Author: Adrian Schulz
Publisher: Rocky Nook, 2nd Edition
Audience: Amateur and professional photographers
This book's subtitle says it's about Composition, Capture, and Digital Image Processing - a rather broad canvas.
It can be argued, and I would, that architectural photography is the most technical of the photographic genres.
The reason is that it is all about straight lines and planes. This means that to master the subject you have to master perspective, focus and lighting. What could be more technical than a rising front camera which can be used to correct perspective - even its common name is "technical camera". However you don't have to worry about finding the money to buy and use such a camera this book deals with the digital approach to the problem and mostly using just a standard DSLR.
It s a reasonably technical introduction to the special considerations of architectural photography. However, everything it tells you about should be common knowledge among all photographers. Given that you are going to be photographing things with mostly flat surfaces and edges, then getting something wrong shows even more clearly. You need to consider focus, lighting, shadows and most important of all perspective. Of course all of these things are important in general photography.
The first few chapters are introductions to the basic facts of digital photography. If you already know this then feel free to skip them, but if you need a refresher course then read them because they are well written and there are lots of interesting details thrown in along the way. There are also many high quality photos showing you what can be achieved. I was a little surprised that tilt/shift lenses only merited a single paragraph - surely there is more to say?
The book really gets started at Chapter 3 on shooting techniques. After some philosophy we get to grips with perspective - one- and two-point - and the problems of correcting for it and avoiding problems in the first place. Here we do get a reasonable account of tilt/shift lenses and the alternative digital correction. Later we learn about focal length effects, exposure and filters which are, of course, applicable to any photography but the architectural examples illustrate the ideas really well. This is a very long chapter and the core of the book.
Chapter 4 is about image processing and after some fairly standard information about formats - RAW versus JPEG - we get on to the sorts of topics that are particularly relevant to architectural work. There is also a section on creating panoramas and working with HDR and DRI images. Finally a section tips and tricks brings the book to a close.
If you want a book that introduces you to some of the technical ideas that are important in architectural photography then this is a good book. It is less good on the artistic and creative side of architectural photography and doesn't go in for trying to break with tradition or invent new ways of seeing. Most of its photos illustrate a point rather than inspire - unless you are inspired to do a better technical job. Of course by doing a better technical job you make your photos more impressive and open the possibility of doing something creative. A lot of the book does deal with general ideas that you, as an amateur or professional photographer, should already know but it does angle the ideas towards architectural applications.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I can recommend it if you want to find out the technical side of architectural photography.