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Urban Architecture Photography

London is a fantastic place to travel around with a tripod and camera. There is a wide variety of buildings and styles here in the capital. There are some buildings and monuments that date back many centuries alongside some great modern constructions.

In a world full of seemingly endless ideas and complexity I am drawn to the beauty and simplicity of minimalist architecture photography.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” and he knew a thing or 2 about style & elegance. Isaac Newton also stated: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

There are many different forms of urban architecture photography and as I get older I am drawn to the less complicated or minimalist architecture photography

According to the Collins Dictionary Minimalism is a style in which a small number of very simple things are used to create a particular effect. In effect, less is more.

So how does one go about shooting minimalist architecture photography?

One of the guiding principles is not to overcomplicate things and to make certain your composition is correct. In all aspects of photography, there should not be anything in the final image that does not belong there. In today’s modern digital world it is easy to use editing tools on your PC or Mac to crop, rotate an image to reduce it down to its essential components and nothing more. We are overloaded with too much information as we live in a world of endless distractions. On my MacBook, my emails come up on my screen on the top right whether I want them to or not (if you know how to switch this off please tell me) so think of how much information you are bombarded with as you walk around London?

It sounds obvious, right? But how many times during the day do you start something only to get sidetracked? We all do it.

In the Peckham Levels in London which is a car park that has been converted into a multi-storey business park, there is a great example of minimalism in the colour coding of the building and levels.

I have taken these simple shots to demonstrate the powerful effect of just a few simple things can have. The colours are striking but there are not too many to complicate the image. 2 or 3 colours is sufficient and any more would overload the images.

minimalist architecture photography image from peckham levels
minimalist architecture photography image from peckham levels

I also found some great buildings both historical and modern to capture when I was travelling in Barcelona. One helpful hint is to walk around at half your usual pace. We tend to take for granted those spaces, buildings and people even that we see on a regular basis. Conversely, we believe we have to travel to the other side of the world to find what is interesting or beautiful. It’s one of life’s many paradoxes. People from the big city want to escape to small islands in the middle of nowhere.  People from small islands yearn to go off and live in big cities.

urban architecture photography

What kit do you need for Minimalist Architecture Photography

The kit I use for urban architecture photography is pretty basic too.

Who wants to walk around all day with lots of different lenses and other accessories?

I take my canon full Frame camera out. Either a 6D or a 5D3 with a wide-angle lens and a tripod. That’s it. I have found that the Manfrotto 190 with the extendable arm is one of the best purchases of photography kit I have ever made.

Editing Urban architecture photography

The principles of editing minimalist architecture photography? really follow on from how I shoot things. I take the time to crop so that I am left with the correct composition in the final image. In LightRoom, there are some great aids when it comes to cropping and composition. I use the thirds & golden ratio overlay most but sometimes the architecture itself will have some form of geometric pattern or perspective to guide you. In the final analysis, only you can make the final decision.

One of the benefits of shooting and editing in digital is the ease with which you can play around with images. It makes it easy to decide what to include in the image and by inference what to omit.