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Photographing closed pubs

Photographing closed pubs - At the rate pubs are closing we'd better photograph them before they all shut their doors for the last time.

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Sadly, many of our pubs have called time on their existence and many are standing boarded up and empty in our towns. Even though we can't go for a pint in them we can take a few photos of them before they get demolished or turned into something else.


If you want to show the closed down pub among the thriving buildings take a wide angle lens with you. A longer lens would also be handy if you have a metal fence to shoot through or to get close to details such as the pub sign or padlocks designed to keep people out.

One of the main problems you may encounter is security fencing to keep unwanted visitors out. If you're shooting a wide shot with more than just the pub in shot the metal barrier won't be a problem but single out the pub and it just becomes a distraction. If there's enough space to poke your lens through get close to the fence and do exactly that. However, if the gaps are just too small use a wider aperture to reduce the depth-of-field and throw the fence out of focus. This should blur it so much you won't see it in your shot. Another problem you'll have is people. If you want it to look like your pub is completely isolated you'll need to visit later in the evening or first thing in the morning when the streets will be emptier. Or try heading out when it's raining or threatening to rain as this will put a lot of people off but the darker skies will give you the opportunity to capture a more gritty shot that emphasises the feeling of neglect and abandonment. If the streets are wet and you can get close to the pub use the puddles as your canvas and photograph the reflection of the dark sky and pub that's fallen into ruin.

If there's a window that's not boarded up have a peek inside to see if anything was left behind. Knocked over tables, curtains falling off and of course the bar are worth a quick snap. You may need a polarising filter to cut out the reflections of the outside world so have one in your bag just in case. Don't forget to snap the pub sign if it's still there and capture a few small details such as peeling paint and broken glass as these are always good to have as textures.

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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