Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
Castle Photography - Heading off to photograph one of the many castles in the UK? Have a look at our tips first.
- Tripod – If you're working your way around the outside of the structure you'll need a light tripod, one with a spirit level will help. Manfrotto's 057 Series do feature spirit levels to help you ensure your horizons are straight and the walls are upright. They're also made from carbon fibre which means they won't weigh you down when climbing towers and working your way around the outside walls.
- Pocket Tripod – When you visit some of the UK's castles you'll find a tripod's not allowed to be taken inside which can be a bit of a pain as it's guaranteed to be darker so you'll need slightly longer shutter speeds. Fastening one of Manfrotto's Pocket Series tripods to your DSLR/compact will mean you can find a surface, even if it's uneven, and place your camera on it to keep it still. If you want to photograph something at a higher angle, you can tilt the camera up or down without having to worry about it falling over too. Check out ePHOTOzine's review of the Manfrotto Pocket Series tripod for more information.
- Wide-angle lens – Get all of the castle in one shot.
- Longer lenses – focus in on detail or if the castles further away, use the longer reach to zoom in on the castle so it fills the frame.
- Camera bag – You need bag that will fit all of your kit but not get you stuck when you're trying to navigate small stairwells and working your way through crowds. Manfrotto's Veloce V from their Stile range have room for a tripod inside them which means it won't be banging on walls or hitting other people as you move around.
- ND graduated filter – Help darken bright skies when you're shooting wide, scenic views.
ResearchPre-planning can mean the difference between a successful day of shooting and only returning home with a handful of shots because you spent most of the day walking around trying to find good spots to shoot from. Have a look at how other photographers have shot the castle you're visiting. You should find plenty of advice online but if you're still stuck for ideas, have a quick look in the castle's gift shop for postcards as these should give you plenty of ideas on what angles work and won't don't.
Watch those verticalsIf you're shooting uphill or are closer the the castle walls and are shooting up it can end up looking like the walls are slopping in on your final shot. You can buy lenses specifically designed to stop this but they're expensive so unless you're going to shoot architecture professionally or on a more regular basis, you're better off just correcting the shot in Photoshop after. You can also find a higher spot to shoot from and there should be plenty of windows or tops of towers you can take your photos from.
If the castle has particularly majestic surroundings include it but if your castle now sits surrounded by more modern buildings crop in. For sites where there are only a few walls left standing try some close-up photography. Look for walls that are full of cracks and moss as you'll get a few shots for your texture collection.
Include the surroundings or shoot up close?
Make a frameYou won't be short of windows, doorways and arches that can be turned in to frames for your photos. Just remember to include your 'frame' at the edge of the photo and try and, where possible, shoot straight on so your frame doesn't sit wonky.
Lead the eye inBridges over moats and corridors which seem to stretch on forever can be used to lead the viewer's eye from one point of the shot to another. If they're several archways or columns that line the corridor walls even better as they often form symmetrical patterns that will add further interest to your shot.
InsideIf you can take your tripod inside the castle do as the darker conditions will mean you need longer shutter speeds and you can get shake in your images with you take them hand-held. Stairs curving up and around with the old walls make great subjects but as there's very little light, you may want to try shooting several shots at different exposures and merging them together once you're home. For more tips on HDR take a look at our previous article: HDR Tips.
If it's a particularly busy day longer shutter speeds can help 'remove' some of the tourists from your shot. Or, you could try using a shutter speed that turns the visitor's movement into ghost-like streaks for a more abstract approach.
At larger castles such as Warwick you'll find people in costumes and there are often days when special events such as jousting take place. For tips on photographing re-enactments take a look at our previous articles: Battle re-enactment photography, jousting, living museums.
Find the tripod to suit your needs at www.manfrotto.co.uk.
|See what competitions and other exciting content Manfrotto have on their website: