Behind the medina walls, the city of Marrakech reveals a hidden world of maze like alleyways filled with speckled light, colourful characters and endless photo opportunities.
While it’s tempting to click away like a crazed tourist to capture what’s happening in every direction (because trust me, there will be something worth photographing), sometimes photographing the finer details can be a great way to tell the story of a destination.
When in Marrakech this past March, I wandered the city to capture patterns, carved monuments, colours and textures that represent this incredibly diverse and mysterious city.
Photographing the details of a city is a little different to wide landscape shots because you’ll need to focus and compose the image depending on the intended result you wish to achieve. If you’re hoping to showcase an intricate design that’s been hand carved into camel bone, think about which part of the design will look best on its own, will separating it from the rest of the feature enhance or diminish the effect? Will cutting the design break up the pattern or can you fit the entire object into your frame to achieve the ideal angle?
A great little lens for detail shots is a 50mm as the bokeh (background blur) you can achieve adds a fantastic creative element and allows the viewer to look directly at the object or pattern you are focusing on. I shoot with a Nikon D800 and 50mm lens for my detail shots and most of the time will have it set on Aperture mode and shoot with a wide aperture to play around with light and blur.
If you’ve got a blog or are taking your photographs back home to share with family and friends, having a collection of detail shots can really intrigue them or if anything…break up the selfies!
Marrakech has been such a big part of my travels over the past eight years and it’s a city that I’ll continue to revisit as it changes and adapts to modern influences. Here are a collection of images taken at various monuments and corners of Marrakech…
The cactus garden of Le Jardin Majorelle, using the warm afternoon light to add a glow and make these spikey plants seem a little more friendly.
Intricate doorway inside the Ben Youssef Madrasa. I took a few angles but close ups just didn’t showcase the entire beauty…one of those detail shots that needs to be composed with the overall object in mind.
Within the medina you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to exotic spices and ailments! Great photo subjects.
A dry palm trunk blending against the ochre walls of the Saadian tombs, colour and texture combined.
Another image from Le Jardin Majorelle, shooting from above sometimes creative another pattern that you can’t see from any regular viewpoint.
Tajines in the warm sunlight, little terracotta gems!
Shoe soles drying in the alley of the medina made for a great colour palette and pattern.
If anyone wants to see my collection of door photos from Marrakech just let me know! I got seriously obsessed with their incredible entrance designs!
The tile patterns inside Ben Youssef Madrasa reflect perfectly into the jade green pool, the detail here was simply stunning.
As anyone who visits Marrakech would remember, even the toilets are fascinating subjects! Who needs a regular tap when you can have the artisan piece?
The brightly coloured Art Deco house within Le Jardin Majorelle is addictive to photograph, especially when the afternoon sun dapples reflections against the bold hues.
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. With 14+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
I'm Lisa Michele Burns, a professional photographer and founder of The Wandering Lens from Australia. Welcome to your guide to photographing the world, improving your photography and scouting unique and inspiring places to experience with your camera. Click here to start exploring popular guides + articles. After four years online, The Wandering Lens has turned into the leading publisher of photography focused travel guides!