The Surprising Place for the Best Architecture Photos

Do you ever look at a photo and wonder, where exactly was the photographer standing to get that shot?

Portland, Oregon.
I love taking pictures of buildings and sometimes explore for good angles (I climbed on top of a wall to snap this one, and I took these pictures from an L platform). But, if you’re a photographer as well, you’ll know that sometimes the best shots just appear in front of you. All you have to do is click the shutter.

I was thinking about these fortuitous shots, and some of my favorite architectural photographs I’ve taken, and I was surprised to realize a large number of them were taken from the same place: parking garages. Seriously!

It turns out those concrete structures that make many of us cringe (although I admit to a secret fascination with parking garage architecture) are perfect for photographing the buildings and cityscape around them. They have wide-swaths of unbroken views stacked one on top of the other. Minimal walls and no glass. Instead of looking up at the buildings across the street, you can look at them straight on.

Here, some of my favorite photographs that I snapped from parking garages.

Is there any particular place that you find yourself always pulling out your camera?







(With the exception of the top two photos, which were taken in Portland, all of these were taken in Seattle.)

Related: one of the best collections I read about this year was this one, where the photographer took photographs from famous monuments but looked in the opposite direction. I love the results.


5 thoughts on “The Surprising Place for the Best Architecture Photos

  1. What a useful tip! I never would have thought of this on my own.

    My best tip along these lines is to shoot in late autumn — after the leaves have fallen off the trees, but before the snow flies. Or in early spring, after the snow melts but before the trees bud. So many buildings are blocked by trees now, planted in sidewalks. Bare trees largely unblock the buildings.


    1. Thanks! The seasonal tip is a good one, leaves can really obscure a lot (especially here in the Pacific Northwest!). Also true that those gray days can be some of the best lighting.


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