Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need some helpful advice for for an onsite shoot coming up. We are going to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. We are going to be there for almost an entire day. What I need is advice on what to look for. Obviously the architecture is amazing. So I know to get some grounds and structure. There will be models but I'm not sure how they will be dressed or who will have access to them at what times. I will have 2 lenses. An 18-55 mm and a 75 - 300 mm. I have 3 filters for each lens. CPL, ND, and a polarizer. We are allowed to bring tripods and minimum accessories. Basically what we can carry and that's it. So if anyone has photographed any dilapidated historical buildings and has some advice, it will be very appreciated.

share|improve this question
This is highly dependent on what you intend to use the images for - is this a pre-arranged shoot as part of a school/university course? – Digital Lightcraft Aug 13 '12 at 15:54
I believe this location is pretty picky about photography (specifically use of images) -- hopefully you've already cleared / approved your shoot. – D. Lambert Aug 13 '12 at 16:21
Do you want photos to look artistic (soft/ethereal) or like a documentary (sharp)? – Matthew Whited Aug 13 '12 at 17:08
Whoever downvoted this needs to stop being a jerk, it's a perfectly good question – user9817 Aug 14 '12 at 7:50
@Clara: you need to stop calling people jerks. I didn't downvote, but I can see why someone might have, particularly before I edited the title. Down voting is an important part of the democratic process here. If you disagree, you should a) vote up yourself, b) comment in a positive way offering an explanation beyond "it's a good question", and/or c) edit the question to make it more clear. – mattdm Aug 14 '12 at 12:29
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The basics will apply to pretty much any situation:

Old buildings falling apart tend to have a lot of texture, rust, paint peeling off, old furnature etc that can be used as props. Maybe focus on the contrast between the old and the new? I you know how to do HDR, try that?

Concentrate on: Texture, Strong Verticals/Horizontals, Shadows, Color, Framing etc and Consider B&W for high contrast scenes?

(I know its nothing new and vague, but sometimes you just have to run through these things in your head when you're in the situation to see what would work best?)

share|improve this answer

The simple answer is to photograph whatever catches your 'eye' of interest. Personally I wouldn't be swapping lenses back and forth, just use one for half the time and the other for the rest.

Old, dilapidated buildings tend to be unlit so a good flash with a diffuser would probably be more use than a tripod but that depends on your style of photography more than anything.

If you don't know the place you could do a quick image search for 'Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio' which gives an idea of the type of images that one could get from a visit there.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.