All about Photography in IRAN!
On this post of our Travel Blog, we would like to introduces Iran as a photography destination and provides comprehensive information regarding this pursuit. This material includes the best Types of Photography you could experience in Iran, Destinations ideal for photography and Best Travel Time that you have to consider as a photographer. We have also included Tips & Advice, articles and FAQs you may need for this specialized mode of travel. You could also have a look at hand-picked collection of interesting photographs of previous trips in our Photo Gallery.
Our mission as an Specialist Tour Operator is to provide amazing and unique opportunities for photographers who would like to travel to Iran in order to capture high quality pictures to add to their portfolio. In the last few years, our custom-made photography expeditions to generally unknown and off the beaten track regions, has enabled us to create very efficient travel itineraries ideal for serious photographers. Today we offer various types of photography trips covering all four seasons, numerous ethnic groups along the width and breadth of Iran.
About Photography in Iran
Iran is a new photography destination for all creative photographers who are looking for unique destinations rarely visited by the majority of traveling public. Depending on your type of photography, Iran would be good destination for people, architecture and landscape photography. The country contains a variety of distinct ethnic tribes who are excellent subjects for people photography. For those who are interested in architectural photography there is a huge list of historical monuments in different provinces of Iran which is ideal for this purpose.
To give you an example: If you pick our Classic Iran route which covers a reasonable sampling of Persia’s pre-Islamic civilization. On this route you will visit many historical houses, palaces and castles. In addition, there are important monuments and ancient ruins that are important subjects for architectural photography. This route also includes post-Islamic structures like colorful mosques and many caravansaries situated on the famous Silk Road.
For those interested in landscape photography there is quite a surprise regarding the possibilities on offer. Iran offers a variety of eco systems and climatic conditions that most people in the world are not aware of. If you are interested in learning in detail about this subject, please check our link: Iran Landscape Photography
Special Destination for Landscape Photography
The following links are a sample of the diverse landscape and eco systems suitable for landscape photography in Iran:
- Dasht-e Lut (UNESCO)
- Central Alborz Mountain Range
- Hawraman Valley (UNESCO)
- Darak Coastal Region
- Martian Mountains, Baluchistan
- Hyrcanian Forest (UNESCO)
- Turkmen Plain
Compared with similar countries, Iran offers a much wider and more diverse representation of ancient civilization and current ethnic diversity unmatched in the region. There are numerous structures from Iran’s ancient past spread across the country most of which are not covered by standard tour operators. We have gone out of our way to include these special and remote locations rarely visited by international travelers. The UNESCO world heritage (27 sites) and long list of unregistered sites (tentative UNESCO list) provide opportunities for anyone interested in this type of Photography.
Iran’s Best Types of photography
People, Landscape and Architecture Photography are the most common practices in Iran. Below there is some detail information about these fields:
Iranian People photography
Iran is home to various people from different cultures, ethnicities and races that live across the country. Portrait Photography is the most important type of photography you could do in Iran. This variety makes the perfect ground for those who are interested in this branch of art. How many countries in the world do you know of that have this kind of diversity in the clothes section only?
The main reason for this can be found in the history of Iran, back when it was called persia. In the past (nearly 150 years ago so not that long) the surrounding countries were all a part of Iran. Baluchistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and Iraq are examples of this fact. You can see many ethnicities like Baloch, Turkmen, Afghan, Azari’s, Kurdish and Arab all over the country.
It is like a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to see and document this many races in one place. keep in mind that tribal regions like Bakhtiari, Qashaaee, Shahsavan and Taleshi nomadic tribes (which are mostly native to Iran) can be added to the list too.
It’s obvious that it’s not possible to photograph all these groups in a single trip, but based on your preferences, duration of your trip and the season of your travel a reasonable group of diverse people can be your main focus.
The last photography trip of ours took about 25 days in May of 2022. It Consisted of three different ethnics regions of Turkmen in the north east, Kurdish in the west and Bakhtiari nomadic tribes in the heart of Zagros mountains.
The rest of the country is occupied by Urban life with many metropolitan areas. The perfect place for people interested in street photography.
Landscape Photography in Iran
As you may know Iran is a big 4 season country with deserts, long mountain ranges, forest, lakes, rivers and two seas that could be your destination for landscape photography. This variety of terrain and region made a lot of environment protected areas and national parks untouched for photographers who are interested in nature photography. Along with all of the above advantages, Iran’s weather and climate are different in various regions of the country and it would be amazing for a special landscape and nature photography journey to have two different opposite regions of Iran in one trip.
In winter you can have an amazing white landscape in the high mountains of Alborz covered by snow and at the same time a few hundred kilometers away lays the brown colors of Dasht-e Kavir or Lut Desert along the white landscape of the salt lake. If you continue your trip all the way to the south you can have the blue and ultramarine colors of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the Indian Ocean. Iran is one of the only countries offering attractions year round. Depending on your travel time you could visit different regions. So we can’t put a general stamp for Iran’s Best Time to Travel for landscape photography.
