Shooting Barns…At least how *I* do it.


BARN IN MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
BARN IN MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, a photo by Jeffrey Jones on Flickr.

People love barn pictures and hence they are a common subject for photographing. I spent a good deal of time roaming the Illinois countryside scouring for dynamic farm settings to shoot. Over time I came up with, at least in my opinion, a consistent and dynamic style for my barn imagery. I am going to share my “trade secrets” with you.

1. The sky needs take a significant amount of space in the picture.

2. The sky MUST have great looking clouds. There is no one type, shape or pattern that I can recommend because they all add something different to the picture. Without clouds don’t bother taking the picture.

3. Do not shoot a barn straight on. Generally I shoot at the corners of the buildings giving view to two sides of the barn at the same time.

4. Get low. Real low. This angle adds to the majesty of these old buildings by treating them like skyscrapers. The key stoning effect adds to the vibrancy of the picture.

5. Shoot wide-angle. While it may cause a fair amount of distortion but often it does not distract from the photo but even may enhance it.

6. Convert the photos to black and white. This is especially true for unpainted and dilapidated building because the black and white treatment gives the subject a bit more dignity.

7. Go for high-contrast when processing the image. No matter what technique you choose, strive for dark darks and bright whites, without blowing out the highlights or the shadows.

8. Shoot with a circular polarizer. You want the blue sky to be as dark as you can get it. At the right time of the day and at the right angles, a circular polarizer provides amazing results.

Your mileage may vary….let me know these principles work for you.

Barn Picture

Barn in open field


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