Skip to main content

Tips on shooting tourist attractions



The Alhambra in Granada is one of the must see tourist attractions of Spain. A selection of the images I shot there are in my You Tube video in full HD and you can view the still images at your leisure in my places portfolio. Here are a few tips on photographing the Alhambra which can be applied to other popular tourist attractions.

The Alhambra limits visitors to between 5,000 and 6,600 per day and it frequently sells out of tickets for the main attractions. So book well in advance if you want to gain access to the Palacios Nazaríes.

Think carefully about what equipment you really need. The place is packed with tourists and in the palace the security guards ask you to carry your bag in front of you. So if you've got a big camera rucksack you're going to have to walk around like a pregnant lady for the afternoon. Being bumped and bumping into other people is not a pleasant experience, so it's best to travel light.

When you have to book in advance and work with ambient light you're at the mercy of the elements. Fortunately Spain is a lovely sunny country so chances are the light will be good, but it's always worth thinking about the best time of year to photograph a particular tourist attraction.

What do you photograph in a place where 6,000 tourists a day, armed with cameras, snap everything in site? I made a few decisions:

  • Try to find views that show the atmosphere by showing the surrounding landscape
  • Avoid the obvious where possible
  • Focus on typical details and the real essence of the place
  • Look for interesting and unusual angles
  • Chase the best light (if the subject does not have interesting light then forget it)
  • Try to minimise having other people in the shot

In the opening shot of the video you see the Court of the Myrtles. Typically this scene is shot vertically and includes a water feature in the foreground. I went for something different that worked with the hard angled light and reflections. It just needed something more. Then I saw the lady wearing red wandering around on the other side of the pool. I had to wait for several minutes before she walked into the perfect spot to create that extra focal point that completed the image for me. It's small elements like this that give an image that extra kick they need to lift them above the ordinary. You have to constantly ask yourself, "How can I make this image better by using what's available in the scene?"

Here are my tips for photographing tourist attractions:

  • Do your research first so you know what to expect
  • Plan when would be the best time to photograph and book in advance
  • Travel light so you can enjoy the experience
  • Try to find a different angle or viewpoint and avoid the obvious for your art images
  • Don't forget to take the tourist shots as well for your family album and memories
  • Look for subjects with great light
  • Remember to capture the interesting details

On this last point my thoughts were that the essence of the Alhambra is the craftsmanship and and attention to detail in every element, but the really amazing thing is the sheer quantity of detailed work, and that's what I tried to show in several of my images. There's just so much going on in every room in the palace it is breath taking.

Hope you found this insight useful.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk (check out my other photo stories here)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The art of writing a caption

A caption in its simplest form is the the title of an image but usually we mean a bit more. A full caption takes the form of descriptive text, usually a few sentences.

A good caption informs us about the things we cannot see and encourages us to look at an image more closely. There is a relationship of mutual benefit and dependence between a well written caption and an image. The caption can bring an image to life by providing context and meaning. It is also the link between the article/story/text and the image.

Magda Indigo has written a good description of a caption here. I agree with her dislike of "untitled". It does show a certain lack of imagination and is not particularly helpful to the viewer. Creating an image is all about trying to communicate something and the caption is vital to help the audience understand an image. It can hugely enhance the viewers experience.

A good caption is a piece of writing that should be concise, accurate, informative and as carefully craft…

All the different types of photography

Welcome to my blog. While you're here why not browse through my extensive library of articles covering everything from tips on how to do things photographic to help with the mental approach you need to become a successful photographer. You'll also find articles with some of my unconventional views. Yes, I've rattled a view cages in my time. Hope you have as much fun reading them as I did writing them.

You can view my more serious work on www.indigo2photography.co.uk

All the different types of photography

With the help of acquaintances on a photographic site I've tried to compile a list of all the different types of photography out there. I'm sure there are many still missing but the list is pretty impressive so far. We have identified around 80 descriptions.

For fun I've highlighted in bold the different types I've done so far...

3D photography
Action photography
Advertising photography
Aerial photography
Amateur photography
Animal photography
Architecture photography

Art of the decisive moment

Capturing the decisive moment requires patience and timing. Good timing depends on your ability to anticipate the right moment.


Welcome to my relaunched blog. You'll notice a new design to mark the moment. What do you think?

The plan is to write far more regularly. Short posts. Easy to read. Focused on a single subject.

This time it's about that vital element. The anticipation of the decisive moment.

As a scene unfolds you're thinking about what is going to happen next. Where are people moving to? What are they doing? What's happening in the background? Do you have the right point of view or do you need to move?

To be ready for the moment you need a prepared mind and a prepared camera. I almost never use burst mode. It's too inaccurate. While the shutter is clattering away you're not seeing what is about to happen. You run the risk that the exact split second you should have snapped is between frames. I prefer the approach of taking a single shot, relying on t…