Photographing old houses, like photographing anything else, is the art or craft of using the light falling on the subject to evoke a feeling. It is similar to portraiture, but instead of trying to show the personality of a person, your goal should be to impart a sense of the home’s history and character.
Of course, like with any house, you need to show what the house looks like generally, the relationship between the various rooms, the quality of the finishes, etc. But it is equally important to show the patina of the beveled and leaded glass windows, light fixtures, door knobs, fireplaces, beautiful wood floors, beams, railings and built-ins.
And the light. Old homes have a unique quality of light that you just don’t find in newer homes. It’s not something I can explain but something about the designs, combined with the materials (old glass, old growth lumber, plaster, etc.) result in a quality of light that feels like ‘home’ to me, and imparts a sense of history, even a feeling of security.
Here are two sets of examples of photographs that I think do a good job of showing some the house’s ‘old home’ features, as well as showing the relationship between different areas in home.