Stained Glass

Bouqet or Roses
Bouqet or Roses

Following on my last post about cemeteries, here’s my thoughts on photographing stained glass.

First – do it in color.  They’re pretty for a damned reason.  Second, if indoors, use a tripod.  You can get very blurry results otherwise, or have to shoot at prohibitively high ISO and get grainy garbage.

When shooting in small crypts you can’t get inside, try to shoot into the sun so that the windows are backlit, and use a short (but not ultrawide) lens.

A Quiet Chat
A Quiet Chat

Inside mausoleums, you can have angle issues with large windows, and it’s your call to live with it, bring a stepladder, or buy a tilt-shift lens

Looking Down on You
Looking Down on You

Parenthetically, I swear this looks like Viggo Mortensen of Lord of the Rings fame.  Especially funny given that he’s played Satan in film.

Also don’t be afraid of working details, even if cropping is needed.


A side note … if shooting in a church or other house of worship, check the site’s policy on photography first.  Some allow it free, some ask for a donation (read: a fee), and some don’t allow it period (for example, Westminster Abbey in the UK).

Succinctly, it doesn’t pay to piss off clergy.  Like, at all.

Final note, most of what’s in this post was obtained in Colma, CA – a city where more people are dead than alive, as it houses all but a few of San Franscisco’s dead.  SF only has 2 cemeteries in city limits, the Mission Dolores graveyard and the national cemetery in the Presidio, and everybody else gets shipped south to Colma.  Makes it a great location for stained glass!

See more of my work at


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