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Spain’s 5 Top Scenes for Travel Photographers

No matter what motivates you to travel, whether you yearn for culture or history, food or wine, a pilgrimage or luxury tour, you will surely take a few photos along the way.  Unlike writing a journal or travel blog, photography can take just seconds, yet it allows you to capture the essence of a destination in a way that locks it into your memory forever. 

But taking amazing photos isn’t just within the realm of professional travel photographers. Anyone who has a little patience and some empathy for that “something special” about the destination is capable of producing a captivating image. With digital photography now becoming so accessible too, photographers of all levels really can find amazing photo opportunities around every corner.

To help make the point we contacted a few of our online friends in Spain, both pro-photographers and hobby bloggers. We scoured their digital albums and picked out some of our favourite scenes in Spain for great travel photography…

1. Landscapes and nature photography – a whole world in one region

For stunning landscapes, Andalucia is a real pandora’s box for the avid photographer. Here you can journey from wild beaches to starched deserts, to protected marshlands to snow-capped mountain ranges all in a single trip; it really is an artists palette waiting to be brought to life.

Some of our favorite photo-stops are very accessible for travelers from the south coast of Spain. Without a doubt one of the most easy-to-impress-with scenes for amateur photographers to capture would be Ronda’s Tajo Gorge, taken from the Puente Nuevo bridge. But don’t stop there, because a photo taken from below the bridge can be even more magnificent…

Photography Ronda at night
Night photography of the bridge over El Tajo in Ronda

It also pays to wander off the beaten path to experience the rural richness that Spain has to offer.  We love these images of Karl’s from a photography trip into the countryside near Montejaque in search of the autumn harvest…

Photography in rural Spain
Paying attention details on a forest photo shoot (C) Karl Smallman

And the result of all that patience…

Photography in Autumn in Spain
Autumn harvest in the Alcornocales Natural Park (Photo Credit: Karl Smallman)

Marianne’s version of poppy fields in the Axarquia also took a ground-floor perspective…

travel photography poppy fields
Photographing the poppy fields in Andalusia (Credit Marianne @EastofMalaga)

Andalusia also has some pretty magnificent beaches, especially if you head West to the white sands and rolling Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Cadiz.  When it comes to photographing beaches, you definitely need to get there early or stay up late to catch the best light during the “Golden Hour”.

Photography in Marbella Beach
Marbella beach at dusk (Credit Craig Briggs)

And this is the kind of image you can produce with a few expert stills, as demonstrated by photographer Nathan Coe …

Travel photography Nathan Coe
Beach with sand dunes photograph by Nathan Coe @CoeCreate

2. The “Pueblos Blancos” White Villages of Andalusia

There is a reason why our so-called “sugar cube” or “birds nest” white villages are such common themes in travel photo albums, and that’s because they make such amazing subjects; The light cast across rooftops or alleyways is constantly changing color and tone, as are the daily scenes of village life, and the characters that you can find in the heart of these historical villages…

photo white villages spain
Photograph of the white village of Sedella, by Marianne @EastofMalaga

Sitting and waiting for the perfect photo opportunity in Spain is perhaps one of the best forms of meditation! Well worth the patience when the light moves into the right spot…

Light down a village street (C) Lesley Gregory

Or when the pigeon lands right where you need it…

village photography Spain
Capturing village life in Spain through photography. By Wayne Kirk.

Or the story just gets to the bit where…

Spain photography
Spanish locals sitting on a bench (Credit Steve Tallantyre)

For traditionalists, Vejer de la frontera has one of the most dramatic settings of all the White Villages of Cadiz.  Photographed from the top of the village, the houses form the perfect Spanish landscape looking out towards the sea:

Spanish village photography holiday
Photography of Spanish white villages

A wonderful trick of pro photographers is to frame the view using natural forms, and there are plenty of these in Spain.  Try capturing the scene though a derelict window, frame the village with an historical arch, glimpse into a patio through an open door…

Travel photography in Spain
Photograph Segovia Aqueduct by Marianne @EastofMalaga
White villages photography
Andalusia white village of Vejer by Wayne Kirk

3. Photographing the Spanish monuments: Capturing a different view

According to the Telegraph, Barcelona is one of the worlds most photographed places, thanks to the “Gaudi effect” that offers a never-ending kaleidoscope of images for you to capture.

