When the invention of photography was publicly announced in 1839, the new medium was soon perceived as an essential tool for surveying new territories. From the early 1850s the Government of India made official the recording of architecture and antiquities and sponsored several photographic expeditions. This article presents the development of official photography in India from its inception in the mid-1850s to the late 1860s, focusing primarily on the work of two important practitioners, Linnaeus Tripe and Edmund David Lyon, who were both employed by the Government of Madras. Separated by ten years, Tripe and Lyon travelled throughout South India during their employment with the Madras Presidency and frequently recorded the same sites. A comparison of their work reveals the changes that arose in the concept of delineating architecture and antiquities between the 1850s and the 1860s and the alterations which the recorded monuments underwent in that time, as well as enabling the compositional styles adopted by both practitioners to be studied for the first time.