Cuba Photography Tips

Here are 5 tips for making the most out of a Cuba photography holiday

Cuba is undeniably photogenic. With its timeworn architecture, vibrant street scenes, and colourful people, the country is uniquely inspiring for street and cultural photography. Not surprisingly then, Cuba is a popular destination for photo tours. Before venturing to this stunning country, make sure you know how to capture its unique character in the best possible way. Here are 5 Cuba photography tips by Andrew Bell, a photographer and one of the guides of our Cuba photo tours.

Find out more about our Cuba Photo Tours to Havana & Trinidad!

  1. Golden hours
    As every photographer knows, there are two key times of the day to shoot; just after sunrise and shortly before sunset, when the light is at its best. And that’s more true in Cuba than just about anywhere else we’ve ever been. Those glorious pastel coloured buildings strewn with brightly coloured clothes, earthy toned landscapes, incredible white-sand beaches and oh-so-glorious sunsets are accentuated and enhanced so much you’d wish it would never end. So get up early! At least once on your trip make the effort to get up shortly before sunrise, find a quiet spot and revel as everything comes to life. Keep your camera handy, as life starts early in Cuba and you’ll find that as soon as the sun starts to rise, the shutter will start to click!
  2. One camera, one lens
    Most days in Cuba will be spent walking and exploring, the last thing you want is to be carting round a small photography studio on your back. We advise that if you’re bringing a DSLR on your trip, pack one good travel lens (24-80 / 18-120) or a fast 35mm prime and leave the rest at home.
  3. Rule of thirds  
    It’s one most people have heard of, but not as many as you think remember when they get their eye to the viewfinder; especially in a foreign country surrounded by new and exciting people and things to photograph. Make sure to pause before you shoot. Try to get the elements of your composition lined up along the lines or intersections of the image, and use the rule of thirds to frame your main object.
  4. Change your angle
    It’s really easy to walk around, letting your eyes wander over the sights of Cuba; and there are plenty of sights to hold the eyes, but remember a lot goes on that isn’t at eye level. Look around; up and down and remember to try crouching or climbing up (carefully!) to catch a scene from a different perspective.
  5. Talk to people
    It can be pretty intimidating to approach a stranger in the street and ask to take their photo.  Fortunately, pretty much all Cubans are friendly and curious. Most will also never have had the chance to travel in Cuba, let alone leave the country, which means they’re usually happy to stop and have a chat with visitors. If you’re nervous about asking to take photographs, engage them in conversation about Cuba and their life and they’ll warm to you quickly, then you can broach the subject of a picture.  People will usually say yes, but even if they don’t you’ll have met someone new and found something out.

Keen to join us on a Cuba photo tour to put these tips into practice? Find out more! 

Cuba photography, street scene  Cuba photography, portraits