I’ve been trying to improve my photography game recently so I was really excited to join Will and Chris from Iconic Photo Tours to explore the city a couple of weeks ago.
Sure, this is a tour about Edinburgh, but not as you know it. Yes, you wander around the town and learn the fascinating stories behind the city’s famous landmarks, but these talented tour guides are also experienced photographers who teach you how to capture great pictures of the city along the way.
What I love about these guys is that they aren’t snobbish about what kind of kit you have. I have an Olympus EM-10, which I bought earlier this year and I absolutely love, but there were a few people on the tour that just had their phone cameras with them and that was absolutely fine too. In fact, I ended up pulling out my iPhone camera at a couple of points as I was keen to learn the smartphone tips and tricks as well!
We started our tour on North Bridge and took in the view over the top of Waverley Train Station to Calton Hill. This shot has a nice juxtaposition between old and new from the monuments on Calton Hill to the glass roof of the station.
We moved over to the Scotsman Steps to take this picture of the Balmoral Hotel. The weather was quite changeable on the day and I think it’s really obvious in this shot with the random shaft of light landing in the middle of the station roof! Still, I quite like the effect of it.
Will encouraged us to look at the city in different angles, so I took this snapshot of the entrance to Waverley Station from the same spot.
We made our way up the Royal Mile and stopped outside the City Chambers to take more pictures. Up until this point I had mainly using my camera, but I took out my iPhone to take the picture of the courtyard above and experiment a little with effects like drama filter and lens blur.
The next stop was Advocates Close, where you can take this really popular shot of the lamp with Scott Monument in the background.
There were also some great details to capture in the close too…
We moved on to St Giles Cathedral, where there happened to be a wedding taking place. There was a really cute bus outside the cathedral so I grabbed this quick picture on my phone before we carried on.
We went around the side of St Giles to the car park and John Knox’s grave. Here Will encouraged us to experiment with the filters on our phones, which resulted in this very unusual shot of John Knox’s gravestone!
Will also showed us the power of framing a shot – the arches we were under at this point added a little something extra to this picture of St Giles.
From St Giles it was a short walk to Greyfriars Courtyard, where there are no shortage of interesting things to capture! In the gate shot below, Will showed us how light and shadows can sometimes make a really interesting picture.
Capturing more details in the pictures above with my camera and my iPhone – can you tell which is which?!
For our final shot of the tour, Will showed us a very interesting trick. Keep a bottle of water with you and if you find an interesting view, pour some water on a surface to make a “puddle” which will give you a really nice reflection! Here it is in action with a view of the Old Town:
If you want to learn how to make the most of your camera, whether it’s a top-of-the-range SLR or your iPhone, this is the tour for you. Will and Chris are super knowledgeable and really helpful but in a friendly and non-condescending way, and I came away from the tour feeling empowered to take even better pictures.
Iconic Tours Photo Tours are available to small groups or for private tours. The guys do all sorts of walking tours around the city, over to Fife and beyond. To find out more, visit their website.