Architecture photography is a field with very specific challenges. The right tools will help ensure your success and the Irix 11mm lens is one of those tools. In this article, I’m going to show you some of the ways that this ultrawide lens can help you “up your game” in this genre. (Opening image: ©Jahz Design)
It’s fairly obvious that a wide field of view will make photographing architecture easier and allow you to be more creative with your framing. Thanks to the design and engineering of the Irix 11mm f/4 lens, the question of “How wide can I go?” gained an new answer when it hit the market.
With its true rectilinear projection, incredible sharpness and lack of aberrations, this lens gives photographers new perspectives with an incredible field of view. What’s more, it offers a host of features that offer even more creative freedom:
- Fast, f/4 maximum aperture
- Hyperfocal distance scale makes achieving maximum sharpness easy
- Click-stop at infinity – no need to hunt for that setting
- Focus locking/tension ring allows you to maintain focus without worry
- Rear gel filter slot means you can use ND and other filters to achieve the effects you want
- Weather sealing to allow you to use it in less-than-ideal conditions
- Easy-to-read markings
Alright, so you’ve seen the reviews and don’t need a refresher. After all, you already know that the Irix 11mm lens was awarded Best in Class for 2018 by Digital Camera, right? The real question here is, “How do I use this lens to improve my architecture photography?” Let’s look at a few ways you can do that and how this lens can help.
It’s easy to become so impressed with an extreme field of view that you forget to compose your shots. The result of this is always going to be an image with little or no appeal. Remember to create an architeture image, rather than simply recording it.
The rules of composition apply to wide angle photos, too – maybe even more than with longer focal lengths. If you want to create engaging images, use those rules. Understanding the concept of line is a good place to start. Once you know how to visualize lines, the lack of barrel distortion in the Irix 11mm lets you use both vertical and horizontal lines to their greatest advantage.
Let’s move on to with a few composition points I emphasized in an earlier article on what NOT to do with a wide-angle lens.
Have a focal point.
Your image needs a subject and it needs to stand out. With its close focusing distance (10.8″), hyperfocal scale and wide aperture, isolating a subject – even a big architectural subject is easy with the Irix 11mm.
Know When to Maximize and Minimize Depth of Field
Blurring the background or foreground can be one way to isolate your subject, as mentioned in the paragraph above, but it’s not the only way. Many wide-angle images will have more appeal with the extreme depth of field you can achieve with a short focal length and a narrow aperture.
The Irix 11mm gives you the ability to choose maximum sharpness from front to back, minimize the depth of field, or find something in between that makes your image special. The hyperfocal scale and aperture range of f/4 to f/22 make it easy to achieve any of the above.
A wider field of view means you can move in closer to your architecture subject and still get enough of it in the frame to maximize the impact of your image.
Get Rid of Distractions.
Again, with this lens, you don’t have to stay far away to get all of your subject in the frame leverage that advantage to eliminate distracting backgrounds or other elements and give your architectural subjects the emphasis they deserve.
Converging lines and extreme angles can be a nightmare when they warp and twist because of barrel distortion. With the Irix 11mm, you can go ahead and take your angle of view off-center to let perspective add depth and interest to your photos.
Architecture photography is a perfect genre for finding and using symmetry. Symmetrical compositions can be tricky, though, when shooting at extremely wide angles. Thanks to the minimal curvature of the lines rendered by this lens, you won’t have to worry about flaws like mustache distortion ruining the shot. What’s more, since Irix lens profiles are included with Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, any curvature is easily corrected with a single click! Go ahead and explore the symmetry of your subjects!
Stretch the Exposure
In another article, I explained how ND filters can add interest to your images. With its gel filter slot, the Irix 11mm allows you to utilize them even at its incredible 126-degree field of view. That means you can take advantage of everything that extended exposure times can do for your images.
Find the Best Point of View
A higher or lower point of view can have a tremendous impact on a photo. Likewise for moving left or right. As you compose your images, check the view from various angles to see which produces the strongest image.
Once again, thanks to the rectilinear projection of the Irix 11mm, you can adjust your viewing angle without worrying about curvature. Perspective distortion can easily be corrected, or may even add interest to the shot.
Flip the Aspect Ratio
Don’t be afraid to try framing your wide angle photo vertically. It’s often the best choice for many architecture subjects. As you can see from the vertical photos in this articles, this lens is ideal for such situations.
Spread your Creative Wings
We’ve just scratched the surface of how creative you can be with the right wide-angle lens and architectural subjects. There’s much more I could suggest, but exercising your creativity is a very personal experience. The point is, if you’re shooting, or want to shoot architecture, the Irix 11mm gives you more creative freedom.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the architectural images I’ve shared in this article. If you’re a pro or amateur shooting architecture, interiors or abandoned places with the Irix 11mm, we’d love to share some of your images, too! Send us your favorite in the comments, or send us a message on Facebook!