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How to Photograph Architecture | Steeples, Sugar Shacks, and Skyscrapers

Environment: Show enough of the surroundings to inform, but not enough to distract. If an old stone wall is integral to a property, include it. A garden might say more about a home that its shape. If there’s a gorgeous view, show it.

Here, the focus of the log cabin is its spectacular view of Rangeley Lake. The owner of the house on the right is such an avid gardener that showing the house without its flowers would be shame.

Emotion: How does the building affect you? Stately? Grand? Celestial? Cozy? There are often many ways to depict a subject. Try to find a way to express the way it feels to you. Honor those who built and used it.

This church in Jaffrey Center, NH, is one of my favorite buildings. It has beautiful form and symmetry, and I love the care with which it was created. The exquisite steeple reflects the worship that took place within. I try to find new ways to portray it whenever I’m in the area.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Boston. There’s a long list of landmarks I should shoot. But for now, my bags are packed, and there’s fresh snow in Vermont. See you later!

All photos © Susan Cole Kelly.

Susan Cole Kelly is a compulsive shutterbug based in Boston and downeast Maine. You can see more of her work at

Updated Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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One Response to How to Photograph Architecture | Steeples, Sugar Shacks, and Skyscrapers

  1. florence DelNegro June 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    excellent instructions.. learned from it ! now I have to remember to do it ! :)

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