Castles inspire awe and wonder. They leave us breathless, and sometimes so do photos of them. However, many photos of popular castles, such as Eilean Donan Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle, tend to be heavily edited, making the castles seem dreamy and surreal. Well, there is no need to exaggerate the colours of the sunset or the size of the moon to produce a stunning photo of a castle. You don’t need fancy camera equipment, either.
My Photography Tips post series is about sharing creative ideas for producing interesting shots. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading my first blog post in the series, which contains basic tips for taking better photos
. In this blog post, I share my tips for taking beautiful photos of castles.
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland.
1. Frame the castle within its surroundings
We often get so excited about exploring a castle’s beautiful chambers and secrets corridors that we tend to overlook its surroundings. I normally can’t wait to get inside. In fact, I prefer exploring the castle first, then spending some time afterwards wandering through the castle grounds and taking photos of the castle from different spots. It’s easy to get carried away taking close-up shots of the castle and forget about taking long-shot photos.
Take a walk around the castle and make sure to frame it within its surroundings, even if it’s located bang in the middle of a city. Also, try to explore different angles and viewpoints – perhaps you could climb up a hill, or cross to the other side of the river for a nicer shot. Remember, good composition is key is crucial to getting beautiful photos. Use objects or structures, such as bridges or paths, to lead the eye into the scene.
Bran Castle, Romania.
2. Study the walls
The walls of castles can tell many stories. One of the things I normally do when visiting old buildings is look for etchings in walls – dates, names, symbols, etc. Even faded frescoes and old paint make for an interesting shot. Zoom on anything that catches your eye and let that little detail tell its story.
Eltz Castle, Germany.
3. Look up!
This might sound a bit obvious, but always make sure to point your camera upwards, especially when you find yourself in a courtyard or a beautiful chamber. Get a shot of that stunning ceiling, or the intricate architecture of those towers. Remember not to use your flash if the room is dimly lit or if part of the castle is swathed in shadows as it will ruin your shot.
Craigmillar Castle, Scotland.
4. Pay attention to light and shadows
The best way to capture a castle’s eerie beauty is to use natural light (or lack of) to your advantage. Ideally, you should try visiting a castle at golden hour for those dramatic shadows and stunning contrasts that bring out architectural details. If it’s an overcast day, consider shooting in black and white to amplify the mood.
Alcazar de Segovia, Spain.
5. Be patient… very patient
We all want to get beautiful shots without any awfully dressed tourists in them. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time editing out people, then you have to be patient. Wait for people to move away or explore different angles and perspectives rather than remaining in the same spot until there are no more people in sight (which might never happen).
The photos in this blog post were taken with my Canon EOS 1200D
, which I bought in 2015 and is still going strong, despite having been dropped in snow and mud multiple times.
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