28 September, 2011

Istanbul | The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque | Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul was awesome! I had a great time shooting there last week. The city is just shady enough to keep you on edge but not in an overly threatening way. Walking the streets at night, I never felt uncomfortable, just a bit on edge. This feeling blended perfectly with the scenery and atmosphere. It really gave it a unique feel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I really look forward to getting back there soon.

This is a very iconic view of The Blue Mosque (Sultan ahmed) in the old city. As you can see it’s lit up beautifully during the night.

When scouting for this shot, I had a specific goal in mind. I wanted to display The Blue Mosque with the best compositional layout, keeping a cool arrangement of the minarets (spires). I gave special consideration to the angle and sun position, trying to get a nice red to blue color shift in the sky. Sometimes these shots are really worth the effort.

The Blue Mosque || Istanbul Turkey

The Majestic Courtyard

Here is what the courtyard looks like inside The Blue Mosque. It’s quite beautiful in person and admission is absolutely free.

The Majestic Courtyard || Istanbul Turkey

Before and After – Removing Unwanted Objects

Sometimes scouting locations is the easy part & it’s the time of day that becomes tricky. Even when you think you got it figured out, things don’t exactly go as planned. I wrote a fun little article about choosing the right moment for photography. Check it out.

This primary goal for this photo, “The Majestic Courtyard,” was to capture the dramatic lighting at night. The secondary goal was to minimize the amount of people in the shot. Unfortunately, while the lighting was phenomenal, there were still way too many people in the shot.

So, I decided to give early morning blue hour a shot. I knew that there would be absolutely nobody there at 6am so I got up really early. I was right. The only problem was, none of the interior blue and green lights were on and it gave the scene a more flat and yellow look… Crap.

I had a decision to make. Take a loss with the lighting and go with the easier photo to process. The other option was to keep the shot with the good lighting and spend a few extra hours in post.

So I did the most logical thing possible. I spent 2.5 Hours removing all the people with the Photoshop Clone Stamp. 😉 I couldn’t help it. I was totally in love with the lighting.

Check out this Post Processing Before and After to watch all the people magically disappear.

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.

  • Hello Elia,
    Small error . . . 2nd sentence . . . should read but (not) in an overly threatening way.
    I love your blog.
    I love your work.
    But most of all, I love your humour!
    More Please!
    Regards from Cape Town

    • Hey, thanks Bruce! Much Appreciated. 🙂

      Plenty of new stuff on the way!

  • Elva

    Elia, you inspire me…Thank you so much. I’m sure everyone tells you your photos are great, but you touch people through your photos. They are breath taking! Looking foward to seeing more of those magical pictures. You take us to a different dimension! I know it’s hard work ,but well worth it!

    • Elva, thank you so much for the amazing compliment. It really means a lot to me to know that my photography effects people on an emotion level. That’s the highest form of compliment a photographer can receive. 🙂

  • Ahmed Alshubbar

    Just one question:do you remove the people before doing anything to the picture or after?

    • Generally first, before I do any heavy editing or processing.

  • Pingback: The Louvre || Paris France()

  • hanciong

    Hello, these are great photos! May I know from where did you take the first photo? (Before the courtyard, the one looking at blue mosque from far away). Thank you

  • Hector

    Man you can take several exposures and then average them to take out people.