Getting the Perfect Photo in Santorini

    Getting the Perfect Photo in Santorini

    “They all come here because it’s so white and clean…”, a fellow traveller said to me as we watched a bridal party, with professional camera crew in tow, pose against the white-washed walls and blue-domed churches. It was the second bridal party we had seen that day, roaming around Oía looking glamorous with flowing gowns, perfect hair and stiletto heels. They certainly made me, with my denim shorts, messy beach hair and €10 espadrilles feel a little underdressed. I had never thought of Santorini in that way before (as a destination just for staged wedding photos), but when my new travel companion said it, it made complete sense. I mean, if you want the perfect wedding or formal photos, Santorini provides the perfect backdrop.

    The clean, crisp colours of Santorini are perfect for photos

    Anyone who trolls through travel photos on Instagram can see a stream of stunning images from Santorini. It would have to be the most photographic place in the Greek Islands. The white buildings provide the perfect contrast against the deep blue of the Caldera sea. As my new friend and I got talking, we agreed that there is a sense of cleanliness and luxury to Santorini that makes it stand out from the other Greek Islands.

    Santorini, the perfect, photogenic backdrop

    When we were deciding which Greek Island to visit, I was drawn to Santorini for those iconic blue-domed churches. I wanted to get my very own picture of said churches and the perfect sunset shot of the sun setting over the Caldera and against the colourful hillside of cave dwellings and resorts.

    The iconic blue-domed churches...

    So without further adieu, here are our tips to get the perfect photo in Santorini…

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    Tips to get the perfect photo in Santorini
    Santorini: a photographer's dream

    Map out your subjects/landmarks

    Despite how small Santorini, specifically Oía, is, it’s quite easy to get lost in the small alleys and winding paths. And surprisingly, those iconic churches, although high in number, are quite hard to find if you don’t know where to look. The easiest way to find them, is to walk down Nik. Nomikou (the main street in Oía) and find Melenio Cafe. Around the corner from the cafe is a small alley that will lead you to the churches. The other spot we recommend going to is the Byzantine Castle ruins. This is where most people flock to for the sunset photos. Here’s a map to help:

    It took a while, but we finally found the famous churches!

    Pick your times

    If you want your subject to be washed with the golden hues of a sunrise or sunset, you need to know what times they occur (and where the sun rises and sets). For example, the blue domed churches aren’t as spectacular at sunset, as the sun descends beyond around the curve of the peninsula. Early in the morning however, you will get the gorgeous, golden colours washing over the buildings (but we aren’t morning people and chose to sleep in instead of get up – priorities, right!?) A quick internet search will give you fairly accurate times of sunrise and sunset, so plan your photos around that.

    Check sunrise/sunset times before heading out

    Stake out your spot… early!

    On our first night, we made the mistake of underestimating how many other people also wanted that perfect sunset shot. We spent the afternoon wandering through the alleys and didn’t start looking for our spot until it was too late. The best spots were filled with huge crowds all with the same idea. That evening, we missed the perfect pic as we just couldn’t get past all of the people crowded in every corner of an alley with a view. The next evening, we got to the castle really early and claimed an ideal perch. If you want that coveted spot, be prepared to arrive a couple of hours prior to sunset, as the areas fill up quickly, especially in summer. Make sure you have fluids and stuff to eat while you hang out, as every other ‘photographer’ won’t hesitate to take your spot if you leave it unattended.

    If you want a good spot for sunset pics, you need to stake it out early

    Have the right gear and settings on your camera ready

    If you’ve got a DSLR or mirrorless camera, play with your settings in advance to work out what is right for you. As a general rule, keep the ISO low (around the 100 mark). Still being somewhat of an amateur, I still default to the P (Program) mode, which adapts the Shutter Speed and Aperture automatically. But if you are quite confident, and have a tripod, then switch to Aperture or Manual mode and play with around with the settings. To avoid a washed out look, try reducing exposure settings slightly and trial different white balances to change the tones of the photo. If you are a phoneographer, then work with what you have. If you want to be really professional (and avoid any blurry pics), have a tripod set up and ready for the event. The tip is to review the pics as you go and make the appropriate changes to the settings (as quickly as you can, so you don’t miss the main event!).

