You could read a thousand guides on how to take the best photos of famous European landmarks during your tour, but once you’re out on the road, taking in these intimidating and impressive icons in person can bring on a case of sudden amnesia!
There you are, standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, being shoved by crowds of tourists with selfie sticks all while you do your best to recall every tip you ever read about how to frame, light and something called the rule of thirds…
Well, look no further because we’re making capturing the perfect photo simple with a guide on how to take the best photos of famous European landmarks to accompany you during your tour through Europe. That’s right, we’ve got tips specific to each and every famous landmark throughout Europe so that you can still grab a shot worthy of National Geographic without having to make sense of a general photo guide. You’re welcome!
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How to Take the Best Photos of Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Claire from ZigZag on Earth knows exactly which locations are the best to both admire and capture this iron beauty from all the classic (and even some original) perspectives!
To capture the classic shot you’ll want to:
- Stand underneath the Eiffel Tower
- Stand next to Pont d’lena Bridge
- Walking up the Champs de Mars
- Approaching the Peace Wall
- From the Trocadero
- From the top of Arc de Triomphe
- From the top of Notre Dame
To capture a more original shot position yourself:
- From Rue de L’Universite
- From Fin a Carousel
- From Passerelle Debilly
- From Saint-Jacques Tower
How to Take the Best Photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Jess and Julie of Wanderlove know that there’s really only one way to take a picture with this tilting Italian landmark, and that’s by playing with perspective. However, they want to make sure you know that propping it up with your hands isn’t the only way to pose next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Suggestions for playful perspective poses:
1: Pretend to eat it
2: Raise the roof
3: Give it a bear hug
4: High five it
5: Lean on it
6: Embrace the photobomb
How to Take the Best Photos of the Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Ken Kaminesky of the appropriately named Ken Kaminesky Photography, recommends an evening visit if you’re hoping to capture a truly impressive shot of the Roman Colosseum. Set up a tripod and take a series of long exposures, thus eliminating any concerns regarding the crowds getting in the way of your perfect picture.
A bonus to shooting a night includes the additional opportunity to play with the added beauty of the artificial lights that are positioned at strategic accent points along the structure.
How to Take the Best Photos of the Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Rhonda from Travel? Yes Please, wants to warn you that in order to avoid the 7-10 million tourists who make their way to Rome every year, an off-peak visit is an absolute must. You might think that visiting in the evening would help you avoid the selfie sticks but you’d be wrong. Just check out this livestream to see what we mean!
As a result, follow Rhonda’s advice and visit just after sunrises to capture the perfect light without the crowds ruining a perfectly framed shot.
How to Take the Best Photos of Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
Lina and David from Divergent Travellers know that a trip to Berlin cannot be complete without visiting the iconic Brandenburg Gate. In order to grab a picture that will leave your friends and family gaping, you should make time to stick around for at least an hour.
The Divergent Travellers also suggest two different times of day to take your photos: “In the early morning the sun rises over the city streets and you can capture great shots with the gate facing the city. In the late afternoon, the sun sets behind the gate with great views of Tiergarten.”
How to Take the Best Photos of Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
The France Travel Planner knows that there’s more than one way (and location) to snap the perfect picture of this stunning structure. First, you’ll want to check to see which phase the moon will be in during your visit in order to determine how high the tides will be. Knowing how far out you can stand on the beach determines what type of angles will be available to you.
In particular, it’s recommended that you, “Check the times of sunrise and sunset, and plan to be shooting 30 to 60 minutes before sunrise and up to two hours thereafter. Just before dawn can be among the most atmospheric times of day at Mont St-Michel. The early morning fog gives a sense of mystery, and as it burns off the beauty of the island and the Abbey can be appreciated.
As for sunset, set out about 90 minutes before it, and plan to keep shooting until at least an hour afterwards.
Dusk—about 30 minutes after sunset—can yield excellent shots, with some light still in the sky, but the electric lights coming on.”
How to Take the Best Photos of Pompeii, Italy
Pompeii is an incredible sight to behold, especially when considering the events that led to the city’s unique preservation. Considering that this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you need to be mindful about what type of photography equipment you bring in. If the staff have any reason to believe you’re taking pictures for commercial use (and extravagant camera equipment tends to set off red flags), you can have hefty fines laid on you.
Once you sort out obtaining proper permissions to take that picture perfect moment, you can get started! Pompeiitaly urges you to “never click a picture when the sun is in front, because the subject would be too dark.” Instead, “leave the sun at your back for maximum light possible.”
“After choosing the subject and the frame, the important thing is to assess the light and then to choose the best time to photograph. The morning light of a sunny day is clear, crisp, and perfect. At sunset, everything is enhanced with a unique, orange, smooth light.
The evening is particularly suitable for the romantic pics, in fact with just a little light you’ll have the atmosphere of chiaroscuro to highlight a particular subject and to create a unique photo.”
How to Take the Best Photos of Tower Bridge, London, England
London’s Tower Bridge definitely needs to make it into your vacation photo album, but where exactly should you stand to capture the perfect shot? Jim Nix from Nomadic Pursuits recommends that “you line up on the south side of the River Thames, and over by their City Hall (another great building to shoot).
There is a wide pedestrian walkway there.” You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you find the cluster of tripods being used by other eager photographers.
How to Take the Best Photos of The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The famous and breathtaking Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most photo-worthy sights and truly impressive to behold in person. However, if you know anything about Ireland, you’ll know that the weather is fairly uncooperative for your average photographer. That’s what makes Tom Harrison’s tips so especially helpful:
“A moderately wide, standard or moderately telephoto lens should allow you to include the entirety of the cliffs in a single frame. General purpose zoom lenses, as well as the kit lenses that come packaged with DSLR cameras, fall into this category.
If it’s a cloudy day, an ultra-wide angle lens can play with the clouds in interesting ways. Keep in mind though that extreme wide angles will push the Cliffs off into the distance and make them appear small… which is sort of the opposite of what the actually are — quite significant natural wonders.”
How to Take the Best Photos of Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
The mystery surrounding Stonehenge is likely what pulls so many people into this UNSECO World Heritage site, only a short 90 minutes away from London. Angieaway recommends that you arrive early to avoid the crowds and that you put a little planning into your visit to ensure you can get close enough to take great pictures.
“If you want to get up close and personal to the stones, you’ll need to sort out a Special Access Visit. If something inside that ancient stone circle beckons you to come closer, there are ways to gain access outside normal visiting hours. Check out the official Stonehenge site by clicking here for info on visiting after hours, at sunset or during the Solstices.”
How to Take the Best Photos of Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
The Arc de Triomphe is a fan favourite and a very close second to the Eiffel Tower in terms of iconic Paris landmarks. Capturing a picture of this Parisian piece of architectural artistry can be difficult with the busy crowds. DarwinsDen has some valuable advice to offer, “Don’t bother taking out your tripod on the roof. Tripods are not allowed, and they are fairly vigilant about policing the rule. Use the underpasses to reach the arch from outside its surrounding roundabout, otherwise, you and your camera may not survive to get that perfect image.”
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