For example Iran has hot summer in most part of the country but if you are interested in the amazing landscape of ZardKuh chains high mountains in Bakhtiari Nomadic Tribes region, end of spring and summer time is the only possible season you could travel and the rest of year is very cold and the roads are blocked by snow.
Winter is also another Off Season of Iran for most tourist destinations but it’s the best season for southern parts of Iran.The most amazing pictures can be taken in winter times of Iran when the north and central parts of the country are covered by snow while the people of south are having the best temperatures between 20-30 °C.
In most of our tailor-made trips we have combined the two categories of People and Landscape photography in most regions. Having a special efficient travel itinerary for landscape photography is the main key for professional photographers. Our expert technical team consisting of photographers and guides could help you create the best travel itinerary according to your travel time, duration of your trip and your interest in photography. Please get in touch!
Architecture Photography of Ancient Persian and Modern Iran
Iran with 27 UNESCO world heritage sites (till 2023) and a long list of tentative sites ready for registrations is one of the best travel destinations for architecture photography. The majority of the UNESCO sites are special heritage sites which can be suitable for architecture and monument photography.
Apart from the above, in every corner of this country you will see a lot of mansions with unique architecture like historical houses in Kashan, the old parts of the cities like Yazd which is a UNESCO site, many mosques with different architecture with one or two minaret like Naghsh-e Jahan square or the Pink Mosque, a lot of caravanserais in the Ancient Silk Road of Iran like Zin-o-Aldin and Kuhpa Caravanserais, historical castles like Falak-ol-Aflak and Roudkhan Castle, historical palaces like Golestan palace and Ali-Qapou, Special Bridges like Tabiat bridge in Abo Atash park or Sio-Se-Pol, historical churches like Qare Kelisa (Monastery of Saint Thaddeus), Vank Cathedral and Saint Stepanos Monastery, famous Towers like Azadi or Milad towers, famous Bazaar like Tehran and Tabriz (UNESCO) historical Bazaar, Special historical monuments like Khiam grave in Nishaboor, Tomb of Hafez, and Abo Ali Sina in Hamedan and new famous buildings in different parts of Iran like Cinema Museum in north of the Capital and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
The above list can give you only an idea. There are so many interesting places for photographers for those interested in architecture subjects.
Architecture Photography ideas
If you would like to follow well known travel routes (that are suitable for architectural photography), below are the three best routes in Iran which could be done in a short or long trip:
- Classic Iran – This is famous for photography of the main Iran UNESCO sites and Best Tourist Cities.
- North West of Iran and the Azari regions – This route is famous for the churches, Bazaar and citadels
- West and South West of Iran – This is famous for Iran Ancient places and famous UNESCO site
Destinations suitable for Photography in Iran
Iran has many destinations for photography that are far from tourist destinations in the country like Tehran, Shiraz or Esfahan with international airports. This can affect your travel time majorly as reaching some of them might need overland travel and domestic flights to reach.
Below are the most important photography destinations of Iran we could recommend:
- Baloochistan (South East) – Balooch ethnic
- Kurdistan (west of Iran) – Kurdish tribes
- Turkmen Sahra (Golestan Province-South east) – Turkmen ethnics
- Bakhtiari Nomad region (South West) – Bakhtiari nomads
- Azarbaijan (North west) – Azari ethnics
- Persian Gulf islands (south of Iran) –Mixed Arab and Persian
- Khosetanan (south west) – Arab tribes and nomads region
- Gilan (South west of Caspian) – Gilaki ethnics
- Mazandaran (north of Iran) Mazani ethnic
- North Khorasan (North east) – Turkmen and Afghan
- Qashqaei region ( West of Shiraz ) – Qashqaee nomads
- Shahsavan region ( south of Azarbaijan) – Shahsavan nomad
- Talesh ( South of Gilan ) – Taleshi nomdic tribes
- Concolution for destinations
Some of the mentioned destinations above are the namesake to their provinces or, like Baluchistan, are a part of their province name (in that case Balochistan is a part of Sistan and Baluchistan province). Most Adventure Iran photography tours are designed based on the above destinations. You could also choose a couple of them according to your interests and we can make the best itinerary out of your desired route and our suggestions based on our knowledge on the field. If you map out the mentioned destinations, you will see that the majority of them are near the countries borders. The neighboring countries of Iran consist of many beautiful terrains which were a part of Iran less than a 100 years ago in the 19th century. In the years Iran shrinked in size but even now you can see a union in culture and lifestyle among the adjoining countries.
All of these regions are perfect for Documentary, people or landscape photography. Each region could take up to 10 days to explore, and combined with other regions, we need to add an extra day for travel time as it could take somewhere between half a day to a full day to get between them.
Best travel Time for Photography in Iran
Travel time and best season for photography in Iran is related to the destination that you are traveling to. You could travel all year in Iran and the meaning “Iran high and low season for traveling” is quite different with other countries for photography tours.
