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A place for me to share some of my travel photography and experiences as well as any other thoughts, ideas or events that catch my eye. 

Postcard worthy photography - The Taj Mahal

When it comes to iconic monuments around the world, you'd be hard pressed to find any 'top list' that doesn't include the Taj Mahal on it. The ivory-white, marble mausoleum has long been considered one of the most beautiful buildings of the world, with travellers coming from all corners of the globe to experience its beauty in person. And while there's nothing quite like experiencing the Taj Mahal in person, getting that perfect shot of the Taj Mahal is on all of our bucket lists.

The only problem? When you're dealing with one of the New Wonders of the World, you're inevitably going to have to deal with hoards of people, who will oftentimes change your Taj picture from 'postcard worthy' to 'where did the Taj Mahal go?' Planning on visiting India & the Taj Mahal anytime soon? Bringing your fancy new camera along? Well here are just a few tips to help you come back with that perfect shot you always dreamed of.

1) Get there early

Common sense might dictate this first one, but it's important nevertheless. What's the best way to beat the crowds and get the perfect shot? Get there before everyone else!! The Taj Mahal usually opens for sunrise (which can be pretty early depending on the time of year) and not only is it jaw-dropping to see the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, but you also won't have to deal with the massive crowds that are usually around during the middle of the day.

It's pretty easy to wake up early when this is the reward

It's pretty easy to wake up early when this is the reward

When we went to visit the Taj, we had to wake up at 4:00am, but the early wake up time led to us being (literally) first in line when the doors opened, and a brief period of time where we were able to get some memorable shots of the Taj. Even after the crowds started coming in, we continued to be treated to the sun rising and somehow making the Taj Mahal appear even more beautiful as the the golden rays began reflecting off of the white marble bricks of the mausoleum.

2) Find the right angle

When you picture the Taj Mahal, everyone has that one iconic shot in mind. The shot from the entrance to the main courtyard, where you can see the Taj straight on. And while there is nothing like getting that one iconic shot, the fact of the matter is that no matter where you're taking a picture of the Taj from, you're bound to end up with a memorable shot. 

Don't be afraid to use different angles or light/shadows to your advantage

Don't be afraid to use different angles or light/shadows to your advantage

One of my favourite shots is a close up shot of the Taj Mahal that I took at an angle. Not only is it something different than what most people have, I got a clear shot of the Taj and with the sun shining down on the white marble, I was able to get a stunning shot of the Taj where it was literally 'glowing.'

3) Try different vantage points

One of the best parts about photographing the Taj Mahal is that you can do so from literally anywhere. Because of the symmetrical nature of the mausoleum, whether you're in front, behind or even to the side of the Taj, there are limitless opportunities to end up with that perfect shot you've been craving.

Getting away from the crowds to find a different vantage point of the Taj

Getting away from the crowds to find a different vantage point of the Taj

By expanding your vantage points, you'll be able to play around with different 'natural settings' and ideally end up with a unique & different shot of the Taj Mahal. For example, one of my favourite shots of the Taj Mahal is one that I took off to the side of the mausoleum. Not only was I still able to get a head on shot of the Taj, there were literally no people around when I was there, the different angle of the sunrise gave the shot a more unique look and I was able to use one of the smaller buildings in the courtyard to add a little bit of character to my shot. 

4) There's more than just the Taj

Speaking of using the smaller buildings in one of my shots of the Taj Mahal, it's important to realize that there's more than just the main mausoleum when it come to visiting the Taj. Of course the main reason we visit is to see the Taj Mahal, but there is much more to see as well. While exploring the Taj and it's surroundings, I was able to get some great shots of the main entrance (with my back facing the Taj),as well as of the side buildings flanking the Taj. Not only were they beautiful in their own right, the red sandstone bricks give the buildings a distinct contrast to the white marble the Taj is famous for.

The Taj Mahal complex is full of beauty no matter where you look

The Taj Mahal complex is full of beauty no matter where you look

5) Embrace your surroundings

Last but not least, one of the most important things to do is to embrace your surroundings! Yes the Taj Mahal is going to be full of fellow travellers and yes it might be difficult to get that perfect shot you've always dreamed of. But perfect doesn't mean that your shot has to be free of any other travellers. 

One of the best part about travelling is the people you meet and the experiences you have, and visiting the Taj is no different. From fellow travellers to locals praying, the Taj Mahal is one of the best places to just sit back and 'people watch.' And when it comes to photography, using your fellow visitors in a shot can actually serve to enhance it and even give it a bit more of a story. The human element is always one of the most underrated parts of photography, so don't forget to use it when visiting the Taj Mahal. Odds are that you'll end up with the shot of a lifetime (and one that most people definitely won't have)!

Click below for more pictures from my time in India

Stephan PopescuComment