Photographing Historic Buildings

Course summary

Photographing Historic Buildings


Digital cameras have greatly changed the way we record our architectural history, simplifying the process and reducing the cost of image capture thereby encouraging a scatter-gun method of photography. This course will look at ways of taking a more considered approach to the use of our cameras and what we seek to capture.

The course will include the following:

The nature of light and how to use it to capture digital images. The standards that are used in architectural photography. How to set up their own cameras to produce images that are of usable quality in terms of exposure, colour and file type. How to overcome problems encountered in location photography and how to use artificial lighting to enhance the captured image.

A practical session of photography in Oxford city centre where students can create their own images will be followed by a session on post-production showing various techniques used to ensure the quality of the image. The preparation of the image for storage with the inclusion of suitable metadata.   

Who is the course aimed for?

The course is aimed at those who are not professional photographers but have an interest in or need to photograph historic buildings for the record using a digital camera.

Why is it worth these people attending?

Participants will learn the about the importance of light in producing images, choosing the right viewpoint and the equipment and techniques used to ensure a ‘truthful’ image. The treatment of the captured image in post production software and the standards expected for an archive image.  


Places are limited to 12, so early booking is strongly advised.  Please bring your own camera.

Programme details

Wednesday 7 June 2017


9.00am            Registration and coffee


9.30am            Welcome and introduction, followed by the first session discussing the nature and use of light, lighting, cameras and camera settings. Making the image. What to record. Viewpoint, timing, and controlling perspective


11.30am          Coffee/tea


12 noon          Second session.  Practical session in Oxford city centre. Students are encouraged to bring their own cameras to capture some of the many historic buildings


1.00pm            Lunch


2.00pm            Post production techniques and saving the image


2.45pm            Tea /coffee


3.00pm            Practical session in the computer suite where students may work on the post production of their own images


4.45pm            Final discussion and round up


5.00pm            Course concludes



National Occupational Standards for Town Planning/Conservation/Building Control:  Contributes to the performance requirements for COSTPCBC56.1-B5.2 Analyse, research and report on historic and heritage assets in conservation

National Occupational Standards for Archaeology: this course contributes to the Knowledge Requirements for


AB1     Propose and plan a research project



Recommended reading

Langford's Basic Photography: The Guide for Serious Photographers, Paperback – 8 Dec 2015, by Anna Fox (Editor), Richard Sawdon Smith (Editor)

Photographing Historic Buildings with a Digital Camera, By Steve Cole, Historic England (Due early 2017)


Accommodation is not included in the price, but depending on availability it may be possible to stay the night before the course.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email  for details of availability and prices.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.


Tuition (includes coffee/tea): £230.00
Baguette Lunch: £4.40
Hot Lunch: £13.00


Payment of fees must be made in full at the time of booking. Please note that businesses and organisations can be invoiced on provision of a Purchase Order and completed application form. These can be emailed to the CWHE Programme Administrator, email:


Mr Steve Cole

Course Director

Steve Cole, is a professional freelance photographer specialising in architectural photography. He worked for English Heritage for many years and is the author of Photographing Historic Buildings with a Digital Camera (Historic England, 2017)

Derek Kendall


has spent over 40 years guiding his cameras towards a diverse and fascinating variety of architectural and fine art subjects. His images have illustrated over 100 publications. Most recently London Hidden Interiors (Atlantic Publishing.)

Course aims

The course aims to demonstrate the standards and good practice used in the photographic recording of historic buildings using digital cameras. Participants will be shown the techniques and equipment used capturing architectural exteriors, interiors and architectural details. In addition basic post production techniques to correct image faults will be shown and practised along with the suitable storage standards for images to make them suitable for archive records.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to: know how to choose the right viewpoint, the right lighting conditions, correctly set up their own cameras to capture suitable images and how to post-produce images in software so that they will create images ready for the archive.