How do I photograph my shed? Let me count the ways.

I don’t mean to return to the same photographic subjects over and over, but my dirty secret is that I don’t always feel terribly inspired when I’m trying out a new old camera. Especially when I don’t enjoy a particular camera and just want to get my test roll over with, I go back to familiar, nearby subjects. I used to frequently shoot the anonymous office building in which I worked, until I changed jobs recently. Another regular subject is the shed in my back yard.

This set on Flickr shows all of my shed shots. I find the color shots to be especially interesting, because the shed’s shade of blue varies so much from shot to shot. So much goes into color rendition – how much light there is, where the light is coming from, how the light strikes the shed, how the lens interprets that light, and how the film’s characteristics render the colors. The processing and scanning can influence color too. And I can alter it all pretty significantly in Photoshop, though normally the most I do there is a little cropping and maybe a little white-balance correction. These photos are all essentially just how the processor sent them to me, yet the shed’s stain is a different shade of blue in each photo.

Kodak Signet 40, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, Costco processing/scanning, April 2011.

My barn

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, Costco processing/scanning, October 2011.


Minolta SR-T 101, MC Rokkor-PF 50mm f/1.7, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, The Darkroom processing/scanning, June 2012.

Default photographic subject

Pentax ME, Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8, Kodak Ektar 100, CVS processing/scanning, November 2012.


Canon Dial 35-2, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, CVS processing/scanning, January 2013.



12 responses to “How do I photograph my shed? Let me count the ways.”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    Wow, that’s funny! In one picture it doesn’t even look like the shed has any paint at all. Its cool to see how the surroundings have changed though. But the bricks have remained the same!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Yeah, the light-blue stain did disappear in that one shot. My back yard is such a mess. One of these days I’ll clean it up and make it not look so bad.

  2. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Everyone wants to know what’s hiding in the shed now, Jim. :)

    FWIW, I think the Pentax shot is by far the most evocative. That might be because it has the only unique angle, but I think it’s the greens and the suggestion of ‘beyond the beyond’ in it.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I keep my tractor in the shed! And odd lumber, and my lawn furniture, and my grill. And my wheelbarrow and my power equipment! Very boring. No dead bodies or anything.

      The other thing about the Pentax shot is the film I used, the Ektar 100, which gave an interesting quality to the color. The foliage looks natural but the shed itself looks flat.

      1. Lone Primate Avatar
        Lone Primate

        Funny… not to argue with you or anything, but to me, I was thinking how singularly striking the shed looks in that shot because of the contrast (ironic because there’s relatively little tonal contrast in that overcast shot). The kind of creamy purity and simplicity of the shed against the liveliness of still-green autumn makes it almost a painting. But it’s all subjective, you know. :)

        1. Jim Avatar

          I see what you’re saying. The foliage, both fallen and still attached, gives the photo texture; the flat barn front stands in contrast.

  3. pesoto74 Avatar

    I do the same thing when I am testing out cameras. I can’t imagine how many photos I have taken of the corn crib across the road.

    1. Jim Avatar

      It’s the most-photographed corn crib in Illinois!

  4. Derek Avatar

    :D I don’t feel too bad taking photos of news papers tape to the wall now :D

    1. Jim Avatar

      Yeah, subjects don’t get much more uninspired than my shed.

      1. Derek Avatar

        But I can see the difference of all the film, and that’s important.

        1. Jim Avatar

          Except for one photo all of these are on Fujicolor 200, so we’re likely seeing the effects of the other variables in the chain!

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