There are so many amazing buildings and structures to photograph all over the world. For some inspiration, I’ve put together a list of the top five architectural wonders you should capture. I’ll also show you how I edit my architectural shots in Luminar 4 using an example from the Stuttgart City Library.
Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku, Azerbaijan)
The Heydar Aliyev Centre has been Baku’s main architectural icon since it opened in 2012. The center contains an auditorium and also houses a library, different exhibitions on multiple floors, and a collection of vintage cars.
Designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid — who is well-known for her distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that makes her buildings timeless and iconic — the Heydar Aliyev Centre is a dream for any architecture lover. In fact, many people come to Baku just to admire this fluid-structure.
Phoenix International Media Center (Beijing, China)
Completed in 2014, this doughnut-shaped building serves as the headquarters for China’s largest private broadcaster, Phoenix Television. Designed by Chinese firm BIAD UFo, the building resembles a giant steel and glass shell nestled within Beijing’s Chaoyang Park.
Both the exterior and interior are spectacular to photograph. If you’re allowed to get inside, you will see that the outside shell includes two independent towers connected and surrounded by a series of platforms and sky ramps. On a bright, sunny day this space is absolutely stunning to capture with your wide-angle lens.
The Interlace (Singapore)
The Interlace is one of the largest and most ambitious residential developments in Singapore.
It was designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, who is known for conceptualizing some of the world’s most interesting buildings.
The Interlace’s 31 apartment blocks are stacked one on top of each other, twisting at different angles. The visual effect is unusual, with the building’s corners providing space for roof gardens, sky terraces, and large balconies of cascading greenery.
The Interlace is truly a sight to admire and capture from as many viewpoints as possible.
Medibank Headquarters (Melbourne, Australia)
The Medibank headquarters in Melbourne features a dynamic interior designed by the HASSELL studio.
The focal element of the interior is a series of staircases and ramps that wrap around, connecting all the levels. The use of vibrant colors makes the view through the atrium even more appealing. This is my favorite place to photograph in Australia, but you need to know that you’re allowed to take photos here only once a year, during the Melbourne Open House. Don’t miss that chance!
Stuttgart City Library (Stuttgart, Germany)
Korean architect Eun Young Yi won the competition to design the new central library in the city of Stuttgart.
Yi has created a monolithic white cube with two floors underground and nine above. The library features an open plan with the levels connected by open staircases. Books line the outer walls of each floor, giving a touch of color to the otherwise completely white space.
For some, this library is way too sterile, while for others, it’s a beauty to be captured.
These five structures are incredibly unique. Even so, I follow the same general workflow when I edit all of my images. I’ll use the shot of the Stuttgart City Library as an example to show you how I edit in Luminar 4.
How I Edit With Luminar 4
Ideally, the less editing you need to do on a photo, the better. Spend time on location making sure your shot is well exposed, correctly leveled for vertical and horizontal lines, and free of disturbing elements you may want to erase later in post-production. However, there are often small changes we can make that add more depth and life to a photo.
A quick note about presets (or Looks) in Luminar. If you like to use them, the right time to apply them is right at the beginning of your editing process so you can use them as a base and then tweak the sliders as needed to make sure the result is just as you envisioned it.
[Related Reading: 5 Tips for FAST and EASY Portrait Retouching in Luminar 4]
Since I personally don’t use any presets, I start editing my photos by opening the Essentials tab and going through the different editing categories from top to bottom.
The majority of my editing process happens in the Light section.
Depending on the image I’m working on, I start by adjusting the Temperature and Tint, usually making the image a bit colder, as I capture a lot of white spaces and I like colder white tones. Proceeding downwards, I adjust the parameters depending on the characteristics of the photo but never going too crazy with the sliders. Just remember that with editing, we want to enhance without overdoing it.
If I’m working on an exterior shot and the sky doesn’t look its best, I move on to the AI Enhance tab, in which I can really bring a dull and boring sky back to life.
I always work on the colors, fixing the hue, saturation, and luminance of each. You can do this in Luminar 4 by opening the Advanced Settings menu in the Color tab.
Just notice the colors you’re working within the specific image and start by adjusting those. In this case, I lowered the HSL of the reds, oranges, and yellows to enhance the pure whiteness of the space and lowered the blues as well to balance the overall look of the image, as the white was getting too cold.
Lastly, I open the Details Enhancer tab. The tools in this tab help me bring crystal-clear sharpness to my images.
Since there are so many details from the books in the background, I’ve decided to only enhance large details for this image.
You can easily check how far you’ve gone from your original image by clicking the eye icon or the slider on the top bar. Then you can go back and tweak the sliders if needed.
About the author
Nancy Da Campo is a freelance architecture and interiors photographer born in Milan, Italy, and currently traveling extensively to discover and capture the beauty of the built environment. She’s always looking for new and interesting angles to capture her interpretation of a building with her camera or drone. Nancy regularly works with architectural and cultural institutions, tech brands, and tourism boards.