The right shot: How to find a standout architectural photographer - People AU
The right shot: How to find a standout architectural photographer

The right shot: How to find a standout architectural photographer

Ryan Linnegar’s stunning photography spans the continents. In this story, Ryan reveals how great architectural photography differs from real estate photography, and how to spot great interiors photography when you see it

Words by Cassie Birrer

Ryan Linnegar’s journey into the world of photography started with his father's old Minolta SLR camera from the late ’70s, but he’s certainly come a long way since then. An interiors, architecture and hotel photographer based in Sydney with 15 years of experience, Ryan knows how to capture the perfect shot.

We asked Ryan to share his expertise on finding not just a good architectural photographer, but a great one.

Ryan Linnegar has a diverse portfolio spanning interiors, architecture, hotels and still life

How is architectural photography different from real estate photography?

Of course, both of these categories revolve around buildings, but Ryan explains that capturing images for real estate purposes is more closely aligned to product photography and is more “descriptive”.

“It’s more about presenting a glossy and exaggerated version of a space,” he says. “Whereas architectural photography tends to be more natural and communicates the feeling of being in the space as well as presenting the story of the space in a more human or natural way.”

Abigail Street residence by Habitat Housing | Ryan Linnegar Photography

To capture this natural aesthetic, there is less artificial lighting and flash used in architectural photography, although it does have its place if used correctly. There is also less use of angles compared to real estate photography.

“The angles used in architectural photography tend to more often be what we call ‘one-point’ perspectives and also don’t necessarily show every corner of every room. The angles chosen are more used to highlight the architect or designer’s intent and also the feeling of being in the space at different times of the day.”

The angles highlight the architect or designer’s intent and the feeling of being in the space at different times of the day
Wareemba Duplex by Luxitecture | Ryan Linnegar Photography

Conveying mood in images

This idea of capturing the natural state of an interior is a big part of Ryan’s work.

“I always try to convey the feeling of being in the space and creating some kind of moment or evocative scene,” he explains.

While there are always certain shots required, it’s also important to consider what is outside of the frame: “I think the evocative moments can come from detail and vignette shots and by playing with light and shadows. Not necessarily showing the whole space or room in the frame can create a sense of mystery and interest.”

When it comes to finding the right architectural photographer, Ryan believes that this is one of the most important things to look for. Where such a high level of storytelling is used to bring an interior to life through design, it’s important to convey this in a shot.

“An experienced architectural photographer will find out everything they can about the space prior to shooting it.”

Consistency of style and tone of images in a photographer’s portfolio can also be a great indicator as to their level of comfort within their style and their level of experience. On the other hand, a red flag to look out for is if the verticals and horizontals within a photograph aren’t straight or are distorted – key architectural elements that are imperative to capture correctly.

The evocative moments can come from detail and vignette shots and by playing with light and shadows
Strathfield House by Daniel Younan and Associates | Ryan Linnegar Photography
Concord House by Habitat Housing | Ryan Linnegar Photography

Capturing the continents

Across his career, Ryan has had the opportunity to photograph buildings and interiors internationally, and hotels have been a particular highlight – including a modern resort in Thailand called Mason Pattaya and Marriott hotel properties in New Caledonia. He has also worked across Fiji and Australia.

“I’m so lucky to do what I love for a living,” says Ryan. “I enjoy the variety of experiencing so many different spaces and projects, but I guess what I love most is how architectural photography is able to capture and convey the feeling of being in a space, as well as documenting all the work that has gone into the project.

“Being able to create and craft an image that becomes more than the sum of its parts is really satisfying.”

Explore more of Ryan Linnegar’s work on ArchiPro.

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