The Allure of Door and Window Photography



Why is Door and Window Photography so Fascinating ?

Why does Door and Window Photography interest me?

Old buildings always fascinate me, particularly doors and windows. While walking around the streets of a town or city, and even in midst of busiest traffic in roads, my eyes always look for doors and windows. Doors and windows aren’t just there to be opened and closed.

These doors and windows speak history, a certain sense of nostalgia and earn admiration. From a historical standpoint, we can understand culture, social structure and antiquity of society. My personal favourite is always old doors and windows, but from a photography point of view, contemporary architecture also invites much passion amongst photographers. 

There are many angles of door and window photography. The subject can be on the outside or inside. The windows in particular create a disjunction between the viewer and the world outside. In window photography, the subject has a role to play in the imagination of the photographer and by capturing that image can tell a story.

There may be many interpretative approaches to it. Through your photograph, you may show the subject being inside the window is weak, and doesn’t want to face the outside world. It is all a symbolic interpretation that a photographer wants to capture through his or her lenses. 

Some tips on doors and windows photography

There is no best time as such because in this age of advanced manipulation of image by Lightroom and Photoshop, you can do almost whatever you want to do with the photographs. However, for genuine photographers the best time is early morning and late afternoon because most of the porches, awnings, doorways are out of the light path and no shadows are present.

Tripods are good to capture the details of images since you are in slow shutter speed. Generally natural light is enough during these hours, but if you are too sensitive about the light, you can use a flash to fill in. 

When a door or window captures your attention, the first thing is to remember about your first impression.
What’s the first thing that caught your attention?
How colours will affect the overall scene?
How about the wall surrounding it, or doors itself?

If you ask yourself these questions before capturing your image, you will add more detail to it.

Another important aspect is to focus on your primary focal point and eliminate all distractions. Keep everything that you want to capture in focus and sharp. This way you can maximize the depth of the field.

After capturing what caught your attention, move back and study the rest of the door or window. Change your position, your angles, get down low, get up high, and look around. You might find that there is more to capture.

Side lighting is also interesting; it will enhance the texture of the door or the window as well as its details.

The use of a tripod is usually required to capture the details of doors and windows, since you will be shooting with a medium to slow shutter speed. Usually natural light is adequate, but if you are not using a tripod you might need a flash to fill in.

When capturing images of doors and windows, take your time. The door and the window aren’t going anywhere.

Tips on How to Photograph Doors


  1. Take a few steps back and use a lens with a longer focal length. It’s much better to shoot from across a road using a slightly longer lens than close using a wide lens. There is much less distortion and it helps you achieve a better framing of the image.
  2. Work in the best light. It’s often tempting to shoot doorways in bright conditions but direct light will cause you a problem. Doors tend to be set back in their frames which then cast shadows. Often having the door in shade or shooting on an overcast day will produce better results.
  3. Shoot with the camera in RAW format. If you do find you need to shoot a door with bright light falling on it, if you shoot in RAW format you will have more flexibility to control the highlights and shadows.
  4. Try to suggest a story with your image. Photographing a door that’s open and allows a glimpse inside and can send a powerful message.
  5. Frame your image very carefully. Why are you interested in this door? Is it the door or is it the setting of the door?
    You may find that the door itself has little interest but set in its surroundings, it becomes much more interesting.
  6. Select a mid-range aperture. If you’re shooting with a full frame camera, then f/8.0 to f/12.0 is about right. It’s very easy to have too little depth of field and end up with soft edges, especially if you tilt the camera slightly.

You can read more tips on Robin Whalley’s blog Lenscraft

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The Allure of
Door and Window

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