Top Tips for Capturing #CanalMagic Photos

Whether it’s standing in the shadow of The Kelpies, sailing through the sky on The Falkirk Wheel, or watching the sun set over the Caledonian Canal, Scotland’s canals are full of magical sights and experiences that’ll have you reaching for your camera.

To help make sure you manage to capture that #CanalMagic, we’ve pulled together some top photographic tips! Happy snapping and be sure and share your #CanalMagic shots with us on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Get out there!

No-one ever captured a memorable image sat on the couch. Whether you’re taking to the towpaths by boot or bike, setting sail for adventure, or grabbing a spot on the canalside for a picnic, the first step to capturing a great photo is to get outside and explore!

Not sure of where to go or what to do? Our website has a range of great ideas to help you enjoy Scotland’s canals, from day trips to the world’s only rotating boat lift to week-long adventures through the heart of the Highlands.


2. It’s all about the light

Light can make or break a photo. Early morning or late afternoon are known as the ‘magic hours’ for photographers as the soft light of the low sun displays a subtle range of colours. Shooting at this time can transform what would have been a fairly standard shot into something that takes your breath away.

Don’t fancy rising at the crack of dawn? The still water and fiery skies of Scotland’s canals at sunset offer the perfect chance for you to capture some incredible images!

P.S. Shooting in low light? Remember to use a tripod or steady your camera in some other way. A beanbag or small cushion makes a great tripod replacement in a pinch!

Applecross Street at sunset

3. Get up close

While Scotland’s canals will always offer the chance to grab some amazing landscape photos, the 250-year-old waterways are chock-full of smaller details that can make for great pics.

Whether it’s the reflection of leaves floating on the canal, the pattern of cobbles at the canalside, or the intricate carvings that adorn the many bridges of the waterways, take the time to look a bit closer and you could be rewarded with a unique image.


4. Go wild!

From majestic swans to mischievous otters and regal kingfishers, Scotland’s canals are home to an incredible array of wildlife. While some are easier to capture on camera than others (the resident heron at The Falkirk Wheel loves having his photo taken!) a few top tips apply to all of the creatures that call the canals home.

First of all, try and spot them before they spot you. Binoculars – especially on the Caledonian Canal – can help you locate your potential photo subject and get into position for the perfect shot. If you can, try to get on the same eye level as your subject – it’ll make for a more engaging shot.

Lastly, hope for a bit of luck! Even with all the planning and patience in the world, the best wildlife photography is reliant on being in the right place at the right time.

Looking for an idea of what wonderful canal wildlife you can expect to find out on the canals? Check out our guide to the furry, feathered, slimy and scaly creatures on Scotland’s waterways.

5. Stay SAFE

No matter where or what you’re capturing, make sure you stay SAFE and Stay Away From the Edge!

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