Photographing Classic Spiral Stairways and Other Cool Staircases

Six Steps to Dynamic Designs

by Kerry Drager

Light and Shadow 1b
Light and Shadow 1b
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Tips for Photographying Classic Spiral Stairways and Other Cool Staircases

1) Keep your viewpoint options open by experimenting with camera angles. When shooting classic spiral stairways, for example, try pointing your camera upward from below, then downward from above.

2) Be ready to work with light and shadow, too, especially when shooting next to a window or outdoors. You'll likely want low-angled sunlight and perhaps a staircase with interesting railings.

3) Use a short lens for a unique perspective, but remember the key to wide-angle success: Move in really close to the foreground in your scene! In those situations, you may also need to use a small aperture (large f/stop number) in order to attain a deep depth of field - the range of sharp focus from foreground to background in your final image.

Railing & Stairway 1a
Railing & Stairway 1a
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved
4) Choose a zoom or telephoto lens to zero in on the zigzag patterns or the curving lines of classic spiral stairways or outside staircases.

5) Consider a tripod for handling the slow shutter speeds resulting from photographing in subdued indoor or late-day light - or from striving for the highest image quality (with a low ISO) or the greatest DOF (via a small lens opening).

6) For inspiration, don't miss BetterPhoto's Classic Spiral Stairways and Staircase Pictures gallery.





About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Photography Instructor: Kerry Drager
Kerry Drager is a professional photographer, teacher and writer who is also the co-author of two books: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light. He has taught many photography courses (online and in person), seminars and field workshops.

Be sure to check out Kerry's website - www.kerrydrager.com.

Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.

Also follow Kerry on Facebook, where he posts photos several times a week that include shooting tips and thoughts.

Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.