Taj Mahal Photography Tips

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.  This is about a 3 hour drive from New Delhi depending on the traffic.  The trip between New Delhi and Agra has been made much faster and easier with the completion of the new Yamuna Expressway.  If you are near New Delhi, it worth the trip to see the beautiful Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal itself is a beautiful white marbled mausoleum that Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built in memory of his wife.  There are also other beautiful buildings, gardens, and reflection pools to photograph in the Taj Mahal complex.  The Taj Mahal complex and surrounding area is home to many birds and animals such as parrots, monkeys, camels, and kites.

 

Taj Mahal Reflection
Crowds vary by the day of the week and season.  However, the Taj Mahal is normally busy with people.  It is difficult to get a photograph without people in the picture, so it is best to just think of the people as part of the scene.  The beautiful colors of the clothing can also add to the vibrance of your photographs.

Sunset at the Taj Mahal

On my last trip to India, I visited the Taj Mahal in the evening.  The sun sets behind the Mosque building to the west of the Taj Mahal.  This can provide a nice sunset composition with the garden and lawn in the foreground.  The warm light may carry over to the Taj Mahal itself, with a composition from the eastern part of the complex.
The Taj Mahal is open from sunrise to sunset every day but Friday.  On Friday afternoon, it is open only to those attending prayers at the Taj Mahal Mosque.  Tickets are only sold until 5pm.  Tickets cost 750 rupees for foreigners.
Taj Mahal Mosque at Sunset

Restrictions

There is no photography allowed inside the Taj Mahal itself and you need to wear protective booties when walking on the Taj Mahal.  It is very crowded when walking inside the Taj Mahal so secure your wallet and passport in a front pocket to protect them while inside the Taj Mahal complex.
No tripods are allowed inside the Taj Mahal complex.  In fact, nothing but your wallet, camera, passport, and a bottle of water are allowed inside.  You will need to walk through a metal detector and bags are also screened.  I did bring a photo bag with an extra lens, filters, and extra SD cards with me without a problem.
Taj Mahal Great Gate Reflection

Classic Photographs

There are several classic reflection shots of the Taj Mahal and other buildings in the complex.  Here are a few shots that I like.
  • The classic reflection pool shot of the Taj Mahal just as you enter the compound.  Try to align yourself right in the center of the pool so the finial of the Taj Mahal is centered in the reflection pool.  This is a popular shot so you have to be patient and wait your your turn.
  • Half way up to the Taj Mahal on the left or right hand side there is a reflection shot as the pool juts out to the left or right.  You will have to be patient here if you don’t want people in your photograph.
  • Once you get to the Taj Mahal stairs, turn around and shoot the reflection of the beautiful Great Gate building centered in the reflection pool.
There are many more compositions inside the Taj Mahal complex.  I also like using the towers of the Taj Mahal to help frame the photo by placing them on the left or right hand side like in my sunset photo of the Mosque.
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