Impact of Colors in Architectural Photography

While trends changes in architectural photography, colors authenticity are crucial.

Many confuse architectural photographer’s work for “beautiful pictures” or interpretation of “Art”.

The fact is, colors must represent the material true color within the ambient and environment.

The “Problems” with Ambient light photos

There’s nothing wrong photographing with natural light / ambient light. The problem starts as interior lighting meant to bring atmosphere to space and not light a surface or material. 


While direct sunlight or sunset can create a dramatic scene or a great gradient of light on a structure in most cases it’s our main source of light. 

In order to represent the true color of the structure, we need to color correct or embellish the light with studio light. 

Buildings Architectural Photos: 

We can’t use artificial lighting so we need to work with the sunlight. 

As we can’t control it while photographing we need to sit an wait for the right direction of light. 

Sometimes the color of the sun will generate the right atmosphere we are looking for, but others times we will need to correct the colors in post-production to make sure it is understood what the color scheme the architects choose.

Residential Homes: 

Residential homes are a much more controllable environment as we can reach most part of the structure to supplement with studio lighting at dusk.

The same “rule” applies here, we much create authenticity when photographing the structure as it explains the finish and the true color.


As mentioned before the indoor lighting meant to light the space and create the mood.

It is not mean to light surface or material and therefor we must supplement with artificial lighting to make sure the true color remain. 

This is especially important for shinny, stainless steal and dimensional finishes. 

Desaturation in Architectural Photos

The last “trend” for those who don’t wish to invest time in post-production is the desaturation effect. All of us knows those pure white/gray photos where most of the color disappear.

While it looks clean and modern it does not represent reality neither the client understands that there’s no pure white when there’s mix use of ambient light.

If done correctly, by hand and in post-production, we eliminate un-wanted ambient light, we desaturate color to a point that still reflect the lighting of the scene.

Selectively doing so you can enjoy both worlds of the true color of the objects, surfaces, and material and still keep some of the natural ambient colors.

In summery

Representing your images with the right color is crucial for setting the expectation for your next client.

It’s important to remove cast color from the interior lighting and exterior ambiance to truly reflect the right color of the products, surface and appliances. 

Also color correcting your visuals will help to avoid miss color when printed or published in the future.

Make sure your photographer understand the true color of the material and not just dropping the colors to try and written everything.

The color have to incorporate the look, feel and atmosphere.

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