Down in the south of Spain, there is a similar photo-frenzy around the world-famous silhouette of the Alhambra in Granada sitting against the snow-peaks, or Seville’s hand painted ceramic tiles adorning Plazas and Palaces, both common themes in travel photo albums or websites around the globe.

One way to capture a different view of some of the worlds most magnificent monuments is to get down low, and up close…

Photography in Spain monuments
Up close at the Alcazar in Seville (Credit Steve Tallantyre)

Or pay a visit by night, when the play of light and dark brings a whole new dimension to the details that can be found Spain’s most ancient buildings such as the Alhambra…

Granada photography
Night tour of the Alhambra Granada by Steve Tallantyre

4. Spanish fiestas, a photo opportunity around every corner

If you want to take the best photos at a special event or feria in Spain, it pays to do your research carefully since the window of opportunity to capture the highlight of the week may last only a few minutes, or seconds…

Barcelona photography travel
Barcelona Castellers by Steve Tallantyre

The culturally rich and historically significant Feria de Pedro Romero  in Ronda is a must-see for lovers of Spain.  The annual fair takes place in early September, and without a doubt one of the key highlights for visitors is the pomp and ceremony surrounding main bullfight, the Corrida Goyesca.

On the day of the Corrida, the image everyone wants to capture is the arrival by horse and carriage of the Matadors and their Ladies, the “Damas Goyescas”, dressed in their finery.  The traditional costumes date back to the 18th Century Spanish artist Fransisco Goya, a real treat of exquisite details, colour, and fabrics, such as the delicate lace Mantillas worn by the ladies.

To capture a decent shot you must arrive early and choose your position with care to win the battle over the crowds; the passage of the carriages lasts mere seconds…

photography feria Ronda
Capturing the details of the Feria Goyesca in Ronda (C) Visita Costa del Sol

A far easier target are the beautiful ladies in their Flamenco costumes visiting any of the Summer fairs. Ask politely and they are always happy to stand and smile at the camera, even the youngest party-goers…

photography in Spain
Enjoying the Summer fair in Jimera de Libar, Andalusia (Credit Karl Smallman)

And every so often its not even the subject of the scene that captivates, rather the effect it has on those around it…

Enjoying the Feria parade by Karl Smallman
Enjoying the Feria parade by Karl Smallman

And then of course as a travel photographer you might just prefer to throw out the stereotypes completely and keep it real. People do still have to live and work here too…

Horse and Carriage by Alan Gandy (C)
Horse and Carriage by Alan Gandy (C)

5. Foodie photos in Spain  – Not just tapas, seafood, wine …and more tapas

If you’ve seen the Toma Tours Instagram and Facebook pages you will know we LOVE foodie photos. Food helps us share the essence of Spain with our guests; its sociable, enticing, rich, convivial, and the passion that goes into Spanish cookery is that very same passion that ignites those lively street-bench discussions about Spanish football, corruption or the inevitable independence of Catalonia… its just part of what Spain is.

So, we will leave you with these parting shots of some Spanish gourmet delights, a little taster of why food bloggers love to visit Spain just as much as travel photographers…

Photograph of spanish seafood
Sunday lunch in Spain by Sophie Russell-Ross
food photography figs
Preparing Lunch at Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen, Vejer de la Frontera

And dessert just has to be by one of our favourite chefs in Ronda…

Dessert at Restaurant El Muelle de Arriate, Ronda
Dessert at Restaurant El Muelle de Arriate, Ronda

So what do you think makes a great travel photo? Would you prefer to capture the iconic images that Spain is famous for, or go a bit outside the box?

We would love to see your photos of Spain, so go and upload your favourite images to our Facebook page, or tag us on Instagram @TomaTours or Twitter @TomaTours1  – We will re-share our favourites so do keep an eye out!

Photo Credits:

Karl Smallman at Provision-360

Marianne Elizabeth at East of Malaga

Craig Briggs at Journey to a Dream

Nathan Coe, Nantucket based professional photographer

Wayne Kirk, Toma Tours photographer at Liquid Image

Steve Tallantyre, Barcelona based writer

Visit Costa del Sol tourist board

Alan Gandy, professional photographer

Sophie Russell-Ross, Granada travel blogger 

and our foodie favorites, Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen and El Muelle de Arriate

To visit Spain yourself and indulge in culture, food and photography, check out our photography holiday with Nathan Coe, still with limited spaces available.

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