DodhersWhat Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph? by Sharon Tenenbaum

Every person you ask might have a different answer to that question, however, from my experience, there are a few key factors that are imperative to transforming a just good image to a great one.

Every person you ask might have a different answer to that question, however, from my experience, there are a few key factors that are imperative to transforming a just good image to a great one. 

It was and always will be my belief that a great architectural image must adhere to the following 3 features:

  • Composition is King. In architectural photography, you need to see in the language of geometric lines and shapes.  These elements must create a harmonious balance within your frame.  Without this component, not much can be done to salvage an image.
  • Once the shot is made, it is important to ask yourself, what elements in the image are not adding to the story you wish to tell.  In other words, this means Simplifying your scene by eliminating unnecessary details. 
  • Once two factors above are covered, the work on post processing begins.  If you are familiar with my work, are must be aware by now that I am a strong advocate of ‘creating’ an image and not ‘capturing’ one. This means to accentuate and exaggerate the compositional elements discussed in point 1.  To create depth, volume and balance through selective lighting.

Image 1 – BEFORE: cluttered, unprocessed and without a person in the frame. Even though the compositional foundation is present, there is still much work on implementing decluttering and gradient lighting.

When I took this shot, in my mind’s eye, I saw the leading lines of the bridge above (with its connection to the left bridge) and how they both converged to continue together on the other side of the water. I also saw the sci-fi looking structure on the right – all this registered with the beautiful reflection. The rest, the buildings, lamp posts and foliage were not relevant to my vision.  The vision of celebrating line and form.

Image 2 above illustrates what I was seeing in my mind’s eye when I took the shot. The white areas depict the structures I was intrigued by and the red arrows show the leading lines I envisioned using (with gradient lighting) to guide my viewers throughout the image. The dark-shadowed areas are the parts of the image that were not relevant to the story I was telling, so eventually they got eliminated.

Books can be filled on the impact color has on the way we interpret a scene. I am a string believer that colors carry the power of an emotion, when we convert an image to black and white, we strip it of an emotion.  For this image, I felt that the subtle light blue, aided in creating a surrounding of that sci-fi look I was after.

As Architectural Fine Art Photography is my passion it has been the subject of my images for over a decade now.  My path of creating this body of work was a path of self-discovery.  Even though some of my earlier architectural images are stellar and I would not have done anything different with them today, in my newer work, I am embarking on a creative shift.  This shift is taking my architectural images in a different direction, so now, they are not just about celebrating form, but also about human interaction with the architectural environment.

Architectural structures, by their nature, are designed to serve a propose used by people.  By eliminating people out of the composition, the photographer is celebrating the art of geometry and engineering above anything else.  As magnificent as the design might be, by including a human element into the composition, the image takes on a new (and different) lifeform.  The benefits are three-fold:  

First it adds a sense of life and warmth to an otherwise cool scene.  An architectural image in its nature will be comprised of concrete, steel and / or wood.  By including even a single person in the image, we are warming up the scene and crossing the boundaries from the inanimate to the animate.  

Second, it gives a structure a sense of sale and conveys a closer look at the architect’s original intent in design, which is serving people for a specific purpose.  Middle Age Gothic churches were designed to dwarf the scale of a human in comparison to the House of God they were entering.  A church was designed to be of enormous scale to give the parishioners an ‘other worldly’ experience.  If you walked into a Middle Age church and did not get that feeling then the architect did not do his job right. This was done with the intension of making one feel small in the presence of the Almighty God. 

Needless to say, two images of a church, where one depicts the sense of scale by including a human reference would convey that concept whereas the image without would not.

Lastly, by adding a single person, we are giving the viewer’s eye a resting point.  The psychologically reason for this I can’t say, however, it is a fact.  We tend to first spot the person in the image and use the rest as a background.  That makes the image more intriguing on a few levels, first, as the photographer / artist, you now have the power to direct the order and attention your viewers are looking at your work, you are saying to them: start here.  Second, it helps to simplify a scene that otherwise can be too busy with lines and shapes (as in the image below).  Third, and maybe most important, is that it adds asymmetry or shifts the ‘center of gravity’ of an image to create a more intriguing composition.

Image 3: AFTER: ‘Cleaning’ the image of unnecessary detail and implementing gradient lighting.

My greatest passion in the field of Architectural Photography is the subject matter of Bridges.  I always found them to be the greatest engineering marvels, and every once in a while, they are actually beautifully designed as well!  My Bridges Portfolio is a lifelong project, evolving in complexity in conjunction with me.

I use the same guidelines I discussed earlier when implementing my bridge images as there as well, a celebration of lines and form.  I was recently in Portland OR, a wonderland for bridge lovers as the city is parted by the Columbia river with a series of bridges connecting one side to the other. From modern sleek to old iron trestle bridges, Portland has them all!

I chose to accentuate the modern clean lines by juxtaposing them with the iron trestle bridge below.  The cropped composition was just enough to create an abstract feel without losing context.

