One tip for Venice

Venice, Italy is a difficult city to be a tourist in.  Which is funny because the city is full of them.  There are so many tourists that that fact alone makes visiting it seem daunting or challenging.  The usual advice is to go in the off season and not during one of their big festivals like Carnival (in February).  And while that advice is solid there is one more tip I have to offer if this is a city that is on your must-see’s or bucket list.

The one tip I have is understandably hard to do when one is on holiday/vacation.  That is to get up early.  I don’t mean early, I mean before the sun rises.  I mean when it is still dark out.  I took someone else’s advice and did so when I visited Venice mid-October.  The sun rises at the time of year around 7:30AM.  I was out and about at 5:30AM.  It wasn’t easy to get up at 4:45AM, shower, eat a granola bar and back my purse up but it WAS worth it.  It was one of the most memorable days in Venice because I wasn’t dodging people left and right, fighting pigeons or frequently getting lost (because of the people).

What I saw was wonderful.  I saw how Venetians live.  I saw St Marque’s getting swept up, the markets getting ready, parents taking their children to school.  I was actually seeing the real Venice (sans tourists).  The people who make the city run to serve the large number of people who invade it during ‘normal’ hours.  You catch people in their moment’s and finding yourself seeing life through their eyes.  It is sight that no tour company can provide.


After watching the city wake up as well as the sun, I got a cup of Italian coffee (cappuccino) in the morning and made my way back to the hotel for their breakfast.  I didn’t rush through breakfast either.  I was able to enjoy it without thinking about where I had to go or planning my day.  My day was basically half done.  I had seen the best part of Venice – its people living.

How do you take the photo?

Every once in a while I would like to share with you my thoughts on Photography…especially since it inspired the name of this blog.  Photography is my hobby.  I enjoy it and my goal is to take better pictures…especially when traveling.

On my quest to get awesome travel photos I came across a few tips when photographing the ICONS: The Eiffel Tour, the Colosseum, Big Ben, White House, Empire State Building, Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House, Golden Gate Bridge etc.  I sum up some info I’ve learned and practiced when taking photos of the ICONS.  Any tips you may have, I welcome them!

Photographing the ICONS:

General rule: Because the icon is recognizable on its own, do something different when taking the photo.

Here are some things I have tried with some ICONS:

1. Take the photo at sunrise

There are a huge number of reasons to get up early when you are on vacation.  There are NO people!  That is unheard of at St Peter’s Square.  And almost every travel photo by professional photographers is taken at sunrise/sunset because of the light.  The basilica is orange during sunrise and disappears with the rising sun.  If you travel in winter (hotel rates are cheaper) sunrise is not that early!  Another reason, if you have a tripod you can take a photo of yourself…with NO people.

(St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy)

2.  Take only a part of it

Sometimes less is more.  Almost everyone can recognize this ICON of Paris…why not show it in a different way?  To get a different color of the tower…sunset would be a good option here.  Remove the abundance of people at the base by focusing upwards.

(The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France)

3.  Use the ICON as a backdrop

These sort of pictures can add interest if you plan on making a photo album / slide show / book after your trip.  The color, especially if it is mostly cloudy during your trip, can add a vibrancy to your photos.  I also think that if you want to get a picture of the whole tower you should have your group pose in front of it.  Personally, when I see just a picture of the whole tower and no one I care about is it front of it…it is a dull picture.  Not because the subject is dull but when you google images of the tower you are hit with a plethora of these sort of images.  Why repeat?  You as the subject creates interest in the photo, especially for your audience!

(The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France)

4.  Frame it

Look for natural frames in your environment.  It takes a few seconds to look around and a minute to change your position to get a different shot.  This shot was taken after sunrise so the light is intense but the darkness of the frame dims the brightness.  Also, if you are planning on adding text to the photo for a book / album / slide show, the frame offers a nice backdrop to place text.  I think this could have been improved with a vertical shot.

(St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy)

If anyone has any tips or insights or general comments they are welcome!