• Photography Tips and Considerations

  • Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.
Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

  by Otto Vondrak
These tips come from Railpace, the regional newsmagazine that covers railroading in the northeast. We get many submissions to RAILROAD.NET that we have to turn away. Read them over, maybe there is something you missed along the way?

- INSUFFICIENT CAPTION INFO: What's it all about? Please provide detailed caption information, let us know why this photo is special!

- UNSHARP: Photos taken with inexpensive cameras, and photos that are not in focus do not reproduce well. The same goes for digital images that are blown up too large.

- BLURRED: Shoot with a faster shutter speed or use a higher speed film or setting on your digital camera (the ASA/ISO number).

- DUPLICATE: Slides and photos that have been duplicated from the original never reproduce as well.

- COLOR PRINTS: Color prints lack tonal range and are difficult to reproduce as intended.

- OFF COLOR: Some budget processing labs and "Brand-X" films produce poor quality photos.

- THE DREADED "5427" FILM: "Seattle Film Works" type 5247 film, claimed to give both color prints or color slides, is actually color negative film. Slides made from 5427 film are not sharp, are usually high-contrast, and are off-color.

- UNDER EXPOSED: Too dark.

- OVER EXPOSED: Washed out.

- DARK, GRAY WEATHER: Nothing kills a good photo like dark, gray, overcast weather. Sometimes even too dark for black and white photography.

- POOR PHOTO ANGLE: Vantage point needs improvement

- DARK SIDE, OR HIGH SUN: Standing on the wrong side of the sun, or shooting into the sun, or shooting during high sun can all be problems to overcome. Early morning and late evening offer the best opportunities for close-ups and roster shots.


  by MEC407
Crooked photos are a common problem for beginners. If the horizon looks slanted, or if objects that should be perfectly straight (such as tall buildings or utility poles) look like they are leaning to one side, that can ruin the photo. Try to make sure that everything is framed properly in the viewfinder (or on the LCD screen) before taking the picture.

  by RailBus63
A common amateur mistake I see is confusing quantity with quality. Every train or vehicle is photographed no matter what, with too many photos showing poor angles, sometimes with people or objects in the foreground obstructing the main subject. Good photographers learn to be selective and take the time to set up quality images even if it means letting some trains pass by.


  by metman499
I am a big fan of including props in shots, whether that be a milepost, a station, a signal... whatever. It helps people identify with a location and can create a visually more interesting picture. I like to try and watch out for the shadows these props cast though. Nothing ruins a picture like a shadow on part of a unit.