Eleven tips for taking great photographs

The cottage at Stoneywell in autumn light

There are some great days out and experiences to be had at the places we care for and what better way to preserve those memories for years to come, than with a photo?

Capturing the scene on camera can sometimes be a bit tricky so we asked some of our keen amateur photographers to share some top tips for getting the perfect shot.

Take advantage of winter sunlight
The parkland at Kedleston, low sunlight
  1. Always carry a camera if you can, you never know when you will spot something.

  2. Winter provides late sunrises, early sunsets and the architecture of leafless trees.  If you get a good or dramatic day in winter, wrap up warm and get out there!  

  3. Change the frame:  By zooming in and out, and moving left and right, you can experiment removing things from the frame that don’t compliment or distract from the main subject.

  4. The rule of thirds:  Imagine the frame is divided into thirds, horizontally and vertically.  Place important features where these imaginary lines cross.

  5. Take your time to set up the shot and be patient, wait for the right light or the right person to move into (or out of) the frame.

  6. Learn a bit more about your subject by talking to a National Trust ranger or staff member. Then try to describe the subject in your image instead of words

  7. If there is low light you might need a slower shutter speed so take a tripod or lean on a wall or tree to brace yourself and avoid camera shake.

  8. When photographing children or animals, get down to their level, photos look so much better when you are face to face with them.

  9. Make sure you know where the light is coming from. It's best to have the light behind you or on either side for most shots.

  10. Don’t be afraid to crouch or lie down to get your picture, so don’t wear your best clothes when going out to take photos.

  11. Always have fun and don't take it too seriously when you start out. If you enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to stick at it and want to learn more.

There’s always something new to photograph at National Trust places, from quirky objects, windswept moorlands and grand imposing buildings, to the best of British wildlife, colourful flowers and family adventures.  Hopefully these suggestions will help you to create lasting images of some fantastic memories.

" When photographing children or animals, get down to their level, photos look so much better when you are face to face with them."
- Jana Eastwood

Tips supplied by:
Jana Eastwood - Volunteer photograher at Charlecote House
Susan Guy - Visitor Experience Assistant and keen photographer at Stoneywell
Gillian Day LRPS - Volunteer photographer at Calke Abbey
Giles Warhurst - Building Surveyor and keen photographer