Firstly, this post is not about the history of the pyramids. Nor is it about what they actually are or how to get to them. It’s specifically about how to photograph the Egyptian pyramids of Giza and where to photograph them from. Here are a few good Egyptian pyramid photography locations;
- Pyramids with Rice Fields
- Great Sphinx Side Shot and Silhouette
- Pyramid and Great Sphinx Aligned
- Six Pyramids Aligned
- Sunset Photography
- Pyramids at Night
Lastly, before we start, I must mention that the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.
Before I start, I must warn that some mornings you cannot see the pyramids. This is due to heavy smog in this huge, dirty city. However, some mornings are clear. So, if you’re serious about photographing the pyramids, you may consider staying a few days in Giza to not only increase your chances of a clear day but also to learn about the complex and where to be at what time.
The Pyramid with Rice Fields
On a smog free day it’s possible to photograph the pyramids with rice fields in the foreground. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a unique pyramid capture. Here is the exact photo location.
Great Sphinx in Front of the Pyramid
This photograph is very easy to take during the day. Simply walk in front of the Sphinx and take the shot. However, I recommend a camera with zoom. As a result, you can stand far enough back to perfectly align the shot. Finally, the earlier in the day you take this shot, the better the sunlight.
Side of the Great Sphinx – Head Close Up
The best time to photograph the side head of the Sphinx is during the early part of the day. As a result, the sun will light up the whole head. As you can see, I was there mid afternoon so there is a little shadow. For those who make Instagram photography and selfies, this area is where you can take a ‘Kiss the Great Sphinx’ photo. The photo location is pretty obvious but here is the exact spot.
Great Sphinx Silhouette
Just before sunset when the sun is low is the perfect opportunity to witness a Great Sphinx Silhouette. Of course, with a silhouette you cannot align it with a pyramid. Nonetheless, you can photograph it alone or with a pyramid beside it. Lastly, as this phenomenon happens close to closing time you may be asked to leave. I took this photo (above) from around this location.
Great Sphinx with Color
When I say the Great Sphinx with color, I refer to the sky behind it. After the sun has disappeared, you may be gifted with a pink sky. At this moment you can photograph the Great Sphinx with color. I would have preferred more color behind the head but unfortunately the complex was closed. I took this photograph from the left main gate, here is the exact location. However, if you’re lucky enough to still be inside the complex at this time, you’ll get a much better shot of the head with a pink sky behind.
How about taking the sun with the detail of the Great Sphinx as well?
Pyramids at Sunset
The Pyramid Complex is usually closed before sunset therefore you need to find a good sunset location outside. The obvious choice is the view from the top floor of KFC / Pizza Hut opposite the entrance. Alternatively, why not try a hotel rooftop such as Hayat Pyramids View which has both excellent and unobstructed views. Of course, wherever you choose they at least expect you to buy a drink.
Some of the scenes as the sun sets over the Egyptian Pyramids resemble something from a Star Wars movie! Enjoy. Speaking of movies, Transformers 2 and the Bucket List heavily feature the pyramids.
Six Pyramids Aligned Photograph
For me, the pyramids aligned is the best possible photograph opportunity at the Giza pyramid complex. It really creates the illusion that the pyramids are in the middle of the desert.
I’ve zoomed out so you can see exactly where the shot is taken from. Firstly, look at my shadow, it’s taken late afternoon around 4pm. Secondly, I hired a horse with small carriage to bring me here which is in the foreground. The coachman knew exactly where to bring me when I showed him the photo I wanted. Look beyond the pyramids, this is Giza which is full of hotels. As a matter of fact, there’s a Pizza Hut and KFC around 3oo meters from the pyramids. Finally, if you stay here for a while you can capture the pyramids in perfect alignment as other tourists pass in front of them on camels.
Pyramids at Night
Each night there are pyramid light shows repeated in different languages. Of course, you can enter and watch them from inside the complex. Alternatively, you can watch them from a Giza hotel rooftop. During the light show, each pyramid and the Great Sphinx are illuminated in several different colors. As a result you can take a blue, red or even orange pyramid photograph.
Getting Around the Giza Pyramid Complex
Of course, you can walk around the Giza pyramid complex. If you need a drink, you can bargain a vendor for one. Other options to get around include on horse with small carriage or a camel. The price is usually around $12 per hour which is decent value. In addition, being in control of a camel can seriously enhance some of your photographs. You can also take memorable photographs of yourself on a camel as you explore. Not to mention the tips which a camel owner can give you throughout your day. Finally, if you’re on a horse or camel, other hustlers don’t bother you.
Read about these other ancient wonders of the world, Temple of Artemis, Alexandria Lighthouse and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
I go to Egypt in a couple of days and have just read (well, re-read, just to be 100% sure) it and it’s extremely useful. I am a keen photographer and am really looking fwd to getting some decent shots. The panorama pic is the one I’m aiming for.
Many thanks for such an informative article.
Hi Andy, good luck finding the panoramic shot and enjoy.