Staircases can serve photographers not only as functional structures, but also stunning backdrops for photoshoots. A well-executed staircase photoshoot can produce breathtaking images. However, capturing such images requires an eye for detail, the right equipment, and proper preparation. In this article, we’ll provide tips and tricks on how to execute the perfect staircase photoshoot. From scouting the location to editing the final image, we’ll cover everything you need to know to capture incredible staircase portraits.

The following images were submitted by the award winning wedding photographers of Wedding Maps for the feature challenge “From Above.”

Staircase Photoshoot Tips:

Place Your Subjects at the Bottom of the Staircase

Don’t be afraid to start your staircase photoshoot at the bottom. Placing a subject at the bottom of a spiral staircase can result in visually striking and compelling photographs. Spiral staircases create a natural leading line that draws the viewer’s eye towards the subject where the spiral ends. Such composition creates a sense of depth and perspective and also adds an element of mystery and drama to the photo. The circular shape of the staircase also adds an interesting geometric shape that can contrast with the linear elements of the stairs and subjects. Additionally, we can use this technique to create a sense of grandeur and elegance, particularly with ornate staircases.

spiral staircase Loc Le Films 01

Photo by Loc Le (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) in Seattle WA

spiral staircase photography 4EyesPhotography scaled 1

Staircase Photo by 4 Eyes Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel in Banff, AB Canada

staircase photoshoot lin jirsa 1024x576 1

Find Leading Lines in Your Staircase Photos

Leading lines represent an essential compositional tool for photographers. We can usually find them in many different elements of a scene, including staircases. When photographing a staircase, photographers should look for natural lines that can lead the viewer’s eye towards the subject. For example, the handrails and banisters of a staircase can serve as leading lines that guide the viewer’s gaze towards the subject positioned at the top or bottom of the stairs. Additionally, the steps themselves can create a sense of perspective and depth that can draw the viewer’s eye towards the subject. By using leading lines in staircase photos, photographers can create visually compelling compositions that engage the viewer’s attention and add a sense of dynamic movement to the image. Experiment with different angles and perspectives when photographing staircases to find the most effective leading lines.

leading lines stairs smj photographyPhoto by SMJ Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg, PA USA

Pose to See the Subjects in Your Staircase Photoshoot

When shooting from a higher perspective, photographers should use poses and body language to create emotionally compelling photos. One way to do this involves incorporating poses that show the expressions of at least one of the subjects. For example, direct at least one of the subjects to look up towards the camera to better capture clear facial expressions. Also note that shooting from a higher angle can create a sense of dominance or power. Try to balance this perspective with a sense of intimacy and emotional engagement. Photographers can use body language and gestures for this purpose, as well as to convey a sense of movement and energy. See the examples below for inspiration.

aerial photography roddy chung ThornwoodPhoto by Roddy Chung (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, WA U.S.A.

Aerial Photography Lazzat Photography 1Staircase Photo by Lazzat Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Oxford Exchange, in Tampa FL

from above 2 smj photographyPhoto by SMJ Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA USA

roddy@roddychung.comPhoto by Roddy Chung (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Admiral’s House in Seattle, WA

Find Symmetry in Staircases

Symmetry is a powerful compositional tool that can add balance, harmony, and visual interest to staircase photoshoot portraits. When using staircases, look for opportunities to capture symmetry in the design and architecture of the stairs. Staircases often have a repetitive pattern of steps, railings, and supports. These elements can create a sense of symmetry when captured from the right angle. Also, look for reflections, shadows, and patterns on the stairs that can add to the symmetrical composition of the photograph.

Give the Tripod a Go

Using a tripod and taking the time to carefully compose the shot can also help slow us down to think more intentionally. Remember, we want to create a sense of balance and symmetry in the image. By finding and highlighting symmetry in staircases, we can create visually striking shots of these architectural features. For an example, notice how the unique design of the bifurcated stairs (see below) consist of a sweeping set of steps that splits off into two smaller flights, each going in opposite directions. The staircase and lower floors also provide multiple frames around the couple.

aerial photography pollok pictures.1Photo by Andreas Pollok (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Kloster Sch├Ântal in Baden W├╝rttemberg Germany

Aerial Photography Lazzat Photography 2Staircase Photo by Lazzat Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Tavares Pavilion in Tavares, FL USA

staircase photoshoot natasha lamalle 1 scaled 1Photo by Natasha Lamalle (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Spanish Steps in Washington DC USA

Capture the Moment Staircase Photos

Capturing organic, natural, unposed moments during a staircase photoshoot at weddings can add a lot of value to wedding day portraits. Rather than staging every shot, photographers should tune into to the natural flow of the wedding day. Stay mindful and look for opportunities to capture genuine moments between the couple and their guests.

When photographing staircases, encourage the couple to interact naturally with each other and the environment, rather than always posing them in static positions. This can result in candid moments of joy, laughter, and affection that convey the emotions of the day.

Get Photojournalistic and Cover Multiple Angles

Like always, remain aware of the lighting and mindfully frame the shot to create a sense of intimacy and romance. Shooting from a variety of angles and distances can add visual interest and capture different aspects of the moment. By focusing on organic, natural, unposed moments during staircase photoshoots, photographers can create timeless images that tell the story of the wedding day with authenticity and emotion.

staircase photoshoot Stephen Sedman2 scaled 1Photo by Stephen Sedman (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Danversport in Danvers, MA United States

aerial photography staircase photoshoot natasha lamalleStaircase Photo by Natasha Lamalle (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at District Winery in Washington DC USA

staircase photoshoot in black and whitePhoto by Holding and Co (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Redbird in Los Angeles, CA USA

staircase photoshoot kristin cheatwood 2 scaled 1Staircase Photo by Kristin Cheatwood (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Hazlehurst House in McDonough, GA

Conclusion

In conclusion, a staircase photoshoot can provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your photography skills and captivate your audience. By following the tips outlined above, you can prepare for a successful photoshoot. You should now be able to set up the perfect shot, direct your model, and create stunning images that showcase the beauty of the location and the subject. Remember to experiment and practice to find your unique style and techniques that work for you. With patience, dedication, and creativity, you can achieve your vision and create incredible staircase images that leave a lasting impression. So, grab your camera and head to your nearest staircase.