Northern Ireland’s capital city is a fantastic place to take photographs. With an eclectic mix of new and old architecture, a vibrant street scene and plenty of characters to point your lens at, you should find plenty to shoot.
We’ve got together with Jessops and Panasonic Lumix to show you some of the best UK photo locations, with top photogenic locations to explore. Whether you’re shooting with your smartphone or a great camera like the brand new Panasonic Lumix GX9, you’ll be sure to find some inspiration here.
A fantastic travel companion, the Lumix GX9 has lots of great features which make it the perfect choice for amateur photographers who want a professional experience. With a compact body and advanced technology, the Lumix GX9 is superb for street-style photography.
With all that in mind, we’ve got a Lumix GX9 to give away for the best city photograph taken in each of the following locations: Belfast, Cardiff, Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bromley and Exeter.
Each week, we’ll be publishing some of the best photo spots from the cities mentioned to give you some inspiration. We’d love to see what you end up photographing. All you need to do is either share your images on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #lumixhiddencities, or email them to us at email@example.com
The top images from all of the entries per city will win a Lumix GX9 to help make your next set of photographs even better. They’ll also be printed on canvas and displayed in the nearest Jessops store.
Whether you want to capture a fantastic shot or share something awe-inspiring on Instagram, one of the following locations should be a good place to begin your photo journey.
1. St Anne’s Square
Mainly known as a good place to grab a bite to eat or pay a visit to the MAC (Arts Centre), St Anne’s Square has a little hidden secret if only you look up and frame your shot right. The Spire of Hope from St Anne’s Cathedral can be seen peeking out into the bright blue Belfast sky (if you’re lucky).
Photo Tip: Use buildings to create leading lines which point towards your main subject.
2. Titanic Belfast
Opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast is already one of Belfast’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum tells the story of the ill-fated and world-famous ship-liner and is found on the former site of the Harland and Wolff shipyard where the ship was built. Photographically, our interest lies in the eye-catching architectural exterior – it’s designed to look like several ships prows extending into the sky. Ironically enough, lots of locals also call it the iceberg.
Photo Tip: For an abstract effect, zoom in (or crop if you can’t zoom) tight on unusual buildings like this.
3. View from Cave Hill
All of Belfast can be seen from the top of Cave Hill, so if you want an all encompassing shot, this is the place to come. If you’re really lucky – and the sky is clear – you may also see Scotland or the Isle of Man – too. Gulliver’s Travels is said to be inspired by the shape of the mountain, which resembles a sleeping giant.
Photo Tip: Don’t forget to pack both a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens for sweeping landscape shots which can be interspersed with landmark details.
4. Harland & Wolff Cranes
These bright yellow twin shipbuilding cranes (actually called Samson and Goliath) are one of the iconic symbols of Belfast. You simply have to include a shot of the famous duo in any Belfast portfolio, but the challenge is to get something unusual. Will you create an exaggerated wide-angle shot, or will you zoom in closer for something a little more abstract?
Photo Tip: There’s so many ways you could photograph the cranes – if you end up taking lots of photos, why not combine them together in a collage?
5. The Cathedral Quarter
If street photography is your thing, the Cathedral Quarter is the best place you can head. Look out for umbrellas hanging above, murals, cobbled streets, bright red benches and plenty of interesting characters. When you’re done taking pics, there’s a pub or two (or 10) to head to afterwards.
Photo Tip: For an interesting take on a classic travel portrait, face the subject’s back to the camera so it appears that they’re walking into the action.
6. Victoria Square Dome
The Victoria Square Dome offers 360-degree views over Belfast, so is the obvious place to head for a unique perspective across the city. Even better, admission to the Dome is completely free – can’t say fairer than that. For your photography, you’ve got plenty of options, from sweeping vistas to picking out far off landmarks with a telephoto zoom.
Photo Tip: Shooting through windows can be tricky – therefore tackle the problem head on by including frames and so on in your shot for creative effect.
7. CS Lewis Square
The creator of iconic children’s stories The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis was born in Belfast. To celebrate his greatest work, head to CS Lewis Square to see seven bronze sculptures from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Whether you choose to get face to face with Aslan himself or spend the afternoon people watching, it’s a great place to take your camera.
Photo Tip: Experiment with different aspect ratios – a square ratio (1:1) is classic for Instagram.
8. The Big Fish
Also known as the Salmon of Knowledge, the Big Fish is another icon of Belfast. Since its construction in 1999, it must have been snapped thousands of times – but thanks to its intricate design, you can still get something special when you head there. Whether you choose go wide and show the fish in its full context, or home in one of the scales (each one is designed to tell a different story of the city of Belfast), there’s always a reason to shoot the salmon.
Photo Tip: When skies are dramatic, make them a big part of your composition by filling at least half the frame with it.