Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Photography Fascination about Doors & Windows

There is something about doors and windows.  Doors and windows tell us so much about the streets, about history, about culture and they are everywhere.  Doors and windows are big, small, plain, colorful, old, new, modern, antique, they come in all shapes and forms.  Sometimes you will find open doors and windows, sometimes closed, with or without people, and even some times the door or the window are gone, but you know where they were suppose to be. 

Doors and windows beg us to be opened.  You are supposed to open doors and walk through them.  You are supposed to open windows and let the breeze come through.  Doors and windows are intriguing and fascinating.

Doors and Windows are there and they are full of patterns, textures and designs.  They call us to be photographed.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.  Some are huge and some are intimidating, some are small and just there.  Some doors and windows are famous and some are also art forms.  These and more certainly bring the fascination of capturing images of doors and windows.

Capturing an image of a door or a window might seem like an easy task.  What can be so difficult about it, they are flat, so nothing to worry about ‘Depth of Field’.  They do not move, so nothing to worry about ‘Shutter Speed’.  But wait, doors and windows too have their challenges.

Most of the times doors and windows try to avoid the sun, they are patiently waiting under awnings, doorways, trees… oh, shadows.  Sun might be hitting them, so there is reflection, that you might not like or that you might want to take advantage of.  Doors and windows in the shade tend to have a cool, low, blue tone light, so sometimes the use of warming filters come into place.

As with most photographs, early morning and late afternoon is the best time to shoot doors and windows, not only due to the warmth of the light but also because porches, awnings, doorways, are out of the light path and no shadows are present.  Side lighting is also interesting it will enhance the texture of the door or the window as well as its details.

The use of the tripod is usually required to capture the details of doors and windows, since you will be shooting in medium to slow shutter speed.  Usually natural light is adequate but if you are not using a tripod then you might need a flash to fill in.

When you find a door or a window that you want to capture.  First thing is to remember your first impression, think about it and review it.  What was it that caught your attention?  The color of the door or window, the overall scene, the wall surrounding it, to door or window itself, the doorknob, the texture, or the window drapes.  What ever it was, make sure you capture that detail, without it the image might loose its magic.

Another important point to focus on is to move in close enough to remove all distractions and isolate your main focal point, the one that caught your attention.  Watch the light and keep the back of your camera parallel to the door or window to keep everything sharp and in focus, maximizing the depth of field as well. 

If what caught your attention was the texture, rusting, peeling paint, the carvings, then move in closer and consider using a macro lens, you really want to capture as much detail as possible.  Side lighting can accentuate those details, use the shadows to add depth to the texture, capture an image in two dimensions.

Doorknobs are interesting details to capture.  Depth of Field plays an important part in your image composition.  If you want to capture the whole knob then use a smaller aperture so that everything is in focus, if you want to capture only the end of the knob and blur the back of it, then use a larger aperture.  Think about other distracting elements involved in doorknobs, like keyholes and other highlights, make sure you know what you want your image to look like.

After capturing what caught your attention, move back and study the rest of the door or the window.  Change your position, your angles, get down, get high and look around.  You might find that there is more, capture different perspectives your choices are fascinating.

When capturing images of doors and windows take your time, remember the door and the window are going nowhere.  


  1. You KNOW this is one of my favorite subjects! Keep the posts coming! I look forward to them over and over again!! :)

  2. Great looking doors - I especially like the ones with bright blue sky and clouds beyond. We just got back from Morocco and I wish I'd had your experience there b/c doors/window are a main photographic theme there what with the blank Moorish walls and people who don't want to be photographed.

  3. My experience in Morocco is that with dirhams they will do what ever you want.

  4. For so long I kept my passion for doors and windows to myself. I guess I knew there were millions who felt the same...the beauty of them (looking out and looking in), the various meanings to us, the variety all around the world. When I was a little girl, the curiousity about the lives on the other side of the doors and windows was alsost too much!! Ah, the wonder of what they mean to us as time passes! Thanks to the photographers.