Castles make very powerful, imposing photography subjects. These grand buildings are usually set in a stunning landscape, and are full of detail and character. They also have a dark side, due to their often grizzly history, which you can exploit in your shots.
Unfortunately, capturing a castle's impressive nature isn't always easy. Their sheer size can make them difficult to photograph effectively, and it is also very easy to fall into the trap of shooting clichéd compositions which you've seen a hundred times before.
However, by putting a little more thought into your castle photography, you will be able to snap some unique and engaging photos, showing your subject in a new way, or focusing on the small details which are all too easy to miss.
Show the Surroundings
Castles are very grand, lavish buildings, and that sense of grandeur often extends into the surroundings. Perhaps your castle sits overlooking miles of rolling hills, or maybe it is surrounded by an impressive moat.
Including some of the surrounding scenery in your castle photography helps to give your castle some context, giving the viewer a better idea of what the area is like, and allowing them to imagine the sort of person who might once have lived there.
Look For Interesting Details
Castles are crammed full of fascinating objects which make great photographing subjects in their own right. Common examples are decorative gargoyles, intricate carvings, and rusting cannons.
Be on the lookout for these interesting features, as they can add real character to your castle photography. Don't feel that every shot has to show the entire building - sometimes the best castle photos are those that are zoomed right in to show an interesting and easily overlooked detail.
Capture the Atmosphere
Sunrise and sunset are perfect times for castle photography. The low, directional lighting really brings out the details in the castle walls, and the vivid colours add drama to the scene.
Early mornings can be a great time to photograph your castle surrounded by mist. This gives it an eerie, ghost-like feel.
A symmetrical composition conveys a feeling of power and importance, which is ideally suited to imposing buildings such as castles.
Castles are full of opportunities to photograph a symmetrical composition - archways and entrances are a particular favourite of mine because they invite the viewer to wonder what they might find on the other side.
Use a Wide Angle
Using a wide angle lens for castle photography serves two important purposes.
Firstly, from a purely practical side, a wide angle lens makes it easier to fit a large castle into your photograph without having to chop off the tops of towers.
Secondly, from a creative point of view, a wide angle lens skews the perspective, breaking up the rigid square lines, giving your castle a slightly distorted, sinister appearance.