Everyone loves to return home with great holiday pictures, and to ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your holiday snaps, we’ve asked professional photographers from around the globe for their top tips on capturing our most popular destinations.

In this installment, we’ve focussed on the beautiful islands of Malta, and have enlisted the help of experienced Maltese local Stephen Galea, as well as the award-winning Michael Jurick, both of whom have some taken some magnificent photographs from the Mediterranean paradise.

We’ve spoken to these photographers about what makes Malta such a special place for photography, as well as asking for their top tips and exploring some of the amazing pictures they themselves have taken. So, without further ado; here’s what they told us.

What would you say is the best thing about Malta from a photographer’s point of view?

Michael Jurick: One of the lasting impressions from my visit to Malta was the striking coastline. The Azure Window and the Blue Grottos had so many visual delights, and as a photographer, you could capture the terrain from almost any angle. A particularly good time to film these sites is as the sun falls; the coast seems to shimmer and you can get some very unique shots. I often used a wide angle lens to capture the Azure Window, and also integrated my children to add child-like wonder to the story.


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

Stephen Galea: For me, one of the best things about photographing Malta is the sheer amount it has to offer in regards to photography, despite being a fairly small country. It has a deep history to discover and is also home to miles of beautiful coastline.  What’s more, most of the best sites are very easily accessible, and choices are almost endless. As well as the numerous beaches and historical buildings, you can also capture the essence of Maltese folklore and traditions, as well as the interesting historical details such as windows and balconies found in Mdina and Valletta.

What’s the best way to photograph Malta’s dramatic coastline?

Stephen: I’d recommend using a wide angle lens and a tripod, as well as long exposures and natural density filters. You could also try using graduated filters or capturing multiple exposures, just see what works best for you. Ideally, it’s better to get around by car, as most of Malta’s best sites are within walking distance of main roads.

I’d recommend getting to your selected spots 15 minutes prior to dusk or dawn to get the very best images. As for time of year, April to May and September until November are probably best for photography, as there are dramatic skies and the air’s less humid, which greatly improves visibility and photo results.

Stephen Galea Coastline

Image Credit: Stephen Galea 

Michael: I knew that Malta would have dramatic coastlines, so I took a wide angle lens, as well as a tighter lens for capturing portraits against the gorgeous backgrounds. I’d recommend waiting until the last 45 minutes of the day to get the golden light from the sun and the cliffs. It’s also a good idea to take a boat and capture the island from that perspective. One thing I found which gave good results was using a panoramic technique whereby I shoot multiple frames using a wide angle and stitched them together afterwards using an editing program.

How would you recommend photographing Malta’s cities, such as Mdina and Valletta?

Michael: Cities like Mdina and Valetta can be captured in dramatically different ways. For example, Valetta has such unique architecture. The windows, doors, and coloured accents are so rich, textured and vibrant that they beg to be captured during the day. When shooting the city I used a wide angle lens, as well as a low ISO, so that the camera had a lower sensitivity to light.

I took a completely different approach to photographing Mdina, shooting at night with my camera set to a very high ISO to soak in every last drop of city light. Using a wide angle lens at 2.8 aperture enabled the city walls to take on the colours of the lights beautifully, as you can see in these pictures.


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

Stephen: Like Michael, I photograph Maltese cities in several different ways. It’s a good idea to shoot cities like Mdina and Birgu at dusk or dawn, using the light to create added drama. Having the deep blue sky at dusk or dawn, contrasting with the yellow limestone and warm lights found on the buildings creates a nice flattering result.

Again, like Michael I agree that Maltese cities can also look great photographed during the day. Here in Malta we have plenty of sunny days, so that helps in creating a better shot, revealing more shape and texture and eventually a different feel to the finished result.


Image Credit: Stephen Galea 

Where is your favourite place in Malta to photograph?

Stephen: It all depends your own personal preferences; I don’t honestly have an outright favourite place. Malta’s most aesthetically pleasing locations are probably Mdina, Valletta and Gozo, in terms of overall scenery, but the country as a whole is covered with beaches and historical buildings, so there’s no shortage anywhere. If I had to choose a favourite, I would opt for the beaches and sea areas in Gozo.

Stephen Galea - Mdina

Image Credit: Stephen Galea 

Michael: As I mentioned, I was really smitten by the Azure Window in Gozo, and the magical energy it has at sunset; I definitely took some of my favourite pictures there. I also really loved the architecture, colour palette and window details in Valetta. It is such a visually striking city – both ancient and preserved with such energy.


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

Is there a best time of day to capture Malta’s towns, coast and landscapes?

Michael: I find the best times to capture Malta’s landscapes and coastal areas are towards the very end of the day, when there’s just enough sunlight left to beautifully illuminate the views. Try setting your ISO a bit higher as the sun falls below the horizon to get the glow of sky mixing with city lights across the waters. I love this photograph as a great example:


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

Of course, one of the most well-known visual impressions of Malta are the hand-painted fishing boats.  They had such charm and could be photographed in every port at any time of day with almost any lens. Just get close enough to fill the frame and add a bit of set and setting. I particularly like this one I captured:


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

Stephen: One of my favourite times to shoot is early in the morning, when pretty much all of Malta’s sights look great. An hour and half before sunset is also an amazing time to photograph. The time you choose to shoot really all depends on the subject and location, as well as the feel you’re looking to create.


Image Credit: Stephen Galea 

What advice would you give to people photographing Malta’s historical buildings, such as the auberges, forts and churches? 

Stephen: Assuming that you’re not going to bring all of your camera gear when you travel, I would suggest using a medium telephoto lens, as well as a polarizing filter and – if you can carry one – a small portable tripod.

It’s also a good idea to rent a car to get around the island if you can. If you can’t, however, don’t worry as many towns within walking distance of one and other. Historic sites can be photographed on a clear nice day, or alternatively at dusk or dawn, in order to capture a more dramatic and peaceful sense of the setting.

Stephen Galea - Mellieha

Image Credit: Stephen Galea 

Michael: As Stephen said, a tripod would be ideal, but if you don’t have one available, you should still get some beautiful pictures of Malta’s historic buildings. When filming church interiors, I’d suggest using the high ISO of many modern cameras, so that you can pick up as much light as you possibly can. Additionally, shoot at a resolution of 800, 1600 and higher to capture the detail of the inside of churches.  When filming historical buildings, I would use a wide angle lens, try to shoot early morning or later in the day and capture the rich colours of the sky against the city. Pick a vantage point that is a little bit different than what you might expect and experiment. Most of all; have fun!


Image Credit: Michael Jurick 

So there you have it, arrive to your next Maltese holiday armed with this handy advice, and you can be sure that you capture the nation at its very best for those back home. Whether you’re filming the Malta’s beautiful coastline, fascinating history or ornate churches, keep these handy tips in mind, and you’re guaranteed some great shots.



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