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Urban Architecture Photography

London is a fantastic place to shoot urban architecture photography. It’s easy to travel around with a tripod and camera and there are a wide variety of buildings and styles. Some buildings and monuments date back many centuries and stand alongside great modern constructions. In a city full of 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.  As I get older I am drawn to the less complicated minimalist architecture photography

What is minimalism? 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?

Simplicity means not overcomplicating things. I concentrate on making the composition correct. In all aspects of photography, there should not be anything in the final image that does not belong there. I crop and rotate an image to reduce it to its essential components. We are overloaded with too much information as we live in a world of endless distractions. 

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

A car park has been converted into a multi-storey business park at the Peckham Levels in London. The design includes examples of minimalism and colour coding of the building and its levels.

I took these simple shots to demonstrate the powerful effect a few simple things can have. The colours are striking but not too many to complicate the image. 2 or 3 colours are sufficient. 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 when I was traveling in Barcelona. I find walking around at half my usual pace helpful. Familiarity breeds contempt. It’s easy to take for granted those spaces, buildings, and people that we see regularly. 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.

I don’t want to walk around all day with lots of different lenses and 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. One of the best purchases of photography kit I have ever made is Manfrotto 190 tripod. It has an extendable arm that can be turned 90º in a perpendicular way.

Editing Urban architecture photography

I follow principles for editing minimalist architecture photography.  These align with how I shoot the images. I crop and rotate the image where necessary. I want the final image to have the correct composition. In Lightroom, there are some great aids when it comes to cropping and composition. I use the thirds & golden ratio overlay most. Sometimes the architecture itself will have some form of geometric pattern or perspective to guide me. In the final analysis, it’s a personal decision. I want it to be simple and minimal.