GEP Photography Workshop, Istanbul: Day 1

The Blue Mosque in early-morning light

I've just returned from two one-week photography workshops, with Great Escape Publishing, in Istanbul. As an Istanbul resident, I was their "woman on the ground" to help them negotiate this amazing city.

The Hagia Sophia in early-morning light

Our first day of the workshop, began with an early morning shoot from the roof of our hotel, the Armagrandi Spina, in Sultanahmet, the old city of Istanbul. Our task was to take an aerial shot of the old town, including the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) and the Blue Mosque. Most of us had limited experience with tripods, so we were delighted to have our three teachers, professional photographers Efrain Padro, Bonnie Caton, and Charlie Bulla, to help us set up and adjust our camera settings.

After an hour's work, we enjoyed our well-earned breakfast before our next shoot at the Topkapi Palace. The palace opens at 09:00, so we made sure we were early, in order to get ahead of the hordes of other tourists.

Once inside, we headed straight for the Harem, while other early birds headed in the opposite direction. This ensured that we had the Harem to ourselves for our shoot. We were then free to wander around the rest of this huge complex looking for suitable subjects for today's assignment, as follows:

1. An image with subject centred, and another of the same subject off centre.

A detail of the mother-of-pearl decorated doors in the Harem, with the lock centred

The same door with the lock off-centre

2. An image with a distracting background, and  one with a clean background.

A pottery urn with distracting people in the background

The same urn with a clean background

3 An image that shows the subject as part of the scene, and one where the subject is the focus.

A subject as part of a scene

focus on my subject

After leaving the Topkapi Palace, we wandered through the area between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque, looking for more subjects to shoot, before taking time out for lunch. With our meeting set for 15:00, we then beat a hasty retreat back to the hotel to download our images and choose the ones for our Guru, Efrain Padro, to review.

Our final task for the day, before falling exhausted into bed, was a twilight photo shoot from the hotel roof, to capture the Aya Sofya, and Blue Mosque "lit up against an evening sky".

The Blue Mosque at dusk

The Hagia Sophia at dusk

By Elizabeth Coughlan


  1. Beautiful pics, Elizabeth! How fantastic to participate in a workshop like this! I hope I can join you at some stage! Wonderful!

  2. Thanks, Claudia. It really was fantastic, and I have learned a tremendous amount in such a short time,


I would love to have your thoughts on any aspect of my blog.

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!