    Enjoying this post and want to read more about Santorini? Check out our post, Santorini – The Place for Love

    Watch your lines and the horizon

    The perfectionist in me cannot handle photos that aren’t straight. Unless you are intentionally trying to be somewhat artistic and have the image skewed, try to take the photo straight. Use the gridlines on your device if that helps. A crooked horizon line often ruins so many potentially perfect photos. If you have taken a crooked photo, not all is lost, as editing programs can fix it (so you have NO excuse to post a crooked photo on Instagram!).

    Don't ruin an amazing shot with a crooked horizon

    Frame your picture & experiment with angles

    Often, the best pictures are those that are slightly different to the rest. Play around with angles and focal points. Try shooting from different angles – get to the ground and shoot up, or find a higher vantage point and shoot down (although beware of the slippery surfaces and angry nonnas in Santorini – one came out swinging a broom at a brave tourist who was trying to take a photo from the roof of one of her neighbour’s houses. She then proceeded to yell at us demanding money for taking photos of her views!).

    Try different angles and focal points
    Personally, I love sun rays and flares, that I'll shoot at an angle to get them

    Make friends with other travellers and/or photographers

    Whether you are waiting for the sun to set, or politely waiting your turn to take a picture of the churches, you may as well make friends while you are there. Get chatting to others around you and offer to take photos of each other. A good full-frame photo trumps a selfie any day. Just make sure you are clear on what you are after and check your pics before you move on, so you hopefully have one you are happy with. There’s also safety in numbers from the before-mentioned crazy, cranky nonnas.

    Inspired by these photos? Check out our photo essay of another gorgeous Greek Island, Paros.

    Find the ‘quirky’

    The perfect photo doesn’t always capture the essence of a place. Sure, get the iconic shot that you can proudly display to family and friends, but keep your eyes peeled for other potential pictures to shoot. Whether it’s some colourful flowers, or freshly-caught octopus hanging out to dry, take the time to explore your surroundings and appreciate all the details around you.

    Take your time to find the quaint and memorable
    Look for the quirky and unique...

    Despite following all of this advice, you may luck out and get less than ideal conditions. Sadly for us, the sunset we had staked out had a lot of cloud cover, so we didn’t get that bright, fiery sky of oranges, pinks and purples that I was hoping for. Nevertheless, part of the process is not just to capture the perfect photo, but collect the memories along the way. We got to meet other travellers, get lost through the streets of Oía and fall in love with this picturesque island, something that sometimes even the most perfect photo can’t create.

    Santorini offers plenty of pretty photo opportunities

    The Travel Bra Review: An Essential for Active Travellers

    The Travel Bra Review: An Essential for Active Travellers

    UPDATE: The folks at Travel Bra HQ have released a new range of travel bras and I’ve added details on the Beach Travel Bra below.

    The Beach Travel Bra

    We are beginning our packing list for our upcoming trip to Bali (yay!) and one must-pack item is the travel underwear from The Travel Bra company. I don’t know about you, but I am always a little nervous on where to keep my passport, cards and cash when travelling overseas. I mean, unless you are an overweight man in his 60’s and rocking the shorts-sandles-and-socks combo, you really can’t get away with wearing a money belt (and even then, the jury is likely to rule guilty in the fashion crime stakes!). So thankfully, there is an answer in the form of a travel bra and travel trunks, to keep your valuables close to, well, your valuables.

    Background

    Anthropologist, Dr Annie Holden, had the wonderful job of travelling around the world to remote places. Like many travellers, carrying cash and passports on person at all times was a necessity, but she was put off the idea of a money belt, which draws the unwanted attention of potential thieves. So she did something about it. She worked with one of Australia’s top lingerie designers to create The Travel Bra – a comfy, sporty bra that also has bonus pockets to store the essentials, literally close to your heart.

    The Travel Bra, made from organic cotton and bamboo, was such a success that the range has expanded to now include men’s trunks, knickers, wash bags and variations on the travel bra (the Beach Travel bra is my favourite!).

