My Journey to becoming an Architect Photographer


My Journey to becoming an architect photographer was pretty natural and similar to others.  I first came into contact with a SLR when I was at university.  I knew that the base lens kit wasn’t going to take the shots I needed to photograph architecture.  In the early days of the internet I search photography forums for what was a suitable lens.  Purchasing the Nikon 12-24mm really pushed me along, and I was able to take decent photos on analog for university assignments and to appreciate architecture when I was on holidays.

First Digital

The first decent digital camera gave really good feedback.  I was able to check and review and improve the photos I took.  At that time DSLR’s were too expensive and the field of view was quite constrained for architectural photography.

2nd Digital – DSLR

When I finished university, DSLR’s were still quite expensive, and I was on a entry level architect graduate job.  The only way for me to justify buying new gear was for it to pay for itself.  That is something I’ve carried through to most hobbies.  I purchased a Nikon DSLR with a 80-200mm telephoto lens.  It was an amazing lens, and the first time I had produced beautiful bokeh where the subject is in focus and the surrounds are blurry.  I took it to a wedding and shot many details from afar.  I received good feedback and decided to go further.


At that stage of my life, most of my peers were getting married.  There were several years when there were over a dozen weddings to go to.  It somehow came to mind that if I was going to the weddings anyways, I could take the wedding photos, have good exercise, take care of the wedding gifts and do all this to compensate for my still entry level architect job.

I teamed up with a partner to form Storyphotography.  Our work was documentary focused.  More story and less contrived and polished.  We learnt how to create a business, a website, do sales, do the shooting, and post processing.  Our approach was to be invisible which involved a lot of stretching and squatting.  Through Storyphotography we shot over 120 weddings, which evolved to new born and family shoots.

First tilt shift

Through Storyphotography we bought a lot of high quality cameras and lens, that we could’t justify to buy when photography was just a hobby.  As i was interested as an architect photographer to branch out to different subjects, I used the proceeds of my part to buy a tilt shift lens.  This allows you to correct perspective which is handy when you are in a tight space, and are looking up or down, and need to form up vertical perspective correction.

I used this lens, along with the 12-24 to take pictures of projects my work was completing.  I was fortunate to take the title image of In The Realm of Learning – Book, as well as have photos published in several Australian and international journals.

There are some benefits to being a architect photographer.  You can design with the end in mind, setting up views in the digital model that are pleasing perspectives, and refining elements in the design to achieve a beautiful outcome.  There is also the opportunity to take shots at the end of construction when everything is finished.

Shift to projects under construction

I found that taking photos of projects in construction was equally enjoyable.  I enjoyed the activity of the construction workers, completing the puzzle, and the rawness of a construction site.  I liked to turn the construction photos into black and white, and most commonly construction photos would end up naturally with high contrast and boldness.

Photography during vacation

As family and project commitments grew, I found that there was limited opportunities to take pictures.  Sometimes I would tuck the family in for the night, and then head out while on holidays to have a walk and take a few pictures along the way.  That works when we are vacationing in urban walkable areas

Little light bulb moment

Although I have spent most of my architectural career designing facades, atriums and front end design work, I found that interiors and in particular cafe interiors were very interesting and diverse.  It was possible to head out, enjoy a good cup of coffee, enjoy the ambience and design features of the cafe, and be back at work in less than 15 minutes.  Cafes were also a good place to meet and socialise with others, or a quick reprieve from the weekend run around.  I was able to appreciate these places, and I had the skill of photography, but it was a hassle to bring my DSLR and setup for these short trips.

Iphone photography – Architect Photographer

Since around Iphone 11 onwards, Iphone introduced an in built wide angle lens.  To most, and for people photography, this wasn’t that useful as it distorted the proportions of their faces.  However for architectural photography this was great.  At the time of writing, I am using an Iphone 14 which a really good wide angle lens and also has great high dynamic range, that allows good photos in high contrast settings.  With the increase in resolution and better noise control, as well as in built apps to correct perspective, its like having a full DSLR setup with high end lenses in your pocket.

greenery cafes

Free Coffee

Now with this awesome tool in my pocket, I can utilise my dual roles as an architect photographer and take good photography anywhere and anytime, and appreciate good design, and document it to study later, and as a reference for work.  I started an interesting experiment recently.  I collaborated with people through upwork.  My initial task was to take pictures of cafes, my new favourite subject.  They only needed to have an appropriate smartphone and no photography experience.  

Through the selection process, I developed a guide to teach people how to go from having no experience, to taking well composed architectural photos suitable for my website, as well as many other practical uses.  This quick and easy exercise actually helped people gain free coffee.  They were able to have a nice time out, have their coffee paid for.  They gained a new skill for life, that they could use for different new applications.  If having free coffee is something you would like, feel free to hang around this site I’ll be developing more consolidated guides available in the future.  Or you can register your interest at

New Coffee Collaborations

What started out as a photography initiative has led to a full coffee collaboration, leading to contact with many in the specialty coffee industry and many other coffee bloggers. I’ve gained a new appreciation for coffee nutrition, taste and flavour, the experience and process of making coffee. Here is a growing list of people I have been collaborating with:

Caffeine uncovered: Know what’s in your cup or pack

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September 6, 2023 - In Australia, Sydney