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5 Top Architectural Photography Studios in the World in 2021

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Photographers see potential in architecture that oftentimes we overlook. They find dramatic angles or stunning light to take a still image of a static structure and give it dynamism, power and life. At their best, the world’s best architectural photographers can capture not only the form of a building, but its atmosphere, its very essence. They aim to capture images that illuminate an architect’s vision, but also sell an experience, allowing viewers to imagine themselves interacting with the space.

Each of the following photography studios are among the world leaders in their field, capturing projects by leading architecture firms from BIG and Zaha Hadid to Kengo Kuma and Jeanne Gang. Every one of these companies received a prestigious accolade as a Winner or Finalist within the Architectural Photography category in the inaugural A+Firm Awards, the first AEC program designed explicitly to reward studios of all sizes, geographies, and specializations.

Read on to learn about some of the world’s top architectural photography studios, each of which are inspiring architects, clients and the wider public to view the built environment through a new lens:

Julien Lanoo

2021 A+Firm Awards Winner, Best Architectural Photography Studio

Firm Location: Comines, Belgium
Firm Website:
Pictured Project: Vitra Schaudepot by Herzog & de Meuron, Weil am Rhein, Germany

Julien Lanoo’s photography is a documentation of the built environment. He looks at the architectural world with a deep understanding of its historical and social layers as well as the visible and intangible connections between nature, light and materiality. Lanoo’s photographic career has covered such topics and fields as architecture, design, social integration, urban transformations and their dwellers. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Cité de l’architecture in Paris, and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, among others.

He co-authored, together with Julien de Smedt, the book “Built Unbuilt” revisiting 16 years of JDSA’s work, and most recently his photographs appeared in “The Vitra Campus: Architecture Design Industry”. His never-ending search for the intricate relationship between the human being and his surroundings, a central subject in his photographs, was presented in 2018 as In[Cognitus], a monographic exhibition at the WAAO in Lille, France.

Ema Peter Photography

Firm Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Firm Website:
Pictured Project: Teahouse in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

What distinguishes Ema Peter is her search for the ‘one image’ and the desire to capture that decisive moment, the kind that Cartier-Bresson chased. It is to create an image that will stand out in a sea of images. Ema Peter is here to tell a story, to make the viewer want to explore, to stop people in their busy day with one photograph and make them lose themselves in that image.

The firm’s mission is to not only to record architecture and design, but take beautiful images. Peter photographs architecture to showcase the soul, the spirit and the uniqueness of each building and space. The photographer’s goal is to make sure she does the project justice and find those hidden moments that even the architect has not seen.

Peter has always called herself an architectural photojournalist because, for her, adding the human element in images is so important. She believes in humanizing architecture and making sure to showcase the life of a building. Peter truly believes in innovation, and is continually seeking out projects that are sustainable, that create true impact in protecting our environment and that will make history. Peter actively searches for those projects in the architecture community with the mission to display them to the world and help to broaden the exposure of this approach to architecture.

Peter also tries to pave the way for female architectural photographers to hold the camera proudly, to make sure that women are given equal opportunities and are not distinguished by gender. Peter’s aim is to make her mark on the world scene of architecture.

Matthew Millman Photography

Firm Location: Berkeley, California, United States
Firm Website:
Pictured Project: Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, United States

Through vigorous exploration, careful observation and a dedication to craft, Matthew Millman strives to tell resonant and insightful visual stories about architecture, design, and art. Millman’s photographs aim to reveal the deepest aspirations of the architect and artist as well as capture the greatest impact of a project on its inhabitants and observers.

Chongqing QIWEN Advertising Co., LTD

Firm Location: Chongqing, China
Pictured Project: Sunac · Grand Milestone Sales Center, Xi’an, China

Chongqing Qiwen Advertising Co., Ltd. was founded by photographer Mr. Zhang Qilin, who is also the director of photography for the company. For over thirteen years, the firm has been providing professional services of architectural space photography, and adhere to the concept of focusing on art, quality and details, so as to best present the best works of designers. Chongqing QIWEN is committed to improving the visual effect of design works, and leave the permanent “portrait” for architectures and spaces.

UK Studio

Firm Location: Beijing, China
Firm Website:
Pictured Project: Aranya Seashore Chapel, Qinhuangdao, China

UK Studio focuses on the city walking observation, architectural photograph, and spatial humanistic thinking, shoot not only a specific architecture or an interior space but also a kind of spatial relationship and thinking. That is the source of our motivation and where creativity comes from. UK Studio was co-founded by Irene Liu, an architect with a Master’s degree in Architecture, and Ricky Yan, an interior designer who graduated from China Academy of Art. UK Studio is an architectural photography studio with a design experience background, international vision, and artistic aesthetics, making continuous improvement over the years.

UK Studio aims not only to shoot architecture and space, presenting the most beautiful scenes, but also to cultivate a kind of thinking. During the shooting, the firm appreciates the designer’s intentions, perceive people’s behavior in space, and thinks about the relationship between architecture and the environment. This kind of thinking shooting makes the firm’s photographs more spiritual and full of vitality. The firm holds a belief that charm of architecture comes from the scale of time, but also the dialogue with natural light and shadow. Every photo of UK Studio is a dialogue between the photographer and space, which is what architectural photography means for the firm.

Should your firm be considered among the world’s best architecture firms? Register for the A+Awards (now open for entries) and the next A+Firm Awards (opening this fall) and submit your work for global recognition:

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