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Railway Photography Pros and Cons

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Railway Photography Pros and Cons

There is no doubt that railway photography is a popular pastime with many finding it to be a rewarding experience. Everything in life has its good points and bad points, however, and weighing up the pros and cons can help make decisions about if something is right for us. With this said, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of railway photography.


The Subject is Always Interesting

Whether you are photographing a train or the railway itself there are always plenty of interesting shots to be had. No two railways or trains are ever identical, meaning every time you come across one you can capture something different.

Many Ways to Photograph

These are subjects that can be taken in so many different ways, each making for a unique photo style. For example, a railway or train looks great taken as an aerial shot, front or even side-on. 

You Won’t be Short of Subjects

Imagine how many railways there are in your country alone, and even more when you think about the wider world! Even if you just stuck to photographing railways located in the UK, you won’t be running out anytime soon as there are hundreds! And if you were to travel further, well times that by many more! And that is before thinking about how many trains frequent each of these railways for your snapping pleasure!

Plenty of Natural Variations

Steam engines and railways all take place in the outside world which means mother nature can play a part in the photograph. For example, if it’s raining that can lend a great mood to the picture, or if it’s a sunny day then light can add loads of interesting possibilities.


Weather Conditions

Mother nature can also be a disadvantage! Photography in heavy rain can be very hard and something that many would rather avoid, and then there is snow! Likewise, when the heat is at its peak a, photography session can quickly become uncomfortable. Also, different weather conditions could ruin the consistency of the shots, including the way it’ll affect lighting conditions.

Affected by Delays

We all know that public travel can be affected by delays! And if you have your heart set on photographing a certain train and it is delayed, it can be annoying. It’s even worse if the train’s appearance is cancelled altogether! Sure, hobbyists can check the status of the trains before embarking out, but sometimes last-minute delays and cancellations will happen. The same can be said for the railways themselves, for example, they may be closed due to maintenance.

People Might Get in the Way

Railways are public areas, so you have to remember you’ll need a lot of patience at busy times waiting for your subject to be free from any civilians! You might wish you could just snap away without the hassle, but of course, it is not fair to catch unsuspecting members in the shots and you won’t want them in the way of your composition anyway!


There we have it, some pros and cons on railway photography. Hopefully, our pointers have given you some food for thought, helping you to work out if the hobby is right for you.

Photo Details:

37275 (6975) and 33002 (D6501) are seen approaching Hood Bridge working the 14.50 service from Buckfastleigh to Totnes Riverside on the 25th August 2018 during the South Devon Railway ‘Rails and Ales’ Gala.

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