PhotoSecrets Istanbul

A Photographer’s Guide

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A Photographer’s Guide
Andrew Hudson


Blue Mosque from Hotel Nena rooftop restaurant at sunsetOPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock


322 views to photograph
Blue Mosque from Seven Hills Restaurant with reflection at sunsetSamet Guler/Shutterstock
Harem tiled room, Topkapi PalaceDavid Stanley/Wikipedia
Interior, Basilica CisternKahumphrey/Flickr
Maiden’s Tower一元 马/Flickr
Medusa head sideways, Basilica CisternOleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock
Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia TramwayEx13/Wikipedia
Belgrad GateOllios/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque courtyard at duskBenh Lieu Song/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque dome and three exedraDennis Jarvis/Flickr
Blue Mosque from Innova Sultanahmet Istanbul Hotel at sunsetLuciano Mortula/Shutterstock
Blue Mosque ome and three exedra angleKrissanapong Wongsawarng/Shutterstock
Blue Mosque with fountain off duskTTstudio/Shutterstock
Dome of New MosqueMuscol/Wikipedia
Dusk top, Galata TowerHalbag/Flickr
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahmet Park left with fountain and garden in morningDennis Jarvis/Flickr
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahmet Park with fountain at nightMoyan Brenn/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahmet Park with fountain pool at nightTTstudio/Shutterstock
Hagia Sophia view 3Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock
Hagia Sophia view 4Artur Bogacki/Shutterstock
Ishtar Gate LionLlorto/Wikipedia
Medusa head upside down, Basilica CisternSerg Zastavkin/Shutterstock
Museum of The History of Science and Technology in IslamTom Worthington/Wikipedia
Street, Fener and Balat, IstanbulMoyan Brenn/Flickr
View of New Mosque from Boğaz İskelesi pierMoyan Brenn/Flickr
Yeni Cami MosqueDiplomedia/Shutterstock
Basilica CisternMoyan Brenn/Flickr
Blue Mosque dome and four exedraChristian Perez/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque with fountain at duskMoyan Brenn/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque with Sultan Ahmet Park fountain off in morningMing-yen Hsu/Flickr
Columns, Basilica CisternGirish Gopi/Flickr
Door in Sururi, Istanbul,Fabien Agon/Flickr
Endem TV TowerCeegee/Wikipedia
Exterior, Galata TowerJorge Láscar/Wikipedia
Gate of BelgradeSomeone/Wikipedia
Gate of SalutationPaul Simpson/Flickr
Hagia Sophia Dome cupolaBrian Jeffery Beggerly/Wikipedia
Halil Pasha TowerDarwinek/Wikipedia
Harem, Topkapı PalacePayman Sazesh/Wikipedia
Haydarpaşa TerminalAltug Karakoc/Flickr
Interior of the Süleymaniye MosqueSaskia Heijltjes/Flickr
Istanbul Blue MosqueMoyan Brenn/Flickr
Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgia TramwayAcp/Wikipedia
Keystone from Forum of ConstantineGryffindor/Wikipedia
Lanterns at the Grand Bazaar IstanbulLaszlo Ilyes/Wikipedia
Looking up, Galata TowerMr Hicks46/Flickr
Mosaic of Christ at Chora ChurchDimitry B/Flickr
Ortaköy MosqueVeritas-Tr/Wikipedia
Rahmi M. Koç MuseumAil Subway/Wikipedia
Şile FeneriDarwinek/Wikipedia
Spices, Grand BazaarBrewbooks/Flickr
Street, Gürsel, IstanbulJuan Verni/Flickr
Valens AqueductJes Aguado/Flickr
Virgin and child, painted dome of the parecclesionTakeaway/Wikipedia
Arcade, Imperial CouncilMaksym Kozlenko/Wikipedia
