VENICE PHOTO JOURNAL AND PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE | Published August 25th, 2021 | Last Updated August 25th, 2021

Canal with calm water surrounded by small colourful buildings

All Images © 2021 - Kelly Girouard - Please Contact for Permission to Use

Venice is a wonderfully romantic destination, even for the solo traveller. It's a city to throw away the maps and just get lost wandering the charming streets and canals. The photos in this journal highlight the attractions in Venice and the incredible light that seems to cast a soft glow over the city as the light reflects off the water. You may also like the complete guide to Italy found here.

Piazza San Marco

There are several stops and attractions in Piazza San Marco, including Torre dell' Orologio, St. Mark's Basilica, the Campanile, Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.


  • Be sure to take the elevator to the top of the campanile for photos across Venice.

  • The piazza is packed with locals and tourists; try standing on platforms in the square to elevate yourself. This way, you're not shooting straight at a person's face. You can also angle your camera toward the architecture. For example, see the image of the restaurant with yellow tablecloths just below. The crowds are off to the side of the picture, but there is still plenty of architecture in the photo.

  • Go to Doge's Palace and the Basilica and use their look-outs to take photos from a bird's eye view over the piazza.

  • MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure you're in the Basilica when the lights are turned on. (Currently, it's only for one hour between 11:30am - 12:30pm). It takes a few minutes for the lights to warm up. When they do, the interior transforms from dull grey to over 8,000 square meters of stunning, glimmering gold.

Yellow patio chairs with yellow table cloths in front of a restaurant with large white awnings

Piazza San Marco Restaurant with the Campanile in the Background

Canal with gondoliers rowing under a white ornate arch above it

Gondoliers on the Canal Under the Bridge of Sighs

Mosaics and Gilded Horses in Basilica di San Marco

Gold mosaics lit up inside Basilica di San Marco

Gold Mosaics Illuminated in Basilica di San Marco

Worms eye view of a red brick tower with windows that have metal grids over them

Looking up at the Towering Campanile

Views from the Top of the Campanile Over Venice

Close up Details of Doge's Palace in Piazza San Marco

Sculptures on the Giant's Staircase and Porta della Carta Details

Prison Corridor and Cells at Doge's Palace

The Masks of Venice

I spent a half-day wandering in and out of the beautiful boutique shops in Venice, looking for the perfect mask to take home as a keepsake. From the less expensive colourful plastic ones to the more elaborate papier-mache masks that are hand-painted and encrusted with Swarovski crystals, there's a style for everyone.


  • It may be difficult to get photos inside boutiques since shop owners may not want people taking shots of their masks without purchase. If you plan on buying one don't be shy to ask if you can snap a few pics. Most shop owners will let you.

A brown and gold venetian mask with Swarovski crystals and large feathers

Elaborate Masks in the Boutique Shops of Venice

Hand painted Venetian masks with Swarovski crystals

Masks Encrusted with Swarovski crystals

The Colourful Masks Available at Shops Across Venice

Murano and Burano

Visiting Murano and Burano should be a part of your Venice itinerary. The islands are packed with colourful buildings, glass blowing demonstrations, boutiques, cafes and lovely canals. Spend a half-day or the whole day wandering around. You may also like to buy some Murano glass jewellery or decor items to take home as keepsakes.


  • The small canals of Murano and Burano have calm waters when boats aren't making wake behind them. It's an excellent opportunity to get shots of the light reflecting off the water.

A boat heading down a calm canal with small colourful buildings alongside.

A Calm Afternoon on Canal Reo Dei Vetrai

Sun setting on the buildings down Murano's main canal.

Historical Buildings on the Island of Murano

Lady walking down a Murano promenade past brightly coloured buildings

Murano Promenade with Santa Maria Bell Tower in the Distance

Beautiful Places to Take a Stroll in Murano

Venice Canals

Venice has a few nicknames, and my favourite is the 'City of Light.' With 140 canals, there are numerous locations where light is reflected from the water back up onto the buildings casting a beautiful glow over the entire city.


  • Find a pretty canal to photograph as the sun is setting. The colourful stucco buildings turn into a palette of soft creamy hues that reflect in the surrounding water.

A quiet canal with calm water, a church and colourful buildings

Close to Sunset on a Venice Canal

The Sun Setting Over the Buildings

Look for Interesting Bridges, Flower Boxes and Lanterns

Venice Gondolas

There are four hundred gondolas in Venice; they are made from eight different types of wood, they're built lopsided, and they are all painted black. There are several other interesting facts about gondolas, but facts aside, they are lovely to photograph.


  • If you are taking photos on a canal that may be a bit choppy or the gondola is moving with the water, it is best to set your camera with a fast shutter speed to get a crisp image of the boat without it being blurred.

  • On the flip side, you can use an ND filter and a tripod to get the water smoothed out and have a soft blur which will require a longer shutter speed.

  • Great spots to try are along the Grand Canal, areas where the gondoliers are rowing with lovely bridges you, and shots from above looking down into the boats.

A line of gondolas with blue tarps on Venice's Grand Canal

Gondola Fact - The 6 Metal Teeth Represent the Districts of Venice

Gondolas floating in the water between wood poles and and Island in the background

Gondola Fact - There are Four Hundred Gondolas in Venice

A gondolier taking passengers down the canal past white stone bridges and buildings

Gondola Fact - They are Built Lopsided and Hold 6 Passengers

Gondola Fact - All Gondolas in Venice Must be Painted Black

Streets of Venice

There are many streets and alleys where you can capture great images of the charm, architecture and rustic facades that Venice is known for; this is one city that I threw my maps out and just wandered aimlessly beside the beautiful canals and streets happily snapping away.


  • Wide-angle lenses are great for narrow streets and alleys to get more of the architecture in the shot.

A restaurant facade with large vines growing up the exterior wall

Entry to Hotel Locanda Ovidius

Patio tables sitting on cobblestone with white canopies overhead

Restaurants Setting for Dinner Service in the Side Streets

Check out Architectural Details, Bridges and Cobblestones on the Streets

Outdoor restaurant with awnings, umbrellas and a large red-leaved tree

Don't Miss Getting Some Photos of the Squares

Venice at Night

Just as Venice is pretty to photograph during the day with the daylight reflecting off the water, at night, the antique lanterns and street lights reflecting in the canals make for some great photography as well.


  • Bring a tripod. You can get some decent shots that are not blurry if you increase your ISO, but if you're looking for crisp images, a tripod is the way to go.

  • If you prefer not to bring a large tripod with you, you can also try a Joby GorillaPod, which is smaller, compact and has bendable legs to adjust to the setting.

A restaurant's open windows have overhanging trees overlooking the canal

Restaurant and Canal at Night

There are Many Opportunities to Capture the Venice Streets at Night

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