My Railway Photography FAQ
As you know, railway photography is my main hobby. I am not a professional photographer, just a normal amateur.
Very often I get asked something about my hobby when I am out with my camera or via email. Today, I have decided to put the questions with my answers on this blog post.
I have not added the names of the people who over the past year or so asked me the following questions. I am not sure if they would want to be known or not!
1. How do you know what time the train tour is due?
The main website that I get all the rail tour information from is Railway Herald. You will find out what train will be running the tour, where from and too, and they have a link to the Real Time Trains website where it will show you all the times.
2. What shutter speed do you use?
If the train is going slow my shutter speed would be around 1/300 and 1/500. A faster train will need a faster shutter speed. For that I tend to use between 1/1000 and 1/1500.
3. Which do you like the best, the mainline or heritage railways?
That is a hard question for me to answer! I like both the mainline and heritage railways for my photography. If I had to choose just one, then it would be the mainline.
4. How do you get photos published in railway magazines?
All I do is after I have photographed a rail tour etc and edited it I then decide if the photo is pretty good or not. If it is, I include all detailed information about the image and I send it to a railway magazine and just keep my fingers crossed that it will get published. If you do not send a photo to a magazine it cannot get published!
5. On your South Devon Railway gallery I saw some photos that looks like you were trespassing on the line. Is that true?
I agree with you, it does look like I had been trespassing. But it is not true. I had a ‘Lineside Permit’ on the SDR for many years. I loved having the permit, going to different spots on the railway made me really happy. But in 2019 when everyone’s permit ended we were not allowed to renew them.
6. Are you a train spotter?
I was a train spotter from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s. In my early age of 20’s I seemed to be more interested in beer, having girlfriends and owning different cars! Today I just enjoy photographing trains and train spotting.
7. Do you ever use Auto mode on camera?
No I do not. For all moving trains I use the TV (on Canon camera) mode which allows you to use the shutter speed. If the train is not moving I use AV (on Canon camera), this lets you control the aperture.
8. What would your dream camera be?
My dream camera would be the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III or the Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera
9. Do you always edit your photos and which programme do you use?
Yes, I edit every photograph that I take. The main programme that I use is ‘Lightroom’ which I really like. I often use ‘Adobe Photoshop Elements 12’ as well.
10. Why are my train photos not as sharp as yours?
I think there are two main reasons. You might not have been using the right shutter speed or the focus point.
I hope my answers have helped you out with the questions that I have been asked. If you have a question that is not on this post, please feel free to contact me and I will try my best to help you out.
This photograph shows that it looks like I was trespassing on the South Devon Railway. But I was not as back then I had a ‘Lineside Permit’.
GWR 0-6-0 No: 3205 is seen at Stretchford working the 09.15 auto train service from Buckfastleigh to Totnes Littlehempston on the 15th February 2015