The capital city of Wales is a great place for shutter bugs. With an interesting and diverse city centre, plus castles, mountains, beaches and wilderness just a short car ride away, you’ll never be short of anything to point your lens at.
We’ve teamed up with Panasonic Lumix and Jessops to showcase some of the best UK photo locations, with top photo spots to point your lens at. Whether you’re shooting with your phone or a great camera like the brand new Panasonic Lumix GX9, you’ll find some inspiration here.
The Lumix GX9 is the perfect travel companion. It’s got lots of great features making it fantastic for amateur photographers looking for a professional experience. With its compact body and high-end technology, the Lumix GX9 is superb for street-style photography.
With that in mind, we’ve got a Lumix GX9 to give away for the best city photograph taken in each of the following cities: Cardiff, Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bromley, Belfast and Exeter.
Each week, we’ll be publishing some great photo spots from the cities mentioned to give you plenty of inspiration. We’d love to see what you shoot. All you need to do is either share your images on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #lumixhiddencities, or email them to us at email@example.com
The best images from all the entries from each city will win a Lumix GX9 camera to help make your next set of shots even better. They’ll also be printed on canvas and displayed in the local Jessops store. All entries will be submitted by the 23:59:59 on Friday 16 November 2018 (Pocket-lint T&Cs apply).
Whether you’re just trying to capture that amazing shot or share something awe-inspiring on Instagram, one of these top locations should lead to the perfect shot:
1. Bute Park
This 130 acre majestic green space, smack bang in the centre of Cardiff, is the perfect place to find a quiet spot for photography. Cardiff Castle can be found at the edge of it, which is perfect for history buffs (an entrance fee applies if you want to go inside), while there’s a tree collection of national significance found within the arboretum section of the grounds. Also look out for beautiful flowers in the formal gardens, or capture a glimpse of the spider-like Principality Stadium (formerly known as the Millennium Stadium and still so-called by many locals) by walking across one of the bridges over the beautiful river Taff which runs right through the park.
Photo tip: Use aspects of your surrounding to “frame” your point of interest
2. Llandaff Cathedral
A little outside the centre, Llandaff is a pretty little suburb of Cardiff with a grand cathedral at its heart. The Cathedral has suffered various damage over the several centuries of its existence, but today the architecture inside is simply gorgeous. Stand on the hill near the car park to get a cracking view over the Cathedral’s twin towers.
Photo tip: When shooting under artificial light, switching to a white balance preset can help your photos look more natural, avoiding yellow-tones.
3. Jacob’s Antiques Centre
If you’re looking for something a little on the quirky side, pay a visit to Jacob’s Market, which is very close to Cardiff’s Central train station. This antique/oddities market can take a full day to explore thanks to its many hidden nooks and crannies. Be sure to ask permission of stall holders before taking pictures, though. If you’re looking for more characters, head to Cardiff Indoor Market, just down the road.
Photo tip: Get down as low as possible for an interesting angle – using a tilting screen can help you do this without having to lie on the floor yourself!
4. Victorian and Edwardian Arcades
Some of Cardiff’s best independent stores can be found inside the beautiful Victorian and Edwardian Arcades which are dotted around the city centre. These architectural gems are one of the features that makes Cardiff special and are a wonderful place to take pictures. Head to the balcony in the Castle Arcade for a unique vantage point, and don’t forget to point your lens at the stunning curves of the Morgan Arcade’s ceiling.
Photo tip: Create leading lines in your image, drawing your eye to a certain point in the frame. Try to keep things as level and straight as possible for best effect.
5. Cardiff Bay and the Barrage
Cardiff as a city was built on the foundations laid out by the once-thriving coal industry which saw the Bay as its home. In fact, the UK’s first million pound cheque was signed here. Today, the Bay is a hub for visitors, with a range of restaurants, waterside amusements and plenty more to keep you entertained. A walk across the Barrage gives you a fantastic perspective on the whole of the Bay, as well as giving you a peek over at the picturesque seaside town of Penarth just beyond – with plenty of interesting sights along the way.
Photo tip: Use a wide-angle lens to intriguing effect. Shoot from a close angle to really exaggerate those lines and imposing features of unusual structures.
6. Castell Coch
A few miles outside Cardiff, this fairytale castle (Welsh for Red Castle) truly is like something straight out of a children’s picture book. Crafted in the 19th century as a perfect castle by one of Britain’s richest men, today the pretty castle is beautiful inside and out. You have to pay a small entrance fee if you want to go inside, but it’s worth it for the gorgeous ceilings alone. The surrounding woods contain rare plant species and are also worthy of an explore.
Photo tip: Don’t forget to look up when exploring new surroundings – often the most exciting things can be found hidden in plain sight.
7. View over Cardiff from Penarth
One of the most stunning views over Cardiff Bay and the city centre can be seen from the neighbouring town of Penarth. An unassuming lookout point at the top of a hill is a great place to watch the sunset over the Welsh capital – you can see the boats occupying the waters, while looking out for Cardiff’s architectural highlights along the skyline in the distance.
Photo tip: When a landscape is expansive, consider using a panoramic mode to get everything in the shot
8. Graffiti Walls in Northcote Lane
The perfect place for a portrait shoot (or cheeky new profile pic), the graffiti walls in Northcote Street Lanes in the suburb of Roath are hard to spot if you don’t know they’re there. Set back from the multicultural City Road, the graffiti changes regularly, making it worthy of a revisit every now and then.
Photo tip: Eye contact is probably the most important aspect of a portrait photograph – but pay attention to any elements in the background which may distract.
9. Roath Park
It may not be Cardiff’s biggest park, but it’s probably up there as one of its most beautiful. Classically Victorian in layout and atmosphere, the lighthouse tribute to Captain Scott, who set off from Cardiff for the Antarctic in 1910 is one of Cardiff’s iconic landmarks. Take a boat around the lake for a central viewpoint from which to take photos of the birds, or head to the conservatory to take a closer look at some unusual plant species.
Photo tip: Play with perspective to create a sense of depth in your landscape images. Here the lighthouse looks much smaller than the boats, but of course the reverse is true.
10. Cathays Park
The name given to Cardiff’s city centre, you’ll find some of its best architecture in Cathays Park. There are beautiful Edwardian buildings including Cardiff’s City Hall, the National Museum, the Temple of Peace and several departments of Cardiff University. Look out for the ornate Beaux-Arts sculptures adorning The Glamorgan Building, and check out the Welsh National War Memorial at the centre of Alexandra Gardens.
Photo tip: If you can’t pick just one shot, try a collage – shoot a wide angle, then get up close, picking out details, mixing them all together for a great group.