Abandoned / Ruin Photography


TPF Noob!
Jun 6, 2013
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So one of my interests is to at some point be able to photograph ruined, run down buildings. Inside and out. I live in the Metro Detroit area so there isn't any shortage but am worried about authorities.

Not so much personal safety, I am a good talker and a CPL holder so I can handle myself if the need arises but don't need a ticket or worse yet arrested.

Has anyone here photographed such places? How did you go about permission if you got it? If not did you have any legal encounters in the process? How did they turn out?

Property ownership is public record. You can easily find out who owns it, and from there contact them for permission to go shoot.
I use common sense, tend to stay away from structures that look like they might fall on my head. Sometimes abandoned means an untraceable owner.

I like to photograph ruined buildings on farms. Often these are ex worker accommodation. old wool-sheds or original farm houses dating back decades. In those cases it is easier to find the farm owner for permission.
Thanks for the input. I love the color, texture and depth that ruined stuff provides. I love rust, patina, peeling paint, dirt and dust and that whole look. I love other stuff as well but there is just something about that particular subject that interests me. Of course I am only shooting with a Nikon D3100 and the 2 kit lenses but I think I could end up with great shots by my standards.
It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. Just use common sense, don't bust windows or doors to get in. If the door or window is unlocked then go for it. Make sure it's not in use and be discrete, use red flashlights and very little flash photography if you can help it.

Always keep a spare SD card in case you're asked to "Format your card".....
"What's that officer? I did not realize with all the skull and crossbones with a a bio hazard signs meant danger!".
"What's that officer? I did not realize with all the skull and crossbones with a a bio hazard signs meant danger!".

In an abandoned place that usually means photo OP...
So I took a look at meetup.com. It was suggested by someone on Flickr. I noticed she had a couple images from where I want to go so I asked her. There is a local group that does regular group meets to shoot abandonment in Detroit. I am going to hook up with them.

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