Architectural Photography: Buildings Inside and Out

Dorothea Lange said “the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Enhance your visual perception and your photographic skills, regardless of your experience and expertise. Take a journey through the instructor’s professional, personal knowledge of photographing the designed and constructed environment. A brief history of the two-dimensional arts, along with knowledge from the emerging sciences of human vision, will inform your architectural photography. We’ll see how learning to photograph buildings will improve all of your photography that includes the built environment.

A $50 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

Schedule clarification: This is a four-week online course. It runs from Monday, January 11 to Friday, February 5. Each week, all week, you can study that week’s material, post and respond to messages, and engage in course activities. You will participate in live videoconferencing sessions each Tuesday from 10–11:30 a.m. PT.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • List the ideal key camera settings and techniques employed to create high-quality architectural images.
  • Outline the initial aspects and elements of a photographic image that draw the beholder’s attention.
  • Identify the four basic kinds and structures of volumetric space as researched and taught to cinematic photographers.
  • Describe commonly used techniques for recording an expanded dynamic range of light along with an expanded field of view in your images.
  • Apply the knowledge gained towards enhancing your own personal abilities of visual perception.

Learning methods

Your online learning will include the following methods:

  • Participation in written discussions with other students
  • Participation in videoconference seminars
  • Photography "assignments" to carry out yourself

For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Building exteriors: Cityscapes, urban plazas, streetscapes, and facades

We will explore the general principles of architectural photography –focusing on building form, quality of light, and the importance of context. We’ll define “architecture” and “urban design”. We will touch on recommended camera settings and types of gear commonly employed.

Week 2: Composition: Art and science of two-dimensional visual communication

We’ll learn about the impacts of the history of the two-dimensional arts and the emerging sciences of human vision. We’ll tackle four compositional challenges:photographing contrasting light, edges of objects and elements, volumetric space, and the illusion of three-dimensional depth.      

Week 3: Building interiors: Photographing volumetric space with depth

We will cover the general principles of architectural photography, focusing on indoor behavioural settings designed for people and their activities. Based on your questions, you will learn about the most appropriate camera orientations and locations along with how varying lens focal lengths serve multiple objectives.

Week 4: Image editing: Pre-visualization, software techniques and workflow

We’ll discuss image editing, with instructor demonstrations, based on RAW files you can choose to submit. We’ll learn about maximizing image data collection, and cover high dynamic range imaging and panoramic imaging using the latest version of Lightroom Classic software.

Books, materials and resources

You will access reading material using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.

Technical requirements

This course is delivered using SFU's online learning system, Canvas. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.  

To get the most out of this online course, you should be comfortable doing the following:

  • Using everyday software such as browsers, email and social media
  • Navigating a website by clicking on links and finding pages in a menu
  • Downloading and opening PDF documents
  • Posting, replying and uploading images to a discussion board
  • Participating in videoconferencing sessions

You will be participating in videoconferencing using Zoom Meetings. For this, your computer needs to have a camera, microphone and speakers or headphones. Your computer software should be up to date with the latest available operating system and browser versions.

Accessing your course

  • A few days before the course starts, we will email you more information about the course and how you'll access it. You will also receive an email inviting you to access the Canvas learning platform (click on the link in the invitation to join the course). Once you’ve accessed Canvas, you can begin exploring the platform on your own. The full course will be accessible on its start date.
  • We’ll also host a virtual drop-in time on Zoom Meetings a few days before the course starts. This will give you a chance to check that you can access Zoom Meetings, and that your computer’s camera and microphone and speakers are working properly.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

Look at other courses in