Photographing Farmhouses

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Farmhouses can be found almost everywhere where crops can be grown. Although farmhouse usually serve a specific purpose and are build for their usefulness instead of for their looks, some examples are not only beautiful but exemplify a very particular lifestyle worth remembering.

"Sometimes farmhouse may refer to a building design style, or a building's former purpose. This may occur when the farming area has been developed for other purposes, but the building itself still stands. Architectural styles vary, but very often they are of Cape Cod design. In general styles vary from region to region, but more often the style is simplistic so to serve the needs (and the budget) of the owners." Wikipedia.

Conducting a photographic project that centers on a farm is both simple and complex at the same time. You not only need to record images of the farm buildings but you also have to capture images of the inhabitants including the livestock. Not to miss are images that tell the viewer what multipurpose of the farm is; whether to grow corn, wheat, raise cows and so on are all important aspects that complete a story.

Once you locate a suitable subject then after gaining permission to photograph dedicate yourself to exploring the farm and capturing a multitude of images from various angles and perspectives. After photographing the exterior parts , it is worth it to photograph interior components such as the kitchen and dining areas but make a concerted effort on capturing images of peculiar items like cooking utensils, old stoves and fireplaces.

Also take photos of farm equipment and the more weathered and rustic the better. Do also pay attention to the living quarters of the livestock and again, the more rustic the better. You are trying to do a photo capture diary that contrast the luxuriousness of the modern city life to that of the practical and useful country life so that the audience can connect what goes on on a daily basis on a farm.

The best samples are those that still retain their hand made and antique designs and look. A modern farm house looks very similar to a city house when looking at its interior. Thus the vast majority of the shots should be those that focus on the labors and lifestyle that the resilient residents of such dwellings engage in everyday.

If possible, try to take some images that come from different parts of the country, and better if you can include farms found in other continents.

Take photos at dawn when the daily chores begin, during the rest of the day and at dusk. Night shots can also be accomplished if there is enough ambient light. Using a flash to illuminate buildings and other structures or scenes may rob them of their romanticism, so avoid them if you can.

For midday Sun shots, position yourself so that the sunlight is to one side of the subject, This will bring out some details and leave one side lit while the other may be in the shadows. If the Sun is directly behind the subject the camera sensors will make the shot underexposed, if in front they will be too bright and you will have to do adjustments, and if directly above, it will create unsightly shadows under the eyes, nose etc.

If your shoot can be done while the sky is cloudy or overcast then take this time to take many shots. Overcast conditions diffuse the light and lend a "glow" to most subjects.

For subjects found in part shady conditions, then use a fill in flash to bring out some of the details that would otherwise be lost in the shadows.

For farm animals take shots that show them in their element and use a low to the ground perspective or at the animal's eye level. Avoid taking shots that puts you above their height.

For people, the best photographs are those that shows them while they are involved with their daily duties and not posed.

Make sure that you also include some images of whatever the farm produces and do these in a close up mode as well as the tools and equipment used.

Your aim is to photographically tell a story so don't just go for the pretty scenes or the pretty animals. Take every opportunity of photographing everything in sight.

This file (sagebrush-farmhouses-bodie.jpg) is in public domain,
This file (sagebrush-farmhouses-bodie.jpg) is in public domain, | Source

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 4 comments

alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Nice piece Luis. The images, where not atmospheric, are informative and occasionally comical (hogs and ducks). Nice lofty, ramshackle alpine barn there near the top, planks missing - plenty of those in that neck of the woods, not so much farming as 'doggie paddling with livestock'. There's enough of them in British hill farms (min. 1,000 acres needed to be viable, most are less than half that, just about covering the rent)! You could get some Australian/NZ sheep stations. And finally there are the almost interchangeable Lakes/Peak District/Dales/Moors stone-built farm buildings (we have what's called the 'long-house' (house, barn/cartshed, cow byre/pigshed, outhouse) all in one line... There are several different styles of farmhouse within each county in Britain.

Have fun looking!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

alancaster149: Thank you. You know, I have always thought of relocating to Britain but not sure if I could get a job there teaching as I do here.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

As a US citizen you wouldn't have too much trouble securing a teaching job here - there are Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders etc in what are called 'supply teaching' posts (covering for sickness, holiday, pregnancy and even posts left open out of necessity where qualified personnel can't be found). Mostly supply teachers cover London area needs, but can be found beyond London and the Home Counties. You never know, you might even meet fellow Hubbers over here!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

alancaster149: Thanks, I wonder if you could send me a link so that I may look into it further?

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