#1. Do your homework before visiting a building
A lot of Historical buildings are taken care of and some are open to visit, so it is easy to find information about them either online or at the site itself and in tourist information centers. Once you choose a building, you should spend some time checking the activities/events that the building holds, opening hours…etc. Knowing these details will help you to decide the best moment for you to go.
#2. Take your tripod with you to avoid blurry photos
Using the tripod is always a good thing when you are taking photos of architecture. Some of these buildings can be quite dark, so if you want to take a photo during sunset for example (usually the golden light in this time creates a beautiful effect on this type of buildings), you might find it necessary to use low shutter speed, for which a tripod will be handy. In addition, some of these buildings, because they are interesting to the public, are illuminated at night. If you want to capture them at night, you will need again to use long exposure photography. Having a tripod grants you more stability and lessens camera shaking and blur.
#3. If using a tripod is not an option, there is always an alternative
Keep in mind, using a tripod is not always possible. If the building is open to the public and there is a respectable amount of people visiting, setting a tripod might obstruct the passage for other visitors and cause an inconvenience. For that reason, tripods are not allowed in some Historical buildings (this is another good reason to get information about the building in advance). If you can’t use a tripod, look for an alternative approach in order to avoid blurry photos! You can increase the ISO to keep the shutter speed higher (remember that increasing ISO means adding noise to the image). Or you can look for tripod alternatives like monopods, a wall or even setting the camera on the floor (or on any other stable surface).
#4. Historical buildings look great in classically composed shots
Historical buildings look great when shot from conservative perspectives because they are usually quite balanced and symmetric. Leading lines and symmetry will work really well with this type of buildings:
#5. Try exploring new perspectives to give diversity to your images
I know I just said how well the conventional/classical perspectives fit historical buildings… but that doesn’t mean you should not explore a little (or a lot), otherwise you can end up with a complete collection of photos that look all the same. I usually take photos in more than one style, it helps me to not feel restricted and also makes my collections interesting to more people. In the case of a Historical building, having both classical and unorthodox perspectives can be a great option.
#6. If the building doesn´t fit in the frame, make it look even bigger
Maybe you are in the same situation as I am and you don´t own a wide angle lens and/or a full sensor camera that allows you to fit big buildings in a single frame. When I find myself in this situation, my go-to solution is to make panoramas. The downside of it is that taking a panorama is not always possible (you are in a hurry for some reason, or you needed a tripod and you don´t have it with you for example). In these situations, I change my mindset. I let go of the idea of capturing the entire building and I focus on getting a photo (or photos) of that building that will convey the feeling that the building has more to it than seen in the photo. So I choose a part of the building, usually the top part, and I try to emphasize the distortion to make it look huge and important. You can do this by lowering the shooting point (kneeling down or even lying on the floor if you don’t mind getting dirty). This increases the tension of the photo, adding some interest on it.
#7. Take some photos of decorations and details
Many times historical buildings are full of details that add to their story and atmosphere. Take advantage of that and include them in your photos. Take some close ups of the decorations, or of statues. This will add diversity to your shots and they will tell a bit more about the building. Having a small collection of photos from the whole building and some details will be a great way to show the building to anybody that has not been there.
#8. Include some hints in the image
Some historic buildings are not so widely known, so adding some hints of where they are located might add to the story. A flag, letters, people dressed in popular clothes and so on. These are examples of details that can be easily related to a country or region
#9. Keep in mind that some of these buildings are extremely meaningful to people
Some buildings have a strong emotional baggage associated with them. A good example is religious buildings. If you want to take photos there, be Especially respectful of the people around you. They might be praying or in any other type of intimate spiritual moment, so don´t make them feel uncomfortable with your camera. Read the rules of the place or ask, if you don´t see them written anywhere, to make sure you can take photos. Follow all the other rules, such as dressing code and times.
#10. A film look can make your photo more original
Some historic buildings look really nice if you edit them to look like in a film. Photos of the really well known monumental structures can sometimes look too touristic to my taste. In these cases I like to edit them to look like old style photos, it is a way to give them a nostalgic look.
I hope my article will be helpfull to you, feel free to write any comment or question. Have a happy shooting!