Atatürk MuseumDarwinek/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque dome and column looking upWilliam Neuheisel/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque minaretTravancorehistory/Wikipedia
Boğaziçi UniversityTurkmessage/Wikipedia
Çiçek PasajıDarwinek/Wikipedia
Courtyard arcadesBenh Lieu Song/Wikipedia
Courtyard at Dolmabahçe PalaceJohnPickenPhoto/Flickr
Crystal Staircase at Dolmabahçe PalacePeace01234 Peace01234/Wikipedia
Dishes, Grand BazaarJez Elliott/Flickr
Egyptian Sarcophagus Istanbul Archaeolgical MuseumsHarold Litwiler/Flickr
Exterior, Dolmabahçe PalacePatrick G/Flickr
Fenerbahçe Lighthouse…trialsanderrors/Wikipedia
Galata Tower and cafe and nightDieter Titz/Flickr
Gate of the SultanDennis Jarvis/Flickr
Hagia Sophia ChandelierWissam Shekhani/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahment Park with fountain in afternoonMe Stesso/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahmet Park left with gardenMattias Hill/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia from Sultan Ahmet Park with fountain at sunriseJen Supaph/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia Interior upper level 3Facemepls/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia interior view looking up 1Altay Ozcan/Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia interior view looking up 2Serafita/Wikipedia
Interior 2 Terrace KioskAnton Zelenov/Wikipedia
Interior of Grand BazaarDmgultekin/Wikipedia
Night, New MosqueNevit Dilmen/Wikipedia
Obelisk of TheodosiusJon-Eric Melsæter/Flickr
Oculi of the Dome of S%c3%bcleymaniye MosqueJosé Luiz/Wikipedia
Republic MonumentScisa/Wikipedia
Spice BazaarBit Boy/Flickr
Spices at the Spice BazaarEric Haglund/Flickr
Staircase at Istanbul Archaeology MuseumsSaragoldsmith/Flickr
Street, Fener and Balat, IstanbulMoyan Brenn/Flickr
Theodosius CisternOrth/Wikipedia
Tulip Garden, Topkapı PalaceWolfgang Moroder/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque ablution facilitiesBjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque from Deluxe Golden Horn Hotel in afternoonDersaadet/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque prayer area and chandelierBjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikipedia
Blue Mosque prayer area and domeChristian Perez/Wikipedia
Blue tiles at the Blue MosqueBrian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr
Courtyard of the Favourites, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
Courtyard of the Sultan’s Consorts and the Concubines, Topkapı PalaceJosep Renalias/Wikipedia
Domes, Süleymaniye MosqueNérostrateur/Wikipedia
Exterior, Imperial CouncilNorbert Nagel/Wikipedia
Hagia Irene, Topkapı PalaceMatthias Süßen/Wikipedia
Istanbul skyline from Galata TowerSimm/Wikipedia
Lion from Isthar Gate Istanbul Archaeolgical MuseumsBrewbooks/Flickr
Lion sculpture, Gulhane ParkBrian Gratwicke/Flickr
panorama, Basilica CisternDavid Haberthür/Flickr
Privy Chamber of Ahmed III, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
Conqueror’s Pavilion, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
Imperial Council, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
Terrace Kiosk, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
Gülhane ParkEtaergun/Wikipedia
Imperial Treasury, Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia
İstiklal AvenueJosep Renalias/Wikipedia
Topkapı PalaceGryffindor/Wikipedia


