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Wide-angle views are the easiest to obtain because all the possible viewpoints can be investigated by walking around in the vicinity of the building. However, when a camera is tilted upwards all the vertical lines in the image will appear to converge. This looks natural to the eye but may not do so in a two-dimensional image. Photographers specializing in architectural work use expensive perspective control (PC) lenses, also known as shift lenses, to eliminate converging verticals and achieve a faithful record. Simpler approaches include the use of a wide-angle lens tilted steeply upwards to exaggerate and make use of perspective distortion, and eliminating the effect by finding a higher or more distant viewpoint. Strangely, a small amount of distortion often produces the least acceptable result because it looks like an error rather than a feature of the image. If all else fails, try concealing the lower part of the building behind some attractive foreground element of the composition.

Potala Palace, TibetLong distance views do not suffer from perspective distortion because the angle of view is much closer to horizontal. The difficulty lies in finding an appropriately distant and clear view with good lighting. Start by looking for accessible viewpoints clearly visible from the subject building, and then visit them when the direction of the light is suitable. Three quarter views are often interesting because they show the viewer the extent of the building. They may also have added depth provided by shadow detail.

The preferred lighting is dependent to a large extent on the nature of the building. Modern glass buildings, particularly those with tinted mirror exteriors, may look most interesting when in shade and reflecting images of neighbouring sunlit structures. Tall buildings may benefit from even illumination provided by low-angle illumination. Those with strong relief are best seen in light that rakes the detail at a shallow angle. Colonnades are a good example of this. Strong overhead sun is perhaps the least useful type of lighting.


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