    We recently were given the opportunity to road test the underwear, during local and international travels, and here’s what we thought:

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    Features of the Original Travel Bra

    The Travel Bra
    (Kim-Ling)

    Initial thoughts? I have super dry skin, so the cotton bamboo fabric is wonderful and soft. The hidden pockets are great to hold cash and keys, and the passport pocket also conveniently holds my phone perfectly!

    How comfortable were they? As a follower of the ‘activewear’ movement, I’ve worn my fair share of sports bras during travels, as I find them much comfier than normal bras (underwire bras on a long flight? I don’t think so!). That being said, I couldn’t fault this bra on the comfort. It provided comfort and support, without having invasive underwire, clasps or labels digging in. I even played tennis in it, and the only bouncing going on was from all of the missed serves! The fabric is really soft and light, and the mesh panelling on the back is super breathable and managed to keep me sweat-free through all of my adventures!

    Keep cool with the mesh back

    Keep cool with the mesh back

    What are the special features? The passport pocket doubles as a perfect phone pocket! At first I was a little hesitant that my phone would be too big or heavy to sit in there, but the stretch, strength and quality of the fabric is great! All of the built-in pockets would be ideal during travels – sneaky pick-pockets would have a tricky time getting to the valuables hidden in the bra. This is also the ideal bra to wear during active ventures, when you don’t want to carry too much on you.

    Store your keys and cash in the pockets

    Store your keys and cash in the pockets

    Final thoughts? This is not a ‘sexy’ bra by any means. But it is super comfy and the convenience of the pockets and breathable material make it perfect for travelling. I’ve loved wearing the Travel Bra during our mini-getaways and every-day activities, but am really looking forward to taking it overseas. It’s the perfect bra to wear on flights, not just for comfort, but also for convenience, in having your passport on you when you need it. I also plan to wear it when doing some nature walks in Bali.

    Special pocket for cards...

    Special pocket for cards…

    Store your passport in the pull-down pocket

    Store your passport in the pull-down pocket

    NEW! The Beach Travel Bra

    The Travel Bra company have also released a new range of travel bras, including the Beach Travel Bra. This is one of my go-to’s for summer, as it can double as a bright and funky outer-wear crop top with the colourful material perfect to show off (once I get my beach body, of course!).

    Lipgloss pocket in the Beach Travel Bra
    The drop-down pocket can hold a passport or phone

    It’s not quite as lightweight or stretchy as the Original Travel Bra, however the material is still quite comfy and the cross-over straps feel secure without feeling constrained. Like the original travel bra, the beach travel bra has the essential pockets for your passport (or in my case, my phone), cards, keys and cash. There is also a nice addition of a lip gloss pocket in the Beach Travel Bra.

    Stylish criss-cross straps on the Beach Travel Bra
    Beach Travel Bra features

    The Travel Trunks
    (Guy)

    What did you wear? I trialled the Travel Trunks while on a trip to Thailand and during 10+ hours of flying.

    Initial thoughts? There were a couple of things that I loved straight away about these trunks. Firstly, they were extremely comfortable, felt good on the old ‘privates’ and had a good amount of stretch to them so they never felt like they were bunching up at all. Secondly, they were solidly made of good quality fabrics and able to breathe in the heat of Thailand’s hot and humid summers. And that’s no easy feat!

    How comfortable were they? Like pillows. Seriously, the bamboo fabric is light and breathable and never irritated or rubbed against my skin.

    Did you use the pockets? I didn’t really use the passport pocket or the money holder too much, other than a trial run while packing at home. While it was a little bulky sitting on my thigh, it wasn’t uncomfortable and would certainly make it very difficult for any thrifty fingered pickpocket out there!

    Final thoughts? I enjoyed wearing these trunks a lot as they did exactly what they said they would. I was surprised how well they performed in the 35+ degree humid temperatures of Bangkok and Thailand, in fact they stood up to the heat much better than I did!

    If you are an active traveller, or even just a fan of active wear with additional features, the underwear from The Travel Bra range is just for you! We both liked the range so much that we joined their affiliate program! Check out their full range at The Travel Bra.

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