AsiaIstanbul’s Best Photo Locations & Tips for the Perfect Shot
best photo spots in Istanbul and photo tips

Istanbul’s Best Photo Locations & Tips for the Perfect Shot

Pro Tips for Picture-Perfect Insta-Posts in Istanbul

Sultanahmet Photo Locations

The historic core of Istanbul, Sultanahmet is brimming with iconic landmarks and scenic spots that beg to be photographed. However, note that some historic sites require permits for pro camera use. But don’t fret—you can still get stunning shots with your smartphone or a discreet camera.

Best Spots for Photos in Sultanahmet :

  • Sultanahmet Square: Perfect for wide shots capturing the ambiance.
  • Seven Hills Rooftop: Snap stunning views of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
  • Sultanahmet Streets & Tram: Capture the essence of the city’s daily life.

Sultanahmet Photo Tips:

  • Permits: Some historic sights require permits for professional cameras. But don’t fret, your smartphone is your best friend here.
  • Dress Code: When entering mosques, cover your legs and avoid disrespectful clothing. Show some respect and get those epic interior shots!
  • Timing: Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds.
  • Respect: Avoid taking photos during prayer times, especially on Fridays.

Istanbul Bazaars

Step into the kaleidoscope of colors that are Istanbul’s bazaars. These markets are more than just shopping spots; they’re treasure troves of photogenic moments.

Istanbul Bazaars Photography Best Spots:

  • Grand Bazaar: Get lost in a maze of shops selling everything from spices to jewelry.
  • Spice Bazaar: The vibrant array of spices, sweets, and dried fruits make for striking images.

Tips for Istanbul Bazaars Photography :

  • Stay Safe: Keep an eye on your purses and camera gear; it’s bustling out there.
  • Friendly Photos: Don’t be shy—ask vendors if you can snap a picture of their goods. Most won’t mind and might even give you a smile for the shot!
  • Polite Requests: Always ask vendors politely before photographing them or their stalls. Most are cool with it.
  • Taste Test: Definitely try the street food. It’s clean, delicious, and adds an authentic touch to your experience.
  • Color Pop: Look for vibrant juice stalls or the iconic mussels stand for some colorful, mouth-watering shots.

 Karaköy and Beyoğlu Photo Locations

These neighborhoods are the heartbeat of contemporary Istanbul, mixing the old with the new in the most stylish way.

Best Spots in  Karaköy and Beyoğlu:

  • Galata Tower: Get panoramic views of the city from the top.
  • Istiklal Avenue: Capture the hustle and bustle of this lively street.
  • Street Art: Karaköy is peppered with edgy murals and graffiti.

Istanbul Street Food and Hustle & Bustle

Istanbul’s streets are alive with the aroma of delicious food and the energy of its people. Don’t miss the chance to photograph the local street food scene.Street food vendors are everywhere, and they make for fantastic photography subjects. The hustle and bustle of Istanbul’s streets are also great for action shots.

Best Spots for Istanbul Street Food photos:

  • Fish Sandwiches at Eminönü: Snap the vendors grilling fish right on their boats.
  • Simit Sellers: Capture the iconic sesame bread rings in the hands of cheerful vendors.
  • Street Art: Capture the eclectic street art and graffiti that adorn the walls.
  • Cafes: Snap some candid shots in one of the many hip cafes for a cool, urban vibe.

Istanbul Street Food Photos Tips:

  • Politeness Pays: Vendors are usually kind and won’t pressure you to buy if you ask to take a photo.
  • Dive In: Turkey’s street food is one of the best and safest. Capture the vibrant colors of a juice stall or the hustle at a mussel stand.


This hidden gem is less frequented by tourists, making it a serene spot for photography. Nestled along the Bosphorus, Ortaköy offers amazing views and unique angles.

Best Spots:

  • Ortaköy Mosque: Frame it with the Bosphorus Bridge in the background.
  • Bosphorus Pier: Catch boats gliding along the water.
  • Cafés: The cozy, charming spots along the waterfront are perfect for lifestyle shots.


  • Pigeon Photos: Grab some pigeon food (yes, you can buy it right in the square) for fun shots with the pigeons.
  • Antique Market: Explore hidden alleys and the antique market for mysterious lighting and unique captures.
  • Angles Matter: Capture both the mosque and the bridge from the main square for a stunning shot.

Istanbul Rooftops and Viewing Platforms

The cityscape of Istanbul, with its mix of minarets and modern skyscrapers, is best captured from above. Here are some of the top rooftops and viewing platforms.