To have a general picture of the country, we will give you 5 different geographical regions of Iran which has different traveling time to visit.
- The Caspian Sea coastal region
- Zagros & Alborz Mountain Ranges
- Central Iran’s major historical cities
- The Desert Regions (Dasht-e Kavir & Lut Desert)
- Persian Gulf and the South Coast
For photographers who are visiting Iran for the first time and are interested in covering the Classic Iran Route, spring is the best season. This famous traveling route covers Central Iran’s major historical cities. Another traveling time for this route is Autumn which also offers pleasant temperatures. During this time, you are able to add Desert Regions to your photography adventure travel.
The southern coastal region of Iran offers completely different landscape and types of people for photography. Winter is the optimal time for Persian Gulf and south of Iran. The best example of photo tours during winter is Baloochistan Photography.
Summer is ideal for photographers who are interested in mountain regions and high-altitude peaks. Zagros mountains is perfect for landscape photography. The advantage of this region is to combine the trip with traveling alongside Iran’s several nomadic tribes. In addition, our guests will have the opportunity to photograph remote ancient ruins not covered by any standard tours.
IRAN Photography FAQ
1- Is it possible to take pictures of everywhere in Iran?
No, there are many places in urban and small towns which are prohibited for photography and unfortunately some of these locations have no signs.
2- How could I recognize where taking pictures are prohibited?
If you travel on a tour with the guide, you don’t need to be worried about it and the guide will advise you. If you are traveling without a guide, you have to discover this information on your own. This would be more difficult when you travel with big cameras and photography equipment.
3- Can I bring my big camera along with extra gear to Iran?
Yes you could, but you have to know where you are permitted to use them. In particular, if you use a tripod, there are restrictions. Our guides will assist you about these issues.
4- Can I take my drone to Iran?
No you couldn’t.
5- Is it easy to take pictures of men in Iran?
Yes, it is. Capture of pictures from men is not very hard. You have to communicate with them and ask permission like everywhere else.
6- Is it easy to communicate with people in Iran?
Depends on the region. The answer could be yes or no. In the main cities and towns most of the people could communicate with you in English or at least understand your intention about taking pictures of them and most are quite happy about photography. In the villages or remote destinations, communication is more tricky. In these regions, like Baluchistan or Kurdistan the assistance of our guides is crucial.
7- Can I take pictures of women in Iran?
The answer is depending on the region. In most tourist regions of Iran, women like to be photographed. Of course you have to ask first! In non-tourist areas this becomes a much more difficult task. In these areas our guides are trained to negotiate with the locals.
8- Is it easy to find cameras equipment in Iran?
Depends on which type of equipment you are looking for! In general, you could find all types of photography equipment in Iran.
9- I have analogue camera. Can I find film in Iran?
You could find 35mm Kodak or Fuji film in Iran. It’s not easy to find medium format but its doable.
10- can I rent any camera or equipment in Iran?
No you couldn’t .
11- Do you have any fixed departure photography tour in Iran?
Most of our photo tours are private. We have a couple fixed departure tours every year. Please Contact Us!
12- What is the size of your group tours?
Its depend on the type of tours and region. Our photography tours have small size. Ranges between 4 -12 photographers.
13- Do I have access to electricity every night for charging my camera battery or other equipment?
In majority of our photography trips, you have access to electricity. If you choose remote region trips, be aware that you need bring extra batteries or what ever your need to handle lack of electricity.
14- Do you have any program for photography of Iranian festivals?
Yes we have, please contact us!
Adventure Iran Photography Tours
Adventure Iran photography tours are designed specifically for serious photographers, whether professional or amateur. It doesn’t matter what level of photographer you are.; the key point for you to know is that our tours are custom designed with the needs and requirements of photographers in mind. Therefore, our travel itineraries are planned completely around the daily needs and requirements of our photographer guests. We scout the best locations and ideal times in order to capture optimal frames.
The majority of the tours are designed around a specific geographical area which encompasses distinct tribal groupings. Therefore, these tours in general include a combination of people and landscape photography. There are exceptions where a tour crosses area that contain important ancient historical monuments. In these tours we do our best to include opportunities for architectural photography.
We list our Iran Photography Tour under the Special Interest tour category.
Type of Operation
We have three ways of operating our tours for different of clients.
1- Fixed Departure Tour
Since we are serious photographers ourselves, there are a small number of fixed departure tours that are operated annually to a couple of our favorite destinations. These are very group size trips that vary in numbers according to the destination. The tours all start from Tehran. You have to book them 6 months in advance of the departure date. Please Contact Us for further details.
2-Private tour (FIT)
You can come any time during the year. We highly advice you to read the 2 specialized articles “Iran Weather and Climate for Traveling” and “Best Time to Visit Iran” that clarify why you can come to Iran at any time of year. Depending on the time year we can suggest to our clients’ suitable tours for that season.
3- Tour Operators or Photography Agencies
We work with different tour operators around the world and if any operator or agency is interested in offering Iran as a photography destination, please contact us!