This FAQ contains answers to common questions asked about Lost Collective, photographing abandoned buildings and commissioned work. This FAQ is continually being updated, but if you have a question you don’t see answered here, please email me and I’ll do my best to help where I can.
LEGAL & SAFTEY ISSUES
Can I be charged with trespassing by accessing the places you do?
Yes, If you enter onto another person’s land without their permission, you are trespassing. Whatever you decide to do is entirely up to you.
I’m not in any position to judge the actions of others, but I don’t advise anyone to enter properties without the explicit permission of the owner.
Are abandoned buildings dangerous?
Yes, they can be. For that reason, I don’t recommend anyone enter abandoned buildings, but that’s ultimately the decision of the individual.
It’s common for abandoned buildings to contain hazardous materials including asbestos and industrial chemicals.
There is often the risk of falling from a dangerous height, and there are tripping hazards near unprotected edges which can have a drop more than 10 meters down. There can be holes in the floor or flooring that is rotten and susceptible to falling through. There have been instances in the past where people have been seriously injured or killed from falls in abandoned buildings.
There is broken glass, droppings, black mould, stagnant water, decomposing animals and all number of other things that pose a risk to human health. The structural integrity of the buildings themselves can be comprimised by fire and water damage.
Occasionally, people with nowhere else to go will take up residence in abandoned buildings. In other cases, people visit abandoned buildings to scavenge metals and any other valuable materials that may have been left behind. In any case, it’s likely your presence will not be welcomed and how others react can be unpredictable.
How do you access these places, legally or otherwise?
I don’t discuss this one way or another; it opens me up to too many potential problems and it exposes my contacts to an influx of requests. My experience to date has brought me to the conclusion that I am better off keeping this to myself.
Can you tell me if this place is accessible by sneaking in? Does it have security patrols/cameras/alarms?
I don’t advise anyone to enter a property without the explicit written permission of the owner. What you decide to do is up to you. It’s best to assume that there are security arrangements in place. I can’t confirm this one way or another.
How can I approach owners for permission to access their property?
By doing your own groundwork. Find out who the right person to contact to is. Be professional, courteous and transparent in your approach. You should be upfront about who you are, what you want to do, how long you will need and how you intend to use any of the media you create.
Providing an indemnity waiver, public liability insurance, a solid portfolio and a reference to your past work is essential. You are putting the owner out by asking for their time and the risk that comes with letting you into their property so; you need to make it as easy as possible for them and be willing to accept any terms they set out.
After all of this, understand that 95% of the time your request will be declined.
I have/know of a property you might be interested in?
I am always interested in opportunities for shoots; please email me to discuss.
PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING
What sort of cameras and lenses do you use?
Do you use any lighting for your photography?
All light in the images on Lost Collective consist of natural light. I only have a Nikon Speedlight SB-900, and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t seen any action since 2011.
Occasionally I use a torch solely for the purpose of focusing in very dark areas, but the results of what you see here are what nature presented to me on the day.
What software do you use to edit your images?
How do you make your images look the way they do?
I use a process called HDR (High Dynamic Range) on the majority of my images. It allows me to capture the full range of tones in a scene by combining several images captured at different levels of exposure.
Having said that, I don’t shoot exclusively in this style and, I don’t use HDR when shooting outdoors. I am considering making a series of tutorials on this in the future once the dust settles so stay tuned.
How can I take better photos?
Identifying the style you want to develop towards is a good start. Learn what that is and who does it well, then watch some tutorials to get a better idea of what you need to concentrate on, both while shooting and editing.
Once you have the foundations in place, it comes down to experimenting what works for you and focus on developing that. It’s a long-term investment where practice really does make perfect. If you want to improve, you need to put in the hours.
Can I come along for your next shoot?
The fleeting nature of opportunity makes it difficult to coordinate with others; It’s also much harder for me to convince a property owner to allow multiple people to wander around what is often a hazardous environment.
In some cases, there are also confidentiality and commerciality agreements in place, in these instances, it’s impossible for me to bring people along. Perhaps in the future, this may change. I’d like to be more inclusive and share what I know through some workshops, but the conditions at present don’t allow for this.
Having said this, If you know of something you’d like to bring me along to, I’m always open to invitations, time and circumstances permitting.
Can you critique my portfolio?
Sorry, at this time I am unable to offer a critical analysis of other people’s work.
Can you post some of my photos on Lost Collective or the Instagram/Facebook page?
Lost Collective is a showcase of my own work. I appreciate that we share a common interest, but I would encourage you to build your own means of putting your work out there. This will be far more rewarding for you in the long run.
Do you offer commercial licensing on your images?
Yes but, this is dependent on several factors including which images you are interested in and how you intend to use them.
Please email me and I will do our best to accommodate.
We are a business with a property/project we would like to commission you to shoot. Are you available commercial work?
Yes. I am always keen to discuss commercial projects.
Email me with an outline of the project you have in mind and we discuss rates for the services we have on offer.
I want to buy an image that isn’t listed in your store but is in one of your galleries on the main site.
Some images are reserved to be part of exhibitions or limited edition sets but, if you email me with the gallery name and image title and I’ll do my best to accommodate.
Do you offer framing other print mediums, sizes to that listed in the Lost Collective shop?
Yes, we can help with that. Please email us and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
In time we will be adding framing and other print options to the store in the very near future so, please sign up to the newsletter if you’d like to stay in the loop.