Top Locations:

  • Seven Hills Restaurant: Amazing view of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
  • Galata Tower: Stunning cityscape views


  • True Views: Some rooftop photos with traditional clothes and tea setups can be pretty staged. If you want that specific shot, keep in mind these spots change frequently due to, well, seagulls and their habits.
  • Be Real: Opt for genuine, less staged shots to capture the real essence of Istanbul.
  • Seven Hills: This is a fantastic viewing platform for capturing the sprawling cityscape.

Lesser-Known Areas: Balat’s Colorful Houses

Balat is a vibrant neighborhood with its own unique charm. Its colorful houses and narrow streets provide a picturesque backdrop for any photo session.

Best Spots:

  • Rainbow Stairs: Perfect for a playful, colorful shot.
  • Colorful Houses: Every corner of Balat seems to offer a new burst of color.

Balat’s Colorful Houses Photo Tips:

  • Wander: Get lost in the narrow streets and discover unexpected photo opportunities.
  • Details Matter: Focus on the details—doors, windows, and unique architectural features.

My favorite places to take photos in Istanbul

The Ethereal Beauty of the Bosphorus at Ortaköy

Ortaköy—a quaint neighborhood at the confluence of the Bosphorus—exudes an ethereal charm perfect for those sunset photos. Capture the pastel palette of the sky’s twilight dance against the silhouette of the majestic Ortaköy Mosque. Stake your spot by the waters to catch the Bosphorus beau ideal: graceful ferries ferrying silhouetted passengers as the city’s lit landmarks mirror the stars above.

Exploring the Alleys and Street Art of Karaköy

Karaköy may not be one of the conventional tourist hubs, but it’s a gold mine for urban photographers. Its cobbled streets, framed by remnants of historical buildings juxtaposed against colorful murals, create a fascinating collage of old and new. The winding lanes and secret corners yield unanticipated artful encounters, each one demanding a frame of its own.

Lost in Karaköy’s alleys, discovering these treasures is a part of the thrill. Travel light, with a single lens that captures both the grandeur of ruin and the vibrancy of street art in one shot. Staying nimble ensures you catch that impromptu moment when a gull stands guard in the harmonious indie frame.

Golden Horn Views

The Galata Tower, an eternal figure of Istanbul, not only offers a stunning view of the Golden Horn but is also a visual feast when seen from afar. Capture the radiant cityscape at dusk, marking the smoldering horizon with its ancient silhouette. If heights don’t unnerve you, ascend the terrace and immortalize the Galata Tower as a source and subject of storytelling within the same photograph.

For a perspective less conventional, escape the tower’s shadow and onto the Galata Bridge. Looking back, watch as the tower stands sedate, gloriously framing the glistening currents of the Golden Horn that sway with the rhythm of bustling life.

So, what are the most instagrammable places in Istanbul?

In summary, Istanbul is a city that thrives on its contrasts and layers – it’s a treasure trove to explore through the lens of a camera. Whether you’re chasing the perfect light on the Galata Bridge or savoring an unscripted moment in its back alleys, Istanbul invites you to capture its many moods and messages. Remember, at the end of the day, the most Instagrammable locations are the ones that inspire you the most. This guide is just the start — now it’s your turn to experience Istanbul’s magic and share it with the world.

Istanbul Photo Tips
  1. Lighting Is Key

For interior shots, the best light is in the morning when the sun’s glow is soft. Conversely, the Golden Horn in the evening offers a naturally dramatic and warm light that brings out the colors of the city’s buildings and waters.

  1. Timing Is Everything

To avoid crowds, get to popular spots like the Blue Mosque at sunrise or Ortaköy Mosque during the week. These quieter moments also provide the most beautiful light for your photographs.

  1. Interact With Locals

Not only will it deepen your understanding of Istanbul but it may lead you to unexplored photo opportunities and a lot of good Insta content.

  1. Keep It Seasonal

Try to visit in the spring when the city is awash with the colors of nature. In winter, however, you’ll find Istanbul at its most photogenic – blanketed in white snow with a rare, tranquil stillness.

  1. Take a Ferry

The ferry ride offers a unique perspective of the city’s skyline and a great way to capture panoramic cityscapes. Plus, the seagulls that flock around the ferry make for a fun and unusual addition to your photos.

I believe that you can travel the world without quitting your job. I believe that you can experience all the magic, the foodies and the cultures of the world while having a normal life. And, perhaps, two dogs. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 15 years. This is exactly what my blog is about. Love, Lilia

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