Pictures as windows to the past

Sunday is World Photography Day. Take notes of the do’s and don’ts to be followed when clicking heritage spots

When you look beyond all the glass and steel that makes up Bengaluru now, you will see remnants of a glorious past — most visibly in its heritage sites.

Not only are these gateways to the yesteryears, but they also serve as picturesque muses. However, a certain level of skill is needed to bring out the antique charm.

With World Photography Day on Sunday, Metrolife spoke to a few photographers in the city to learn some tricks of the trade.

Travel photographer Satish Singh says, “Heritage spots are one of my favourite places to photograph. The architecture is just amazing; but the picture should make you think more about the place you only heard about till then.”

He says that the best way to approach it is to research to know the best season and time to visit, the kind of approvals required and the equipment one is allowed to carry.

“Some of my best heritage shots are from Hampi. Though a major part of it is in ruins, the place hasn’t lost its charm. Many a time, I just put my camera aside to enjoy the beauty of the place,” Satish shares.

Photographer Anoop Nharakkottuthodi says that human elements in the picture help tell a story better. “Even if it is a landscape shot, a human element tells more than just what the building has to convey.”

The lens that you use is crucial when shooting a historic location. A view of Taj Mahal captured by Anoop Nharakkottuthodi
The lens that you use is crucial when shooting a historic location. A view of Taj
Mahal captured by Anoop Nharakkottuthodi

The lens that you use also matter when you’re shooting the historic locations. Anoop explains, “Depending on what kind of a shot you’re looking for, you can either choose to use a wide angle lens or a portrait one. Your perspective is what helps the story, so use it wisely.”

As most heritage spots are thronged by tourists, the best time for a photographer to go is either early morning or late evening. “If you go during peak hours, you might not be able to capture exclusive images — you’ll mostly end up taking the same pictures others also get. Go when it is not too crowded and experiment as much as you can. Make use of natural light as much as possible.”

Having said that, there are places that have certain rules and regulations that one must follow.

Bengaluru-based photographer Guru Charan requests everyone to follow official directions. “Research about the place you are heading to so you know the kind of equipment you can carry and if any prior permission is required,” says Guru.

Research is necessary to capture the essence of a heritage spot. A picture of Belur Temple taken by Guru Charan
Research is necessary to capture the essence of a heritage spot. A picture of Belur Temple taken by Guru Charan

The best time to shoot heritage spots are during festivals, says Guru.
“Each monument has some sort of significance when it comes to festivals. Learn more about that, find out what type of clothing is allowed during the time, blend in with the crowd and respect their traditions and culture.”

Things to remember

  • Research about the heritage spot before you visit. 
  • Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to capture extraordinary images. 
  • When it is too crowded you can shoot from the bottom angle. This way you can shoot just the building and the sky without getting the crowd in the frame. 
  • Don’t damage the place or the art. Writing your names on walls, breaking bricks and leaving plastic waste is not good practice. 
  • Carry different lens for varied kinds of photographs.
  • If you are planning to use a drone, make sure to take prior permission. Most heritage spots don’t allow drones.
  • Respect the rules.

Same rules for all

“Photographers want to capture images others haven’t. But certain places don’t allow cameras inside even though they will let you carry selfie stick and phone. There is mostly a payment involved in it too. It would be best if the rules are the same for everyone — either let everyone take pictures or don’t at all,” opines Guru Charan.

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Pictures as windows to the past

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