Every year, Instagram reveals their top ten most photographed places in the world, and every year, Istanbul appears on the list. Locals and tourists Instagramming everything and anything in Istanbul isn’t unusual because not only is it the most populated place in Turkey, but also a top visited city break destination.
Instagram can also take credit for promoting the city because it is one of the top ten social media sites, bought out by Facebook in 2012 for a staggering 1 billion USD. Particularly favoured for its ability to edit and share, either publicly or privately, real-time photos instantly put followers into that location at the same time.
So, whether you are a local of Istanbul or just plan to visit, using Instagram to record and document your exploration is an ideal choice but before we talk about the most Instagrammable places in Istanbul, here are some tips to make your photos stand out.
Tips for Taking Instagram Pictures in Istanbul
1: Use the Golden Hour/Sunsets and Sunrises: The golden hour is a timeslot occurring just after sunrise and just before sunset. This is when the sky is redder and softer than other times of the day. Amazing sunrises and sunsets happen in Istanbul, so when combined with the golden hour, you have quite a bit of time to captures some dramatic shots.
2: Rule of Thirds: Naturally, as Turkey’s largest city, the architecture, both modern and old is mind-blowing and even just walking down the street will present many opportunities for talented Instagram shots. Use the third photography rule, to place the topic of your Instagram shot off centre, so the composition draws the viewer in. To do this, just activate the grid on your camera.
3: What is Your Focus Point? As you explore the city, many people, buildings, moments or day-to-day items, that will make an interesting Instagram photo will come into view. Make them the main topic of your picture by tapping them on the screen to get the camera to focus for 100% sharpness.
4: Check Opening Times: While lots of people in a photograph portray real life as it is, if you want to get a snapshot of landmark buildings, crowds distract from the main topic. Check opening times of popular attractions and go first thing in the morning when there are barely any crowds or tour buses.
5: Think About Themes: Istanbul is a massive city, and every type of themed photography presents itself in unedited glory. So, as well as Instagramming well-known landmarks and places, look for other themes including streets and neighbourhoods like Balat or Fener, Turkish food and drink photography, architecture, people, moments and of course the skyline view.
8 Instagrammable Places in Istanbul
1: Sultanahmet Square
Sitting in between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the Sultanahmet square is perfect for taking snapshots of both iconic landmarks and of course, the places in between them. Of course, go inside both the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia as they are not only stunning examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, but the interior also presents sharp angles for some stunning shots.
2: Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue, the busiest street in Turkey, offers a myriad of Instagram opportunities including buskers, and landmark buildings but wander off the main drag to the antique shops in the backstreets, and the nostalgic portrait photography in Flower Passage. Of course, there is the traditional red tram running down the middle but be unique because it is already a top photographed topic of Istanbul.
3: Galata Bridge
Including the famous anglers and floating fish restaurants boats, every square inch of Galata Bridge gives off different skyline views as you cross from one side of European Istanbul to the other. If your phone allows it, this is also an excellent opportunity for a panorama shot.
4: A Bosphorus Cruise
Speaking of skyline photography, a Bosphorus cruise displays many landmarks including palaces, castles, neighbourhoods and most importantly the old yali houses, favourite summer residences for many wealthy social circles during the Ottoman era.
What makes them unique is the architectural style does not appear anywhere else in the world. Instagrammers on a budget should buy a ferry tour ticket, instead of buying the more expensive tours with music and dinner.
5: Panoramic Views Over Istanbul
For one of the best angles get up high. Many hotels in Istanbul have rooftop terraces otherwise in the Levant district, the Istanbul Sapphire is the tallest building in the city. The Sapphire viewing terrace standing at 236 metres high gives off a 360-degree view for the perfect Instagram shot from high up. Pierre Loti Hill overlooking the Golden Horn is another ideal place for great landscape shots.
6: Ottoman Architecture
Countless amounts of Ottoman palaces are open to the public in Istanbul, and while photography is banned in rooms with artefacts and priceless heirlooms, the distinctive architectural styles of the exterior make interesting Instagram themes. Travellers should most certainly put Topkapi Palace on their list, which was the first home of the Ottoman sultans, and follow it up with a trip to Dolmabahce Palace, that was the last home of the ruling sultans.
7: Galata Area
Sitting a short walk from Istiklal Avenue, the Galata area has an extremely tall tower from which a fantastic view over the Golden Horn is possible but also wander the side streets for some interesting street photography opportunities.
8: Grand Bazaar
For an authentic Turkish shopping theme, walk the narrow alleyways and thousands of shops within the Grand Bazaar. Although there are many souvenir shops, others sell quirky items to brighten up your Instagram feed and make your followers laugh.
To see more Instagrammable places in Istanbul and throughout Turkey, follow us on Instagram.
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