Final tips from our professional photographer for taking pictures of castles
Get there early
If you’re shooting at dawn, you need to arrive at the scene well before sunrise. In any new location, make sure you have time to explore, and to find the best camera angles. You’ll find this easier and quicker if you do a recce without your camera and tripod, as you can move more quickly and try different options more easily.
Try black and white
It’s important not to over-plan your shoots or ignore other subjects or approaches as they present themselves. Oliver took this shot of Bamburgh Castle from the car park, and in colour it made a pleasant picture-postcard scene.
But the detail in the sky and the strong architectural line means it looked fantastic as a moody black-and-white shot when converted to mono back home.
Frame the horizon in different places
One of the first things you need to consider with the composition of a landscape is where to place the horizon. There are three popular options.
First, you can obey the rule of thirds and place the horizon a third of the way down the frame. Second, you can have the horizon halfway down – great for stressing symmetry of reflections, or creating a sense of harmony.
Finally, you can put the horizon a third of the way up the frame, which works well when the sky is dramatic and the foreground lacks any interest – as in this this view from Bamburgh beach.
But you also want to vary where you put the horizon. The more traditional approach is to put the skyline a third of the way down the frame, but don’t do this all the time. Sometimes it pays to cut the foreground or sky out of a shot altogether!
Use an ND Grad filter
Invest in a graduated neutral density filter! An ND grad filter makes it easier to balance the exposure for your shot. You’ll gain more colour in the sky, pick out more detail in the clouds and see into the shadows on the ground.
Mark the shots you like
Most people take a good look at their pictures just after they’ve shot them, either on location or on their way home. But then they have to go through the same selection process when they get back to base, to find their favourites from the shoot.
Chris has a clever way of marking his picks as he goes through his images in the field. He simply presses the Lock key (the button marked with the key symbol on the back of the camera) to mark each shot he likes.
This not only ensures that the photo can’t be deleted accidentally, it also means his favourites can be relocated quickly with his editing software.
Tides wait for no man
The causeway to Holy Island is only accessible at low tide. The water rises fast, and vehicles do occasionally get stuck halfway across. It’s worth paying attention to the timetables and warnings!
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Castle photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear for pictures of castles
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day