Stained Glass Pictures

9 Easy Tips – Taking Stained Glass Pictures

When traveling abroad you went into these magnificent churches and got in love with their stained glass.  Me to!  Back home, looking at the resulting pictures you have been disappointed.  They were not looking like what you remember when you were on site.  Unfortunately, this is expected.  The dynamic range of these scenes far exceed what modern camera are able to capture.  Moreover, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to keep the symmetry of these masterpieces.

How to take good Stained Glass Pictures?

Here are nine easy tips for better Stained Glass Pictures:

  1. Take your time!  Take the time to look at each of them and ask yourself what so inspiring about the scene.  This additional time you take is a way to tell the long gone master how great his work is;
  2. Stained glass are usually symmetrical.  i.e. they have a perfect geometry.  Should you be at an angle, the end results might look skewed.  This is truer of wide angle lenses used in churches.  Take the time to position yourself at a 90 degrees angle to the stained glass;
  3. Try to keep your camera leveled.  When you tilt your camera, the geometry is skewed.  Try to avoid these converging lines associated with tilting the camera upward.  It is easier to crop the bottom part of a picture than creating additionnal pixels at the top of the image;
  4. If this is not possible, use a program that will help you restore the original geometry.  This image geometry has been restored using Lightroom;
  5. Keep an eye on your histogram.  Should your histogram shows pixels in both extreme of the graph, it is time to think about  HDR.  Make sure you get multiple pictures covering all the histogram from left to right using a tripod or leaning on something to reduce camera shake.  Back home, use a specialized software like NIK HDR Efex Pro 2;
  6. Next in line, look at how saturated the image is.  Sometime, the colors are so saturated that no details remains in some areas.  Stained glass magic is associated to the subtle colored nuances in each piece of glass.  While we are use to increase the saturation, in this case, reducing the saturation is often the solution;
  7. Take a picture of a smaller section.  The amount of details in these master art pieces are just incredible.  You will likely want to remember this also.  Doing so, you’ll honored the hard work done by the artist;
  8. Take a picture of the stained glass in its context like in this article.  To do so, you will certainly need to push the boundaries in terms of HDR.  However, understanding the context surrounding the art piece create additionnal value;
  9. « Stained Glasses » refer to the subtle nuances associated with the lead used in soldering together each pieces.  The lead create these rich nuances.  Make sure your picture do justice the the stained glass by recording these imperfection that are part of the perfection.

I can wait to see your own Stained Glass Pictures.

Stained Glass PicturesShould you be unsure about HDR, please look at this tutorial.  HDR is easier than you think.