There is nowhere in the world quite like Istanbul. Spread across two continents, Istanbul is a city of layers and contrasts. With historical sights like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace brushing up against buzzing bars and lively cafes, with Ottoman-era mosques a short walk from contemporary art museums and galleries, with traditional carpet shops around the corner from trendy boutiques, Istanbul is a city of old and new coexisting. The city never stops moving.

Join us for five days exploring all the must-see’s (and the behind the scenes) – discovering the hypnotic charms of whirling sufi dancers, head underground to cavernous cisterns, shoot some of the most stunning architectural wonders on our planet, try out reportage in vibrant historic markets, and enjoy the city like a local, not tourist.


“Creative Escapes are a good option if you want a dedicated learning holiday. Group sizes are small, meaning there’s more 1-on-1 time with tutors, less competition for spots to shoot from and plenty of supportive group critiques.
Creative Escapes – the name says it all!”

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Travel Photography Holidays for all skill levels | Highlights.

Istanbul has it all. From physical reminders of past empires to the sights and sounds of a modern city as experienced through its up-and-coming neighbourhoods, the reasons to visit Turkey’s largest metropolis are aplenty.

Spanning both Europe and Asia and surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, the scale and topography of the city – once home to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires – are fitting of its richly diverse past.

Historical sights dot Istanbul – picture palaces adorned with mosaics and frescoes and beautiful mosques piercing the skyline. In the vibrant neighbourhoods, a variety of cafés, bars, boutique shops and rooftop restaurants line the streets, and most areas have colourful bazaars.

For aspiring travel photographers, you’ll …

Shoot swirling dancers in a historic school courtyard in Fatih
Snap cavernous underground cisterns, a marvel of Byzantine engineering
Photograph sun rays beaming into some of the world’s most famous architectural marvels
Experiment with reportage-style photography in one of the oldest and largest covered markets on the globe
Dine al fresco in the buzzy backstreets of Istiklal, centre of everything that is happening in Istanbul
Shoot locals on trams and underground subways, directly connecting with the zeitgeist
Optional visit to one of the most revered hamams in the city
Learn to maximise your shooting, and get the shots you want every time
Try out techniques used by pro travel photographers to make your work stand out from the pack
Learn how to bring together single images into a cohesive series
Sequence your shots, so you can do this every time you visit somewhere new

Travel Photography Holidays for all skill levels | Itinerary.

On arrival, we’ll whisk you direct from the airport into your boutique residence, then head out showing you some of the highlights of this incredible city – voted European Capital City of Culture.

We’ll get back to grips with our camera again, and work through each of your specific objectives for the trip, so we can plan customised tuition for each of you. We’ll leaf through some core techniques of quality travel photography, things that aren’t normally covered in magazines, then take a tour around in warm sunshine to try them out.

Come evening, we’ll dine at a delicious, open-air restaurant, sampling modern Turkish cuisine whilst watching the warming sun set over the ocean.

Now that we’ve mastered camera fundamentals, we now concentrate on the creative: how to conceptualise and capture great images. We’ll swing by some of the jewels in Istanbul’s crown, exploring the magical district of Sultanahmet, home to Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.

You’ll move beyond what’s there, instead taught how to create images that are more personal to you, travel photography techniques to make your work stand out, so you start to craft your own impressions of this vibrant city.

The holy grail of photography, and surely one of the best places around to learn reportage, we’ll swing by the ancient Grand Bazaar, location for countless films such as Skyfall, Taken and From Russia with Love – and the oldest and largest covered market on the planet – to develop your technique in both B&W and colour, capturing the rich scenes that happen at every corner.

Bustling shoppers, swirling smoke and atmosphere galore, the shooting options here and simply magnificent – it’s a ready made film set just waiting to be captured.

Towards dusk, we’ll head over to a historic school courtyard in Fatih, and take our places to shoot the Sema, whirling dervishes in an old atmospheric hall.

We’ll celebrate later with an open air supper in Beyoglu and a trip to the uber cool, 360, the city’s tallest bar, with panoramic views of both Europe and Asia.

This morning, we’ll head outside to the palace gardens, continuing with more advanced camera and image manipulation techniques, delving into lens selection, white balance, bracketing and proper use of flash. After lunch, we venture out shooting, taking in the sites of the Spice Bazaar and Basilica Cistern as the backdrop for your story. Following a group review, we head into the ancient backstreets and sample food the locals want to keep quiet.

Our flight leaves late today, so we’re up early to capture the morning Turkish light, our final day spent putting together everything we have learned and planning, preparing and shooting a major work on location.

You will spend the day creating a series of images that highlight the finest elements of Istanbul – people, architecture, food and its otherworldly culture. then learn how to sequence your images to complete a series, discuss options for post production, printing, and review as a group – ready to print and hang proudly on your wall

There’s just time for an early dinner at our favourite place, a spot of shopping to get fine leathers, silver, handmade jewellery boxes and the ubiquitous spices, then a short hop to the airport for the flight home.

Istanbul is quite unlike anywhere you’ve been too, almost stands in a country of its own, and guaranteed to have you coming back for more.

Photography Holidays for all skill levels | Details.

6 – 10 September, 2024
6 Places Left.

5 days. 4 nights. Starts and ends in Istanbul.

£1575 / £195 single supplement

Price includes 
4 nights accommodation at listed hotels (or similar)
5 days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
All airport transfers, plus all transportation around the area
Entrance to sufi dancing & all entrances to monuments.
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes flights, meals.


Wizzair, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus and British Airways all fly direct to Istanbul from London, with prices starting at £81 each way. Wherever you are flying from, we aim to arrive into Istanbul around midday on the first day, so we have the whole day to explore. On the final day, there are several late flight departures leaving Istanbul from 1800 onwards, that will get you back that evening.

"Thank you for an amazing adventure! I learnt so much and had such an incredible time! Creative Escapes is a fantastic company, the whole experience was excellent - from initial queries about the trip, throughout the booking process, and of course - the days away. Great balance of photography, learning, and having fun!"

Sophie Bradley, Southampton