The art of taking pictures of abandoned buildings has recently become an art. There is some history that needs to be displayed for all to see, and the photographer who can bring out that history, the stories of these buildings, can truly become an artist. As you walk through these old buildings, you have to develop an eye for what has happened here in these old buildings. What can you see that can tell a story here. And then the question is: should you take a picture of it in color or black and white. Black and white will make it seem like you were there at the time the building was alive.
Before you go taking photos of abandoned buildings I want to give you some tips of what you need, or need to do before going to do this type of photography. Let’s start from the beginning:
- Taking pictures of abandoned buildings requires some preparation before you go. Think for a moment what you are getting into. Let’s look at some of the issues of an abandoned building, or even a ghost town:
A- These buildings are going to be dirty and dusty. Plan on bringing lens cleaning cloths, blower brushes, whatever you need to keep your camera clean.
B- Chances are you might be in dark and dreary places, so bring your tripod. And don’t think you will wing it or just shoot at a higher ISO. Sharper pictures look nicer when done on a Tripod.
C- Do bring a flashlight or light with you so don’t end up falling through a floor that isn’t there or nails that are on the floor. Getting a new tetanus shot isn’t fun. Make sure you can find your way.
D- Bring a friend. It is not wise to do this alone. It’s like hiking into a wilderness area. You shouldn’t do that alone either, and you shouldn’t go into abandoned buildings alone either.
2- CAPTURE NEGLECT
This is the time to show how neglect has taken a toll on the building:
A- Show abandoned dining rooms and tables where the family once gathered
B- Show how there are now cracks and fissures in the walls that have developed with the passage of time:
C- See if any ceilings or floors have fallen and have now created a void:
3- SEEK NATURAL LIGHT FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT:
Natural light can be the best source to portray the mood in an abandoned building. Artificial light may not allow you to really capture the feeling that an abandoned building possesses. Find a soft, natural light source with some penetrating sunbeams. Such light adds ethereal vibes to your images.
4- LOOK FOR SYMMETRY:
Human beings are “programmed” to love symmetry. A symmetrical distribution of elements in your frame can draw the viewer’s attention to your image. Try shooting down the center point for a near mirror mage.
5- CAPTURE NATURE:
In a way, it can almost be devastating, or comical depending on how you look at it, but, some abandoned buildings have been abandoned so long that nature has taken over some of it, and mother nature has added some of it’s own. It is always interesting to get some pictures of that as well:
6- INCLUDE STAIRCASES IF AVAILABLE:
Some homes have unique staircases, some are ordinary, but, whatever the case is, you should get a photo of the staircase. Get a closeup of the staircase if it happens to be ornate:
7- FOR OLD BUILDINGS SHOOT IN BLACK AND WHITE:
Shooting in black and white gives the photo a more aged look. If you have the ability to add a little sepia tone, then that is nice as well.
How do you shoot in black and white? Check your camera settings, or this is something you can do in post production.
Taking photos of abandoned buildings, ghost towns is something really rewarding. It is an art form that you will find a lot of out in the West of the United States. Good Photographers can get some really good photos that truly bring back the old wild, wild west. They tell a story by the way they capture the photo. Be different and capture these photos at different angles so that you can get some good story lines to your photos. Take a look at some photographers that take a lot of photos like this. If you are interested in finding a photographer to follow, leave your email or comment below.
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