Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects. Architectural photographers concern themselves with perspective, light and shadow, scale, materials, detail and sense of place, and are usually skilled in the use of specialized photographic techniques, educated observation and large format high resolution camera equipment and special lenses.
The first permanent photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras by Nicéphore Niépce, was also the first architectural photograph as it was a view of buildings. Similarly, photographs taken by early photographer William Henry Fox Talbot were of architecture, including his photograph of a Latticed window in Lacock Abbey taken in 1835.
Throughout the history of photography, buildings have been highly valued photographic subjects, mirroring society’s appreciation for architecture and its cultural significance. By the 1860s, architectural photography started to become an established visual medium.
Much as building designs changed and broke with traditional forms, architectural photography also evolved. During the early-to-mid-20th century, architectural photography became more creative as photographers used diagonal lines and bold shadows in their compositions, and experimented with other techniques.
By the early 1950s, architects were hiring more photographers for commissioned work, resulting in architectural photography being viewed as more of an art form.