Menu Close

Focus on Steel Building Photography- Part 1

How to Make the Most of Your Exterior Metal Building Shots

Learn a few picture taking tips and tricks to take your steel building photography to a new level of excellence.

Are you an individual taking pictures of your metal buildings for bragging rights or insurance purposes? Or are you a builder or contractor creating photos for your portfolio or Web site? Or perhaps you are a real estate professional or building manager trying to sell or lease a steel building property?

Hand holds digital camera with the caption "How to Photograph Steel Buildings"Regardless of the end use your structural shots, you want to take the most flattering photos possible.

One good picture truly is worth a thousand words— especially in architectural photography. However, bad building pictures chase buyers and renters away from your property.

I am not going to be recommending specific camera brands or types in this post. I am assuming you have— or can obtain— a good quality camera.

Snapping quick shots with your smart phone will never produce the first-class results of a great digital camera. Whatever camera equipment you prefer, these tips will improve your steel building photography.

With just a little patience and practice, following these twelve tips will soon have you snapping building shots like a pro:

1. GET the LIGHT RIGHT: Ideally, photograph east-facing buildings in the morning and shoot west-facing structures in the afternoon. Harsh mid-day lightning drains the color from buildings, so try to avoid shooting exteriors at noon.

2. POINT of VIEW: Most metal buildings look more attractive from a three-quarters angle rather than a straight-on shot. It adds depth and perspective to the building. Try shooting the structure from farther away, or from a higher or lower vantage point. What does the building look like from the top of a ladder?

(Consider hiring an aerial photographer if your structure is part of an industrial complex, or at an especially attractive location. Some photographers now use drones for less expensive panoramic photos.)

3. FRAMING the SHOT: What you include— or exclude— from the picture changes the feel of the photograph. If there is a low tree branch you can use in the foreground, it frames the shot of your building. A mountain in the background or trees in the distance add visual interest. Include attractive areas surrounding the building in the shot where possible.

4. Add DRAMA: Architectural photography often appears artistic. Dawns and sunsets create spectacular backdrops for metal buildings. Well-lighted structures offer great early evening shots. Storm clouds, light fog, snow, or mists bring flair to metal building photography.

5. SHOTS for ALL SEASONS: Different seasons can accentuate landscaped metal buildings. Try taking photos of the same steel structure at different times throughout the year.

6. STAYING on the LEVEL: Keeping the camera parallel to the structure is so important— and very difficult with a hand-held camera. Keeping the building’s lines vertical is crucial with metal building photography. Tilting the camera exaggerates vertical lines, causing the building to look as if it is falling backwards or looming toward you. Invest in a tripod to make camera angles consistent.

7. Add SCALE: On larger metal buildings, it sometimes helps to have a person, a vehicle, or other object nearby to visualize the scale of the building. This is especially true for taller structures or exceptionally wide buildings.

(Be sure you have permission from anyone included in a photograph.)

8. FOCUS: Photo software now allows simple correction of minor flaws in photos. However, nothing corrects fuzzy photos. Getting perfect focus is crucial to terrific building photos. Take several shots from the same angle to insure you get perfect focus. Again, a tripod will help maintain focus.

9. PROTECT the LENS: Photos taken through filthy, smudged, or scratched camera lenses are useless.  Keep a protective cap over your lens when the camera is not in use. Gently clean the lens before every shoot.

10. LOTS of SHOTS: Digital photography lets you take unlimited pictures at no extra cost. The more photos you take, the more likely you are to have that perfect photo. Scrutinize your photos carefully, and delete the bad ones, keeping only the great ones.

11. KEEP it CLEAN: Builders are notorious for neglecting to notice debris on a job site. Photos with trashcans, paint cans, tools, piles of dead leaves of dirt, and other debris do not belong in a good building photo. Clean up the site before you begin taking pictures.

12. BE PATIENT: Do not attack the building with a camera when you are pressed for time, doing a photographic drive-by shooting. The results will be disappointing. Don’t rush. Take time to do it right.

Share the Results of Your RHINO Steel Building Photography

We love to see great shots of the metal buildings our customers build. We invite all RHINO customers to share their photos and their stories.

We are in the process of updating the RHINO Steel Building Systems Web site. We would love to add your RHINO project to our metal building photography gallery!

Send your photos and comments to [email protected] with your contact information. Your project might be featured in a RHINO blog!


You can reach RHINO Steel Building Systems now at 940.383.9566 to discuss your upcoming building project. We will supply you with a free no-obligation quote. Call now!