Because we love photography we spend a lot of time looking at photography. Studying others peoples work can really be helpful tool. Now I'm going to say this up front, This doesn't mean you should look at who is successful and try and copy what their doing. You need to find the shooting style that works best for you. There are many things you can take away from studying other peoples work regardless of the genre. Studying architectural imagery is no exception. The obvious place to start is the lighting. Is it natural or strobe/hot lights. How is the lighting being used; is it filling the room with a soft glow or is it moody and sexy? The type of space can also determine the style of the lighting used. Is it a modern home with lots of large windows and natural lighting or is it an hold victorian home with dark wood and moody features?
From here we can move on to the composition of the photography. How wide is the photographer shooting or how much is the photographer trying to fit into the photo? Is the photographer trying to tell a story by what he or she has composed in the shot? How high is the camera mounted on the tripod? Also is the photographer shooting over the top of anything such as a table or the back of a couch?
Good styling and propping are important to the quality of you final shot. Many times there's not always going to be a budget to have a professional stylist on set so its up to you the photographer to make the room look good. Things to take away from looking at other peoples images are whether or not the room has a clean and tidy look or are they going for more of a lived in lifestyle feel. Are there keys and a mans hat sitting on a table next to a cup of coffee or a news paper or is the table perfectly set for a dinner party of six? Are the pillows on the couch karate chopped and is there use of a throw blanked? Are candles used to create ambiance? As a side note most hotels don't allow guest to burn candles in their rooms so oftentimes they don't like candles to appear in their photographs.
When it comes to the exterior picking the right angle and height are key. Often times your client will have certain features that are more important than others and this will determine how much of the structure you show and what side of it you are shooting. If your subject is a home, is the driveway clean of leaves and debris? Are all the lights on both indoors and out? Some times getting up hight can make a world of difference in cleaning up the composition of you shot from distractions. We will often times mount the tripod on a 12 foot ladder for some extra height. It's certainly possible to get to high on occasion and the results can be less that desirable. You would rarely want to put yourself above the roof line of the first floor of a home. So sit down with a cup of coffee and start studying.