Map of Istanbul


  • Asian side
  • European side
  • Blue Mosque
  • Topkapı Palace
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Istanbul Archaeology Museums
  • Hippodrome of Constantinople
  • New Mosque
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Second Hill
  • Third Hill
  • Sixth Hill
  • Balat
  • Walls of Constantinople
  • Laleli
  • Valens Aqueduct
  • Theodosius Cistern
  • Beşiktaş
  • Outer Istanbul
  • Back matter
  • About PhotoSecrets



    A great travel photo­graph requires you to be in the right place at the right time to capture that special moment. Professional photo­graphers have a short-hand phrase for this: “F8 and be there.”

    There are countless books that can help you with photo­graphic technique, the “F8” portion of that equation. But until now, there’s been little help for the other, more critical portion of that equation, the “be there” part. To find the right spot, you had to expend lots of time and shoe leather to essentially re-invent the wheel.

    In my career as a professional travel photo­grapher, well over half my time on location is spent seeking out the good angles. Andrew Hudson’s PhotoSecrets does all that legwork for you, so you can spend your time photo­graphing instead of wandering about. I wish I had one of these books for every city I photo­graph on assignment.

    PhotoSecrets can help you capture the most beautiful sights with a minimum of hassle and a maximum of enjoyment. So grab your camera, find your favorite PhotoSecrets spots, and “be there!”

    About Bob Krist

    Bob Krist has photo­graphed assignments for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Travel/­Holiday, Smithsonian, and Islands. He won “Travel photo­grapher of the Year” from the Society of American Travel Writers in 1994, 2007, and 2008.

    For National Geographic, Bob has led round-the-world tours and a traveling lecture series. His book In Tuscany with Frances Mayes spent a month on The New York Times’ bestseller list and his how-to book Spirit of Place was hailed by American Photo­grapher magazine as “the best book about travel photo­graphy we’ve ever read.”

    The parents of three sons, Bob and his wife live in New Hope, Pennsylvania.


    Thank you for reading PhotoSecrets. As a fellow fan of travel and photo­graphy, I hope this guide will help you quickly find the most visually stunning places, and come home with equally stunning photo­graphs.

    PhotoSecrets is designed to show you all the best sights. Flick through, see the classic views, and use them as a departure point for your own creations. Flick through, enjoy the photos, and see which places inspire you. Get comp­osition ideas, lighting tips, and a brief history. It’ll be like traveling with a location scout and a pro-photo­grapher by your side.

    The idea for PhotoSecrets came during a trip to Thailand, when I tried to find the exotic beach used in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. None of the guidebooks I had showed a picture, so I thought a guidebook of postcard photos would be useful for us photographers. If you have any ides for improvements, please send me an email at

    Now, start exploring — and take lots of photos!

    About Andrew Hudson

    Originally an engineer, Andrew Hudson started PhotoSecrets in 1995. His first book won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best First Book and his second won the Grand Prize in the National Self-Published Book Awards.

    Andrew has published 15 nationally-distributed photo­graphy books. He has photo­graphed assignments for Macy’s, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Men’s Health and Seventeen, and been a location scout for Nikon. His photos and articles have appeared in Alaska Airlines, National Geographic Traveler, Shutterbug Outdoor and Nature photo­graphy, Where, and Woman’s World.

    Andrew has a degree in Computer Engineering from Manchester University and a certificate in copyright law from Harvard Law School. Born in Redditch, England, he lives with his wife, two kids, and two chocolate Labs, in San Diego, California.


    At a Glance

    Fame:Largest city in Turkey
    Largest European city
    Straddles Europe and Asia
    One of the most significant cities in history
    Capital of the Roman empire (330–1204)
    Capital of the Ottoman (1453–1922)
    Founded:660 BCE
    Previously:Byzantium (660 BCE – 330 CE)
    Constantinople (330 – 1930)
    Population:City 14,025,646 (2015)
    Metro 14,657,434 (2015)
    Time zone:EET (UTC+2)
    GPS:41.013611, 28.955
    Website:Official site

    Istanbul historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (coterminous with Istanbul Province), both hosting a population of around 14.7 million residents. Istanbul is one of the world’s most populous cities and ranks as the world’s 7th-largest city proper and the largest European city.

    Founded under the name of Byzantion (Βυζάντιον) on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city developed to become one of the most significant in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman and Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate.

    Istanbul’s strategic position on the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace, although less so since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Overlooked for the new capital Ankara during the interwar period, the city has since regained much of its prominence. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts, music, film, and cultural festivals were established at the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today. Infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network.

    Approximately 12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. The city’s biggest attraction is its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city’s natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. It hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul has bid for the Summer Olympics five times in twenty years.


















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