For me, photography and travel go hand-in-hand and one of my favorite subjects while I am roaming the streets and back alleys of Europe are doors and windows.
My professional photographic career began in the early 1990s when I began selling my fine art photography at art shows and gift galleries across the USA. My main photographic subjects were colorful doors and windows in Mediterranean Europe and Latin America. I have since evolved to adding landscapes to my repertoire but I still seek out and enjoy photographing doors and windows on our European travels and Photo Tours.
So what is the fascination so many of us have with photographing doors and windows all about? I have heard numerous people surmise that the intrigue lies in the question of the mystery of what is BEHIND those doors and windows. Perhaps there’s truth to that. For Magrit and me it’s also the simple fact that the facade of a building featuring a door or a window, or better yet, a door and window together can be an amazing opportunity to skillfully capture a great composition especially if the colors are pleasing.
We view the doors and windows not so much as literal “doors and windows” but rather as objects of shape and color that we hope to frame in such a way that we end up with a great composition. When all the elements come together to make it happen, I find myself “smiling like a dog in a pickup truck” (a favorite quote from Annie Proulx’s Shipping News) before moving on to the next photographic opportunity.
Often, in a small village or the hidden neighborhood of a city we’ll come across some interesting and colorful house facades. In a way, it’s like mushroom hunting — once you find one good shroom, your eyes become more focused and conditioned and you usually find more nearby.
I can’t think of any destination that we travel to on our Photo Tours that doesn’t present us with wonderful doors and windows be it in The Netherlands, Provence, Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, or Croatia.
For Photographing Doors and Windows
Look for Open Shade
I prefer capturing most of these images in Open Shade, which is a lovely soft light, similar to the type of light studio photographers create with softboxes and umbrellas. The colors really pop and there are no distracting shadows. I sometimes break this rule and look for Warm Sidelight, which can create a very pleasing contrast on a textured surface.
For Photographing Doors and Windows
Compose wider for the ability to crop later
I have a pet peeve about keeping lines in architectural photography straight. Especially vertical lines. To me, if these lines are not straight, it smacks of being just a snapshot. Of course, this is not always true as sometimes exaggerated non-straight lines can add to the composition.
How to get from this to…
When you point your camera upwards or downwards, the vertical lines converge which can be very distracting. The solution to this problem is to use a much wider focal length and to straighten out those converging lines with post-processing software. I use Lightroom or Photoshop to do this. When you straighten the lines in your photo with software, you’ll be forced to crop some of the image, therefore the need to shoot wide. In case this sounds confusing, I have included a short screen share video below to demonstrate.
We have an exciting line-up of photo tours for 2021 for both spring/summer and fall. You can check us out at Photography Travels Tours. Please be safe and mask up so we can get back to normal sooner than later.
Jim & Magrit
If you like this article and want to learn more post production tricks, sign up for a private session with Jim.
|Jim and Magrit have been photographing professionally and traveling in Europe for the past 20 years.|
They started Photography Travel Tours in 2011 with the goal of educating and guiding photographers to some of the most beautiful and iconic scenes in Europe.
The tours are not just about getting great photographs but also have the side benefits of doing so in wonderful environments. Great food, wine, people, and ambiance.
Read more about Jim & Magrit and their wonderful photo tours here: (http://photographytraveltours.com/about/).
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.