Shooting Stairways Page 2

Of course, stairways located outdoors are best captured in natural lighting conditions. But many photogenic staircases are indoors, which creates lighting challenges for the photographer with a simple compact camera. You may want to shoot by the room's ambient light, whether it's illuminated by windows or lamps. If you're photographing stairways indoors, the light level is low and you'll need a tripod or another way to brace your camera. If you don't have a tripod, placing your camera on a sturdy railing may be a good solution.

A person climbing the stairs can add visual interest to the scene.
Reader photo by Mel Sharp, Dallas, TX

If the room is lit by windows, look at the stairway during different times of the day and plan to take pictures when the sunlight illuminating the stairway appears most flattering. Also, if you're relying on natural light, you'll want to use film in the ISO 400--1600 range, or set your digital camera accordingly. Your other alternative is to use fill-flash if you want to highlight a detail.

Since people use stairways, don't overlook the option of including a human element in your photos. A well-placed person walking up a stairway (or even zooming in on his/her feet) can add greatly to your visual statement.

An interesting angle and the dog at the top of the stairs makes for a striking shot.
Reader photo by Mary Ann St. Charles, Arcadia, IN

Readers are encouraged to submit photos to our monthly Point & Shoot HomeWork Assignment feature. Please see the table of contents for the location of the entry coupon, which lists topics and more details.