Architectural Photographer Luke Butterly

Architectural Photographer Luke Butterly

By Kate Cole

Luke’s work means that he is always on the move, meeting clients, scoping briefs or out on location.

Luke’s work as an architectural photographer often takes him to cities, but recently, on a shoot at a rural location near Kiama, “Instead of waiting for a parked car to move, or for a pedestrian to move outside of the frame, I had to wait for a family of wombats to amble across the lawn. It was very refreshing”.

Luke has been running his own photography business for over fourteen years, and started by shooting weddings and portraits. “In those days I still shot on film. Shooting film is an excellent foundation for any photographer, it teaches you to stop and consider each shot. I think that trait is still very evident in my architectural shots today. Before any shoot I sit down and meticulously plan each shot, even sketching out what I envisage”.


5 Luke Butterly


Luke says that making the decision to move away from a successful wedding and portrait business was “incredibly daunting… but I love to challenge myself, and I feel that this is the right direction for me”. He says that making the switch to photographing architecture full-time has, “definitely been my career highlight so far”.


3 Luke Butterly


2 Luke Butterly


Luke says that some of his points of creative inspiration are the work of Bas Princen, Julius Shulman and Helene Binet. “I have a growing photo book collection which started as a curious hobby, and is now a little bit of an obsession. I reckon I spend, on average, thirty minutes a day looking through one or two of them. Sometimes I’m looking at composition, or the way a shot has been lit. But sometimes I just use it to bring some calmness to my day… the photographs bring me back to basics”.

Luke shares the studio where he edits his work with architects, and says that he loves being surrounded by other creatives. “I never underestimate the value of chats around the water cooler. It’s so important to stay up to date with developments in the industry”.


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For the future, Luke says he is looking forward to, “More travel! When you have your own business it’s easy to become obsessed with work. It’s so important to get out and see the world”. In terms of the direction of his career, Luke says he finds inspiration in the quote from photographer Alec Soth; “If you want to be a creative person, then you’re going to have to be creative in how you put your career together. There isn’t a path. Part of the creativity is making your own path”.