Taking photos inside castles, cathedrals and museums

Author: Gail Bjork

Even if you’re permitted to take photos inside a castle or similar edifice, you may not be allowed to use a flash. If not, make sure you switch the flash from auto mode to off.

You’ll then have to rely on available light, use slower shutter speeds, higher sensitivity (ISO) and keep your camera very steady when shooting.

If necessary, change the white balance setting to match the dominant light source in a room. This prevents your photos from having an orange or other colour cast. When taking photos of shiny objects, or items under glass, shoot at an angle where reflections are minimized. Speaking of glass, don’t miss the opportunities for photographing glorious stained glass windows in cathedrals and abbeys.

Zoom in your lens to capture the rich detail. For optimal exposure, use spot or centre-weighted metering and meter on mid-tone colours in the window.

Take several photos of the same scene or subject, and take some of them at slightly different angles. You’re more likely to get a “keeper.”
Photos by Gail Bjork © 2003-2009 All rights reserved. No photo may be used without prior permission.

Article updated: March 31, 2017

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  • brent /london ky says:

    Just curious, planning first trip to Ireland. Is it alright to photograph people appearing in public places, street side, etc, provided there’s no intent to profit/publish?
    Any light you can shed would be appreciated.

    • Katherine says:

      My understanding, like your’s, is that as long as you are not planning to sell or profit from the pictures it’s fine. Having said that if I was going to do a sort of portrait type shot or something I think I’d ask!

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