the pivotal place of the museum.

Lichthal van Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam | main hall of Tropenmuseum in The Netherlands

Surprising points of view

The traditional architectural photographer will keep the lines straight. In the classical conception of architectural photography, it is about a realistic and beautiful capturing of the subject as possible. Large buildings, however, also lend themselves for surprising perspectives, e.g. when using a wide angle lens pointing up very close to a building. An example is the Duomo in Florence, where use is made of long shutter speeds to bring the sky to abstraction. The latter brings an important dynamic element in the image without demanding too much attention.

Dom in Florence | Duomo in Firenze, Italy

Capturing changes over time

Dynamics is a word for movement, but also more generally, for a change in the time. So what is in architectural photography a more grateful subject than renovated buildings? Redevelopment of buildings contributes to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Sometimes it goes so far that important buildings are saved from demolition by finding a new destination. The buildings breath history, it's wonderful to be able to capture them. An example is Bookstore Dominicans in Maastricht, located in a more than 700 year old church and often seen as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht | Dominicanen Bookstore in Maastricht, Netherlands

Foto's beschikbaar bij Hollandse Hoogte en Offset

De foto’s die getoond worden in dit blog, en nog enkele meer, zijn beschikbaar via Hollandse Hoogte en Offset.

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