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Architectural Photography on the iPhone

There’s a lot of purists out there who would say that architectural photography has no place on the iPhone. While you may not be advised to forge a photography career using your iPhone alone, there is still a lot you can achieve creatively and it definitely has it’s place!

Any camera lens will see the world differently to us. Our eyes make sense of the objects we see around us and fill in any missing information. But the camera isn’t so objective and is subject to lens warping, lighting issues and perspective woes that can make the photo look less than ideal.

Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of your iPhone

1. Perspective

Keep the perspective in mind and make sure that the vertical and horizontal skew isn’t too severe. The more distant objects will naturally skew but the focal point should always be lined up correctly to avoid unnatural lens warping. Pick an object in the foreground to align to. If you need to position yourself far away from the object, apps such as SKRWT can be helpful to readjust the lines as you need to.

2. Grids rule!

Turn on the grid function on your camera and use it to line up the important angles in the photo. Line up the vertical axis of the grid with the closest wall or object in view, making sure it’s not skewed forward or back. Line up the horizontal axis at your vanishing point and the shot will look a lot more balanced and harmonious.

3. The Rule of Thirds

You’ve probably already heard of the rule of thirds but it really is helpful to keep in mind when shooting. The iPhone camera grid is conveniently divided this way and it’s a super-easy way to help compose the shot. As a general guide, keeping the foreground and background divided in this way (either 1/3 background, 2/3 foreground or vice versa) will typically produce a pleasing result.

4. Lighting be thy friend

As with any photo, it’s all about the lighting. Harsh sunlight can produce shadows that interfere with the photo but it can also add to the composition if it’s creating interesting lines and angles. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s just good to be aware of it and use it to your advantage. If it looks great to you, then it probably IS great. Play with the lighting and shadows and shoot at different times of day to experiment.

5. Editing

Most photos will need some editing. We’ve already mentioned SKRWT to help realigning the angles and perspective but if you’re not up for the $1.99 price tag (until June) then there is still a lot you can achieve with adjusting perspective in VSCO. It’s definitely our choice for editing color but SKRWT will go that little bit further in helping you achieve those dramatic lines and angles.

Also, don’t be afraid to remove any unwanted objects from your composition. Photoshop express or FaceTune are both great tools for spot healing, whitening, and removing things like street signs, air vents, and ugly smoke detectors from your shots.

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