Venice Photography Guide
April 28, 2022 | Cityscape Photography, Travel | by Michael Breitung
I've been a photographer for more than ten years and even though Venice has been on my list of future travel destinations for most of that time, only recently did I finally visit this wonderful city. For five days, I explored the maze of narrow alleys, canals, and little bridges that make up the heart of Venice. In this article, I share my experiences as a photography guide.
It's not very hard to find good photo spots in Venice. On the different photo-sharing platforms, you can find thousands of photos, and just using Google Maps it's pretty easy to find the places where those were taken. So that's what I did as I started planning my trip to Venice. Before I booked our accommodation, I wanted to make sure that I would have a few of the famous photo spots within walking distance.
How To Get to Venice
Before I tell you where we stayed in Venice, I want to share the different options for visiting Venice. If you travel from outside Europe, you'll likely fly to Marco Polo Airport. From there you can take a ferry, called Vaporetto, to the heart of Venice.
To use ferries, busses, and other public transportation in and around Venice, you should install the Actv app, which lets you buy and activate tickets. Make sure to install it before your trip because verification of your account is required where you need to insert your credit card details. A single ferry ride costs 7,5 Euros, no matter how far you go, and the ticket will be valid for 75 minutes after its activation.
If you travel within Europe, using the train or car could also be an option. You can then either take a Vaporetto or one of the expensive water taxis from the train station in Venice to get closer to your hotel. Alternatively, you can do what we did and walk through the city.
We drove down to Venice in my car from Munich in Germany, which took about 6,5 hours. It was a lot cheaper than the train, which I find ridiculous. We would have paid 200 Euro more for two return tickets than what the complete trip with the car cost me, including parking. Parking is quite affordable if you park at one of the parking lots close to the bridge that leads to Venice. We used Green Park and paid 6 Euros per day.
Where To Stay in Venice
Venice is a very walkable city. I'd suggest booking a hotel or Airbnb somewhere in the San Marco or San Polo district, which will put you right in the center of all the photo spots, and you can get everywhere in the city with no more than 2,5 kilometers of walking. Accommodations in these areas are not cheap, but it's worth staying right in the center, which we did with our Airbnb.
Venice Photography Guide
In this part, I go through different photogenic areas in Venice. In general, you can find something to photograph in any part of the city. Just explore. You will spot plenty of subjects beyond the popular photo locations. This guide will give you a good start. It's not an exhaustive list, but it contains some of the best photo spots in the city.
Riva Degli Schiavoni and St. Mark's Square
The waterfront area Riva Degli Schiavoni with St. Mark's Square has maybe the highest photo subject densities in Venice. That's also the reason why it's usually very crowded. Even early in the morning, you'll have to share it with other photographers. But that's ok because there are many photo spots.
And although there are many obvious scenes to photograph, I found a perspective of the Campanile di San Marco, which I hadn't seen photographed before. It shows that it's worth spending some time to explore this area and not just head to the main photo spots, from which I also took my photo – nothing wrong with that.
Another area that'll be worth your time is the Dorsoduro district. Here you'll find many beautiful views along the different canals, and there is plenty of opportunity to put one of the many crooked church towers into the frame. The most picturesque canal is, in my opinion, the Rio de S. Barnaba. It provides wonderful views into both the eastern and western direction.
But don't stop there. I walked through the whole district during my visit to Venice and found many interesting views. The only problem I had was the limited time. Five days is just not enough to capture all of Venice's beauty.
Campo Manin to Ponte dell'Accademia
I mention Campo Manin, because besides providing some great photography subjects, it also sits roughly in the center of the San Marco district. And I found many beautiful canals and bridges to the west of this plaza in the direction of Ponte dell'Accademia.
Ponte dell'Accademia is one of the most popular photo spots in Venice. I walked there many times from our Airbnb, passing through Campo Manin. Most of the time, I didn't take the direct route. I went right and left down different alleys and found scenes like this one along the way.
And at Campo Manin itself, I took this blue hour photo on my final evening in Venice. It was my favorite scene of the trip: the two bridges framing the gondolas. If you are interested in how I edited this photo, you can check the photo editing tutorial I have available here.
As I wrote above, this is not an exhaustive list. It's a start and will provide you with enough photo opportunities for several days. But if you have the time, also pay the Castello and Cannaregio districts a visit. You'll find places like the Libreria Acqua Alta, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo or the picturesque channels around Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
And to get the most out of such a city trip to Venice, make sure to watch my video about seven tips for better cityscape photos.