Looking Up in La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

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Your neck will ache a little after visiting but it’s more than worth it to stare at this magnificent ceiling for a few hours.

La Sagrada Familia is an artistic architectural masterpiece that’s still not finished. The intricate details, gothic design and colourful glass windows combine to create a light filled basilica that amazes anyone who steps inside.

Construction began in 1882 and a year later, Antoni Gaudi became involved to devote his unique talents and transform the project. The unconventional style, curved contours and bright mosaics reflected his belief that colour is life and to this day, when light shines through the windows, it turns the church into a rainbow of hues.

For the best photography results be sure to arrive in the afternoon when sunlight trickles through and produces vibrant colours. If you’ve got a wide angle lens on your camera, point it straight to the ceiling and take in the incredible patterns. You can play with low light settings, sun stars and even work on your detail shots by focusing on the chiselled features of the stone.

When I visited a few weeks ago, I couldn’t tear myself away from looking up, the ceiling changes almost every step you take!

Camera Settings I Used – 

Lens: 14-24mm wide angle (mainly 14mm focal length used)

ISO: 1250

Exposure: +0.3

F-stop: f/2.8

Time – 5pm in late September, try to research when the sun will set to ensure you have enough time inside using the warm afternoon glow that filters in through the stained glass windows to produce the colours!

Balance – Using an ISO of 1250 as I did inside will usually result in blurred photos unless you stay very, very still or use a tripod. The setting should be just low enough to allow lots of light into your image, but allow you to freeze and remain completely still to capture the shot without a tripod. As you probably know by now, I very rarely travel with a tripod as I prefer to save room in my luggage for an underwater housing. If you find your shots are blurry, simply increase the ISO a little until you find a level that’s manageable.

Here is my collection of favourite photos…

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by The Wandering Lens





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Blog Comments

These patterns are gorgeous and dizzying and spectacular all at once. I’ve never been to Barcelona, but I had no idea this famous cathedral was so breathtaking. I love, love, love your view of them xx

Thanks Sarah! Inside is like no church I’ve ever seen before…such an elaborate yet intricate design that definitely makes you a little dizzy if you stare at the ceiling too long! Definitely take a peek if you find yourself in Barcelona one day 🙂


Michelle Ziegenhagen

Just a minor correction…
La Sagrada Familia isn’t exactly Gothic architecture. Gaudí sought to create a style with his works that was uniquely Catalan. While you’ll see Gothic influence, it would be more apt (if narrowing the style of his architecture down to one descriptor) to consider it Expressionist or Art Nouveau.
Gaudí largely pioneered the use of Art Nouveau in architecture and design.
But to be more accurate, Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism, Catalan Noucentisme, with late Spanish Gothic (or more neo-Gothic) elements.

My apologies. Gaudí is my favorite architect, and I’m picky about the accuracy of things like that (as a former architecture and design student).

On a completely different note, your work is just gorgeous. I came to your blog post because I’m trying to decide what lens to buy before going back to Barcelona so that I can shoot it (and his other works… Casa Batlló is my favorite). Especially figuring out how I’ll shoot the entirety of the exterior… I’m sure it will have to be from a great distance, and from some height. Couldn’t do it from the ground (as you know, they’ve got quite a high gate around it that blocks line of sight).

But thanks for this. Your work is breathtaking.

I can hardly count the number of La Sagrada Familia posts I’ve read on travel blogs, but these might be the most inspiring photos I’ve seen yet. (And the colors complement your site’s design so well, too!) Definitely saving this one.

So lovely to hear Katie! It was an ideal setting when I went, such beautiful light!

Wow! So glad I found your blog! Your work is amazing girl! I read your whats in my bag post, however, I think it has been updated since this post.
What camera did you use for this post’s pictures?
Thank you!

Hi Jenna! So happy you found me too! Thanks so much for your lovely words 🙂
For these shots inside La Sagrada Familia I was using a Nikon D800 with a 14-24mm wide angle lens, which is the same focal length as my 7-14mm lens currently noted in the page you mentioned. It definitely helps to have a wide angle lens when you visit to capture the immense beauty inside there!
Are you visiting soon?

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