Tilikum Crossing, Portland OR © Sharon Tenenbaum

One way to eliminate unnecessarily details in the image, such as distinct cloud formations or water ripples is to shoot a Long Exposure image.  The long exposure technique works as two-fold.  First as I mentioned, it eliminates irrelevant details that don’t add to the story you are telling. Second, a long exposure image creates a ‘soft’ feel to an image, it smoothens out details.  This smoothness, counters the strong and stable impression we have from a bridge.  A stable structure promising safe passage between two seemingly unpassable locations.

Notice in the image below how ripples were eliminated (due to a long exposure capture).  Even-though this was a long exposure image, the clouds retained details as they weren’t moving all that much.  This eventually added to the drama and impression of strength it gave the bridge, standing strong and withstanding the elements.  As described above, the soft long exposure water created a nice juxtaposition to the strong bridge and impending sky.

Fremont Bridge Portland © Sharon Tenenbaum

Sharon Tenenbaum teaches Fine Art Architectural Photography Workshops around the world.  Her 2018 workshop itinerary includes Portland Bridges Workshop and NY Urban Fine Art Architecture.

To learn more about Sharon’s work and details about her upcoming workshops, please visit: SharonTenenbaum.com

Sharon Tenenbaum

Sharon Tenenbaum

Sharon Tenenbaum is a multiple international award winning fine art photographer. Sharon was educated as a Civil Engineer and practiced as a Professional Engineer in Vancouver Canada. In late 2007, she made a decision to part from engineering in order to pursue her passion for photography. Sharon’s creative voice has a distinctive style in which she combines her scientific and artistic side in creating exceptional Architectural Photography Portfolio. Sharon shares her passion by teaching fine art photography workshops around the world as well as at Langara College and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/view.jpg
Share your most best images in this photo contest in collaboration with ViewBug. A community that hosts over 40 photo contests and challenges.
300x250

With ON1 Photo RAW you get the professional photo editing tools every photographer needs to get professional results while keeping your workflow.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Z.jpg

Simply Stunning Landscapes – Would you like to capture stunning landscapes every time you shoot… without having to travel far from home?

RELATED STORIES
Portraits of the New Parisians by Victor Guerin

B&WEuropeShotPortraits of the New Parisians by Victor Guerin

For as long as I can remember, I was always the one taking photos of my family and friends at parties and family reunions, using a disposable camera or an old, cheap 35mm. I just wanted to cover the walls of my bedroom, with photos of happy moments and memories.
Night photography : Presence obscure by Xavier Blondeau

ConceptEuropeNight photography : Presence obscure by Xavier Blondeau

Presence obscure There exist places or situations in which, despite the absence of any human entity, a faint presence can still be felt beyond objects.
Andre Kertesz: Humanism and visual lyricism

DodhersAndre Kertesz: Humanism and visual lyricism

Andre Kertesz was a silent but important influence on photojournalism and the art of photography. For more than seventy years, his subtle and penetrating vision helped define a medium that was in his childhood.
5 Talented erotic Photographers

Nude5 Talented erotic Photographers

The Best Erotic Photographers published in Dodho Magazine. The great stories by Cam Attree, Jennifer Masseur, Marco Tenaglia, Gary Breckheimer and Reka Nyari.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/insta.jpg
Interview with Marketa Novak ; Second place in our Color Award 2017

DnaEuropeInterview with Marketa Novak ; Second place in our Color Award 2017

My biggest source of inspiration is nature and  fantasy books. I´m a big fan of Tolkien and his stories. I like to create my world of fantasy. In my photos I show world as a beautiful and magical place.
In the city by Jorge E. Bañales

AmericaB&WCityIn the city by Jorge E. Bañales

“In the City” is a collection of black and white photographs taken with an iPhone for a couple of years starting in 2011. Most of the pictures were taken in Northern Virginia and others in the Washington metropolitan area, Chicago, New York and Baltimore.
RANDOM STORIES
Emre Kuheylan – Founder & director of international kontinent photography awards

AsiaDnaEmre Kuheylan – Founder & director of international kontinent photography awards

Kontinent Awards is an annual international photography competition. It became one of the most important events in the world of photography.
Street photography by Joseph Atwere

B&WCityEuropeFeaturedStreet photography by Joseph Atwere

My interest in still photography began in 2007. I bought my first camera which was a Canon 350D whilst on vacation in the US. I had quite a steep learning curve and spent many hours trying to get my head round the basics such as learning about f-stops etc.
Skyscrapers : The View of the Tokyo’s Subcenter by Masuda Yoshitaka

AsiaCitySkyscrapers : The View of the Tokyo’s Subcenter by Masuda Yoshitaka

If I were to choose a place for me to enjoy such views, I think I would go with an observation deck in one of those skyscrapers overlooking Tokyo's subcenter.
Cities in visible by Anargyros Drolapas

CityEuropeCities in visible by Anargyros Drolapas

Anargyros Drolapas’ photographic project, inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, constitutes a study of the city of Athens, a meditation on its multifaceted and complex character.
Common People by Elio Cremi

