Photographing Dubai – the top 6 locations for that Instagram shot

Discover the best places in town to capture the perfect photo, with tips from award-winning photographer Katarina Premfors. 

December 13, 2015

Dubai is undoubtedly one of the world’s most Instagrammed cities, even without its own self-promoting hashtag #MyDubai.

The Burj Khalifa and Atlantis hotel were both recently named two of the world’s most photographed buildings, and the Burj Al Arab can’t be far behind either. 

But there’s more to centre in your viewfinder than the tall and shiny towers to have sprung up from the sand in the last decade. 

With the help of Canon, we turned to award-winning Swedish photographer Katarina Premfors for some tips on capturing that perfect shot, and some alternative, lesser-known locations in Dubai to do it. 

Dubai Creek – Al Fahidi District 

Exposure compensation

Mix things up a little when shooting in the same location. Place someone in front of a bright background and use an exposure compensation tool to create a silhouette of them.

Deira Fish Market 


Get up close to crop out edge details and go for a striking abstract shot by filling your frame.

Katarina Premfors: “There is something magical about seeing a subject up close and personal. This opens up a whole new world of options for you as a photographer.”

Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 

Working with monochrome

Adjust your camera to monochrome setting in order to bring focus to a bold composition where the shapes and textures become paramount.

Katarina: “One of the benefits of previewing and shooting in black and white is the practice of eliminating the distraction of color. Doing so forces you to pay closer attention to composition and texture.” 

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary 

Burst mode

Try and freeze motions by selecting a fast shutter speed and putting your camera in burst mode to increase your chances of success. Be sure to use continuous focusing for guaranteed sharp pictures.

Katarina: “Burst mode is great for sports and nature photography, but also for everyday friends and family situations. You can get just the right pictures of your buddies, kids, pets or hobbies.” 

BoxPark Dubai

Shutter speeds

A cool trick is to write with light. Set your camera’s shutter mode to a long exposure and begin to introduce light into your frame with a torch. Try writing your name, or get creative and light up objects by painting them with your torch. 

Katarina: “Long exposure photography is one of the most interesting photography techniques that allows you to create unique photos where moving subjects are blurred out to create a beautiful dreamy look.” 

Four Points Sheraton 

White balance adjustment 

Wait until the sun goes down before shooting sunsets and cityscapes to make the most of the Blue Hour. Adjusting your white balance to tungsten will create a rich blue sky, making your image stand out from the rest.

Katarina: “The ‘Blue Hour’ is a mostly short period of time direct before sunrise and after sunset. The name ‘Blue Hour’ comes from the blue colored sky. This characteristic blue is based on the fact that there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness as the sun is below the horizon.”

All images provided by Canon.