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SPAB – Photographing Old Buildings Online Workshop

8 May - 19 June


An appreciation of textures, details, space and light.

Event details

Whether you photograph old buildings for work or as a hobby, join us on this always-popular four-step workshop with experienced professional photographer Ralph Hodgson.

You’ll receive guidance on techniques and composition to develop your appreciation of the space and light of old buildings and to boost your confidence in photographing their textures, details and features.

Spaces on this workshop are limited to allow for small group discussion. You’ll need some familiarity with DSLRs or mirrorless cameras and a few photography basics. The workshop consists of approximately 5 hours of guided learning and an independent task to submit. Certificates of attendance for CPD purposes are available on request.

This workshop is suitable for:

  • Anyone with a general interest in photographing old buildings.
  • Property managers or building conservation professionals who wish to enhance the composition of their photography for record keeping and reporting.

“The course exceeded my expectations, helping me to better understand some of the general principals of architectural photography, but also how to be more critical of the images I create and use.  It was very good value, and well-paced, giving time to absorb the information and apply it practically.” – workshop participant.

Workshop schedule

Step 1: from 22 April 2024, you will receive access to a pre-recorded presentation by professional photographer and workshop tutor Ralph Hodgson. Watch this recording to prepare for step 2.

You have access to this pre-recorded presentation for the duration of the workshop to view as many times as you like. Ralph’s presentation provides inspiration, technique advice and guidance on photographing old buildings, and introduces the independent task required to complete this workshop.

Step 2: join us for an informal online group session on Wednesday 8 May 2024 from 11am – 12.30pm (BST).
Workshop tutor Ralph Hodgson will provide examples for improving your photography and further explanation of the independent task. Gaps in photography technical knowledge will also be addressed with helpful tips from Ralph. This will be an opportunity for you to virtually meet others on the workshop, and to ask us any questions before embarking on the independent task. The meeting will be recorded and you will receive access to this for the duration of the workshop.

Step 3: for the independent workshop task, you should use a digital SLR or mirrorless camera and a tripod (if you have access to one) to photograph an old building that interests you and create a miniseries of photographs (photo essay) during the workshop timeframe. Ideas of how to approach the task are covered in the pre-recorded presentation and during the first group session (steps 1 and 2). The independent task submission deadline is midday on 11 June 2024. Details of how to submit your task will be shared in the workshop information pack.

Step 4: your photographic essay will be reviewed by Ralph Hodgson in a relaxed online group feedback session live on Wednesday 19 June 2024 from 10.30am – 1pm (BST). This meeting will also be recorded for you to watch again on demand.

“The constructive feedback from Ralph was very useful and done so in a relaxed environment with a friendly tone. Such evaluations will ultimately make me a better photographer, of old buildings or otherwise. I used the course as the basis of a workplace objective, so it was useful proof of CPD for my career.” – workshop participant.

Workshop prerequisites

  • Digital SLR or mirrorless camera (and a tripod, if you have access to one).
  • Familiarity with basic photography skills, composition and techniques.
  • An opportunity to photograph an old building. *
  • The ability to digitally transfer your workshop task (photographic essay) to the SPAB.
  • Access to the online presentation and group sessions – a device, connected to the Internet, which can play audio and visual. You do not need to be on camera for the group session (although we do encourage it). To be able to contribute to the discussion you would need a microphone or be able to type your comments during the session.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of these prerequisites before registering for the workshop. 

* If you require permission – for example from the owner – to photograph your chosen old building, please obtain it before you start. Access to the inside of an old building is not essential for this activity. The SPAB cannot be held responsible for any actions (by you or others) when you are photographing an old building for this workshop.

Use of your photographs

We have been inspired by and proud of photographs taken by previous workshop participants. By registering for the workshop, you consent to the SPAB displaying your photo essay in the live online group discussion session (which will be recorded for participants to watch on demand for a limited time), and to use of your photographs for further promotion of this workshop by the SPAB through our digital and printed communications. Full credit will be given to the photographer. The SPAB will not use your photographs for any other purpose without your prior written consent. Please contact us if this is something you would like to discuss before registering for the workshop.


Ralph Hodgson is a photographer based in London. His wide-ranging professional experience ranges from portraiture and news, to documentary work for industry, government and corporate affairs and reportage for charities and NGOs. He has a long-standing interest in the heritage sector and in ancient buildings. In 2020, Ralph qualified with a City & Guilds Level Three award in Education and Training, a nationally recognised certification to teach or train post-16 learners.


Anything we can do to make this course more accessible for you? Please email education@spab.org.uk.



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