EuropeShotCommon People by Elio Cremi

I have no problems to say that since three years I am attending a mental health center, as patient, where every week I meet wonderful people. They are patients too. And they are teaching me to observe the world around me in different way.
I Never told Anyone by Bénédicte Vanderreydt

ConceptEuropeFeaturedI Never told Anyone by Bénédicte Vanderreydt

These seven images represent the women in Bénédicte Vanderreydt’s family that have been oppressed and objectified by a male dominated society, at a time when personal honour was of great significance to men.
Chess Portraits by Francesco Ridolfi

ConceptEuropeChess Portraits by Francesco Ridolfi

Often, inside each one of us, opposing drives make themselves felt and alternate within as light illuminates and shadow darkens our minds. Black and White. Good plays Evil. Chess figures offer an opportunity to explore this dualism.
Timeless city İstanbul & faces by Mustafa Dedeoğlu

AsiaB&WStoryTimeless city İstanbul & faces by Mustafa Dedeoğlu

The city that has been carrying the wisdom of hundreds of years, timeless city of Istanbul…The project is result of 8 years work and intends to reflect the atmosphere of the unique story of Istanbul
Fine Art; Water by Tomohide Ikeya

ConceptFine Art; Water by Tomohide Ikeya

We thought human could control water if we had lots of equipments and cared for risks in water, but human never be able to live in water. And we also never be able to live without water.
FEATURED STORIES
Haenyeo; Grandma divers by Alain Schroeder

B&WEuropeFeaturedShotHaenyeo; Grandma divers by Alain Schroeder

South Korea, Jeju island, known for its characteristic basalt volcanic rock, sits off South Korea. It is the home of the renowned Haenyeo or women of the sea who free dive off the black shores of Jeju harvesting delicacies from the sea.
China; The great wall by Chiara Felmini

EuropeFeaturedStoryChina; The great wall by Chiara Felmini

China is almost a continent and as such can offer extremes and opposites at the same time; the ancient and very distant culture can still be observed in remote villages, increasingly surrounded by the advancing and swallowing civilization.
South Sudan; Smoker women by Ana Maria Robles

AmericaFeaturedShotSouth Sudan; Smoker women by Ana Maria Robles

These women smoke tobacco, an ancient custom that marks their ancestry, identity and tribal pride. Their attitude was strong. Fierce. They were active participants of every ceremony and the Leaders of the communities. 
Descendants of Samurai Ryotaro Horiuchi

AsiaFeaturedShotDescendants of Samurai Ryotaro Horiuchi

In the Soma region of Fukushima prefecture, there is a traditional Samurai festival called “Soma Nomaoi”, which is said to have continued for more than 1000 years.
François Mitterrand by Diego Goldberg

AmericaB&WFeaturedStoryFrançois Mitterrand by Diego Goldberg

I lived in France from 1976 to 1980. While there I had been covering the Socialist Party and when François Mitterrand decided to be a candidate again for the presidential elections I wrote him a letter with a project to document his campaign from the inside, with total access to his private and political activities.
Golden Gate; The Bridge, Reconstructed by Michael Yuan

AmericaCityFeaturedGolden Gate; The Bridge, Reconstructed by Michael Yuan

I wanted to challenge the perceptions of the Golden Gate Bridge. In solid red-orange and spanning 1.7 miles long, the Golden Gate Bridge is an icon of San Francisco.
The Orthogenesis of Soul by Sandipan Mukherjee

AsiaB&WConceptFeaturedThe Orthogenesis of Soul by Sandipan Mukherjee

We are all aware about the theory of biologically evaluation for Jean Baptist Lamarck. The theory tells about the evaluation of human how the structure of APE has got transferred to the today’s human being.
Protest in Brooklyn; Blessed to breathe by Bill Livingston

AmericaB&WFeaturedStoryProtest in Brooklyn; Blessed to breathe by Bill Livingston

When George Floyd’s life was unnecessarily and brutally snuffed out by Minneapolis law enforcement on May 25, it was yet another final straw…and that straw was set ablaze around the globe.
Photographs; North Carolina State Fair by Avery Danziger

AmericaCityFeaturedPhotographs; North Carolina State Fair by Avery Danziger

I have been photographing the North Carolina State Fair since the early 70's. One of my oldest memories was the yearly outing of my family going to the State Fair in North Carolina, starting when I was 6 year old.... 
OTHER STORIES
X
stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Issue #14 | September 2020
Current Issue
Vicky Martin
Ryotaro Horiuchi
Susanne Mildeelberg
Diego Bardone
Nicky Hamilton
Alain Schroeder
Printed on 80# matte paper 22x28cm | 100 Pages
Showroom
September 7 to October 31, 2020
Julia Fullerton-Batten
LOOKING OUT FROM WITHIN
Get in touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
CALL
FOR ENTRIES
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Are you ready?
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
NEW!
FOLLOW US.
Subscribe now and get a free access to a curated list of resources.
Feel free to contact.
2017 (C) All rights reserved.
ghfd
February 28, 2021
Don't forget the date