Edinburgh Europe Scotland

A Photography Tour of Edinburgh

Jun 23

Edinburgh Calton Hill

Walking tours are one of my favourite ways to discover a new city. Whether they’re focused on history, culture, street art, or food, I always make an effort to try at least one walking tour when I visit a new (or not-so-new) destination.

Most of the walking tours I’ve done in Edinburgh have been deep beneath the city, in the underground vaults, chambers, and closes, since this is where many significant historic events have taken place.

While I find this dark history to be both fascinating and intriguing, I was ready to try a walking tour that highlighted some of the best above-ground sights in the city.

Enter: Edinburgh Photography Tours – a tour that takes you along Edinburgh’s beautiful streets and also provides the opportunity to improve your photography skills. Part historic walking tour, and part hands-on beginner photography tutorial, this tour is lead by James Christie – a local who has been working as a professional photographer for more than thirty years.

Edinburgh CastleCovering roughly three miles – from the top of Calton Hill, down toward Holyrood Palace and along the Royal Mile – the tour is approximately 4 to 5 hours, and visits sites of historical significance, popular landmarks, and a few lesser-known spots.

James’ passion for photography shines through his teaching, and he seemed genuinely interested in helping everyone to become comfortable shooting in Manual Mode, while providing feedback and tips to ensure your photos are of the same standard as his own.

Scottish Parliament Edinburgh Parliament
I loved having immediate feedback from James; he helped me to recognize some of my photos weren’t perfectly straight, and he taught me to look for a vertical or horizontal reference point to ensure I continue to take straight photos.

He also shared so many of his expert tips, like how to easily erase any distractions from a photograph, and how to adjust your settings to best suit the subject and light.

Not only did I learn a wealth of photography tips, but I also walked away with some poignant food for thought.

James mentioned how on a daily basis, most people walk around with their eyes wide shut; we often don’t take the time to look at our surroundings – I mean really look at our surroundings. How many times have you noticed something on a familiar street for the first time, despite having passed it on the way to work or school everyday for months, or even years?

If we just take the time to slow down and open our eyes, we can find beauty and photographic-worthy details around us at any given moment.

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh EdinburghEdinburgh is one of the most photogenic cities in the world; I’m constantly in awe of the beauty around every corner, but there’s so much more to the city than just the major sites that I often find myself fixated on. 

This tour opened my eyes to new areas – and new features in familiar areas – that I hadn’t previously noticed, and I can’t wait to explore the city with a fresh outlook.

If you want to see Edinburgh from a new perspective, through the eyes of someone who sees the world more abstractly than the average person, and who finds beauty and character in ordinary and obscure things, I’d highly recommend this walking photography tour.

What’s the best walking tour you’ve ever taken?


  • Reply Camille Jun 23 at 6:09 pm

    I love walking tours, especially if they’re combined with something else! I took a really great free one in Yangon, Myanmar. And oh, not a walking one, but I was on a fun bike tour of alternative Oslo last week – really cool experience (I’m going to write about it in my next blog post actually)!


    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 24 at 8:26 am

      I’ve never done a bike tour before – I definitely need to try one! And the alternative Oslo tour sounds interesting! I look forward to reading your post about it.

  • Reply Marni Aug 14 at 3:16 pm

    This sounds phenomenal, and now I’m highly considering it for my own trip! Much of my high school trip in Italy involved walking tours, and my favorite of those was definitely through the Colosseum. In terms of local walking tours, I went on a haunted walk shortly after I moved to Ottawa. It was pretty creepy (in a good way), and took us through the old jail which is now a hostel.

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 17 at 7:02 pm

      A walking tour through the Colosseum sounds amazing! And I love haunted walks – I’ve taken a few here in Edinburgh and back home in Niagara. Haven’t been through an old jail, though – I need to remember that if I ever revisit Ottawa!

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