Architecture photo techniques book. Which one? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

As an avid landscape photographer, and one who has little experience with flash photography, what would be a good starter book for shooting architecture?

Thanks in advance.

-- Andy Biggs (, December 03, 2001


By far the best I have found is Norman McGrath's "Photographing Buildings Inside and Out," ISBN 0-8230-4016-X. I bought 3 or 4 different books when I first started doing architectural stuff, and this one has by far been the most helpful.

-- David Munson (, December 03, 2001.

I took and can recommend Norman McGrath's workshop, which is offered through the Calumet Instutute in Salisbury, Meriland during June. He also offers one through the Maine Photographic Workshops during August. He pretty much starts at the beginning, shows equipment, goes on site, and offers topics after dinner. He covers flash, large places, small places, outside, inside, etc. He's an excellent teacher who's able to get around to all of his students.

One opportunity, he tends to wait until the given day to decide on and locate that day's on-site location. Still, we didn't lack for good architecture to photograph in the Salisbury area. All in all, it was an excellent experience.

-- neil poulsen (, December 03, 2001.

Andy, this question appears from time to time, and the above- mentioned McGrath book seems to get the most votes each time.

-- Michael Mahoney (, December 03, 2001.

There are a couple of older View Camera issues that focused on architectural photography. They are a good supplement to the McGrath book. Also, the book by Gerry Kopelow is quite good.

-- David Rose (, December 03, 2001.

Dear Andy

I have, enjoy and found benefit from Sinar's Creative Large Format- Architectural Photography book. In fact, I was going back and reading sections only this weekend. Obviously, there is bias for the use of Sinar, but not exclusively. Some of the contributed images were shot with other camera brands.

Thanks to the other people who responded. I will look for this other book to add to my library as well. Good suggestion.



-- John Bailey (, December 03, 2001.

Andy- There are a couple of older books that might be helpful: Architectural Photography, John Veltri/Amphoto and one that I found helpful many years ago: Photographing Architecture and Interiors/Julius Shulman/Whitney Library of Design. Somewhere I recall hearing that the latter has been updated. Also, go to a library and look at what is being done in the architectural magazines such as Architectural Record (assuming they are still publishing). Hope this helps. By the way, a 90mm is an excellent choice for 4x5. Regards, Merg

-- Merg Ross (, December 03, 2001.

Dear Andy

Have you seen the book "Building Images: Seventy Years of Photography at Hedrich Blessing"? They are a leading Chicago based photographic firm which specializes in architectural photography. Wonderful images and terrific ideas, but it does not give much in specific information. However, it should go on your bookself!


John Bailey

-- John Bailey (, December 03, 2001.

A year ago I decided to enlarge my repertoire of large format techniques (and clients!), by seriously studying and practicing architectural photography, and so I went about purchasing every available volume on contemporary architectural photography. Norman McGrath's _Photographing Buildings Inside and Out_ is certainly the most comprehensive, and the volume best illustrated with examples. I would also, however, recommend the two Michael Harris books, _Professional Interior Photography_, and _Professional Architectural Photography_ (this second volume deals largely with building exteriors). Harris' book on interior photography is the only one I've found that gives completely documented examples of balancing multiple light sources: how to measure ambient light from windows, how to measure flash fill, how to set up the ratios of the two sources and control them precisely, suggested bracketing patterns. There are also some good examples of specific situations in the book _Interior Shots: A Guide to Professional Lighting Techniques_ by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz.

-- Christopher Campbell (, December 03, 2001.

I second John's suggestion for the Hedrich Blessing book. You're not going to gain much of anything technical from it, but I have yet to see any body of architectural work that is so artfully done, or much that comes close. I've got my copy right here in front of me, and it really does show you exactly wat *can* be done with architectural photography.

-- David Munson (, December 03, 2001.

Whether McGrath's book will be useful to you or not depends on what kind of architectural photography you want to do. I bought a copy; his book is mostly about taking color photos of newer buildings using lots of artificial light if necessary. I sold the book because I am interested in taking pictures of historic buildings in B&W using available light.

I do not know who McGrath's clients are, but would gues that they include architests and colored-glossy magazines.

Good luck.

-- E. Grim (, December 03, 2001.

OK- one more suggestion. The absolute master of professional architectural photography is Ezra Stoller. His book "Modern Architecture" is a beautiful collection of his best work with insights into his process. It's not focused on nuts and bolts- but it is an inspiration.

-- David Rose (, December 04, 2001.

For learning about lightening, I read and found Light-Science & Magic : An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Paul Fugua, et al. 2nd ed. to be excellent. Focal Press; ISBN: 0240802756. Amazon has sample pages too. Cheers.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, December 06, 2001.

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