30 Creative Photography Ideas at the Taj Mahal [+ Images]

When I was planning on going to the Taj Mahal, I was nervous that all my pictures would be boring and stale because it is one of the most photographed sites on the planet.

If you’re in a similar situation, I’ve reached out to a number of photographers and models on Instagram to share some creative ideas that will inspire you take a photograph of the Taj Mahal that you will be proud of.

1. Hire a Boat

Credit: Helloomelissa

There’s one big problem with taking photos at the Taj Mahal… everyone else is also trying to take photos at the Taj Mahal. But there are a number of ways to solve this problem, and I’ll show you a bunch of options in the post.

One way to remove all tourists is to hire a boat on the Yamuna River and take a photo of the backside of the Taj. Sunrise and sunset are the best times. You can hire a boat tour for yourself and up to five of your friends.

NOTE: Unfortunately hiring a boat on the Yamuna River is now illegal 🙁 The best alternate is to head to Mehtab Bagh, which is a 20 minute rickshaw ride from near the Taj Mahal.

2. Use Shallow Depth of Field

Credit: claudinelanglois
Credit: claudinelanglois

Most photographs of the Taj Mahal make the famed mausoleum the central element by keeping it in focus.

What if you tried taking a portrait with a shallow depth of field to get a bokeh effect?

This one could be great for weddings or portraits where you just want to more subtly say… oh yeah, that is the Taj Mahal in the background… no big deal 😉

3. Bring a Clear Sphere

Credit: prabhashsahu

Photography is the study and art of capturing light, and one way to get more creative photos at the Taj Mahal is to manipulate the light with a prop like this crystal sphere (check the link for the price on Amazon).

This shot combines the use of the prop so we can see an upside-down in-focus shot of the Taj with the out-of-focus right-side-up tomb in the background.

I also like the color grading on the shot giving it the impression it is taken at sunrise or sunset with what looks like the sun rising behind the tomb. It looks like there was vignetting around the center further helping our eye focus on the beauty of this tomb.

4. Shoot Reflections

Credit: gv.artsy.lens

The Taj Mahal has a beautiful long pool stretching out in front of it. This can be a wonderful element to take more creative photos as we can see in this photograph.

In this photograph, there must be a touch of wind in the air making the reflection delightfully abstract. Then the photographer flips the camera upside down, so it is initially disorientating to look at.

The blue colors in the pool also contrast nicely with the reddish hues in the stone.

For some, maybe turning the photo upside is too disorienting, however the reflection of the Taj in the pool could be used in many other unique ways.

5. Tiny Planet Effect

Credit: Whiteday

If you have decent Photoshop chops or can follow along with a tutorial on how to achieve the effect, then you can turn your photo into a “tiny planet.”

Here you can see that the subject is sitting on a bench and it looks cool that he is taller than the Taj.

To make this photo, you’ll need to use a panoramic photograph. Many phones will allow you to take one or you can stitch multiple photos together using Photoshop.

I like the effect that Whiteday achieved here, but you could try many other ideas as well. For instance, what if you were looking at the camera?

6. Low-Angle Photography

Credit: Whiteday

Most people take photos by bringing their camera up to their eye and snapping away. For a more unique perspective, try getting as close to the ground as you can.

The Taj Mahal has a lot of tiles covering the ground nearby. You could try to capture the beauty of those tiles by getting low, positioning yourself or a friend in the foreground, then shooting the stunning Taj in the background.

This might also look very cool if you have kids since you would be closer to their natural perspective and could give the impression of what it might be like to be so little at this wonder.

7. Frame Your Portrait with Shrubs and Trees

Credit: Shivi_ox

On the grounds of the Taj Mahal, there are a number of lawns, shrubs, trees and gardens that you could use to get a more nature-oriented portrait.

We can see that Shivi_ox took a nice one here with shrubs along the lower half and tree branches along the upper half. This helps her stand out more from the Taj and makes a natural frame for the Taj.

8. Hold a Yoga Pose

Credit: Amandadeeyoga

India is the birthplace of yoga, so it would be relevant to showcase a yoga pose to make an interesting portrait with the Taj Mahal.

We can see here that Amandadeeyoga made a beautiful portrait by centering the tomb right in the background. Then she does a pose that looks good in front of the monument. I like that her foot is angled to show the point of the main arched doorway of the Taj.

I also like that her pants resemble some of the stonework.

If we were to find a spot with fewer tourists it may look even cooler, since her upper body is a bit lost in people… some of which look like they are photographing her, haha.

9. Shoot Higher

Credit: Amourfilms

Amourfilms found a creative way to remove all of the tourists from their shot and took what would make a perfect wedding or couple photo.

By raising the camera and shooting higher, we can just see the raised platform that the Taj Mahal rests on. Then this couple looks completely alone to steal a romantic kiss.

The bird stretching its wings in flight seems like a nice lucky accident as well!

10. Head to the Forest Colony Park

Credit: brigrc

Maybe the best photographs of the Taj Mahal aren’t taken at the Taj Mahal? I love the shot birgrc captured from the park to the east of the tomb along the Yamuna River.

The Mughal-style arch creates a frame-within-a-frame and accentuates this couple as they share a romantic moment with the tomb in their view.

This was taken at sunset, so the arches are dark and imposing. The scene could look much different at sunrise and might also look beautiful.

NOTE: At the time of writing, only Indians were allowed into this part of the park. However, some tourists were able to negotiate with the guard to gain access.

11. Reflection in Your Subject’s Eye

Credit: Genesisofgypsy

One very unique photograph would be to capture the reflection of the Taj Mahal in your subject’s eye.

If you can pull this off in-camera, you would need a great zoom or macro lens. You can achieve the effect in Photoshop.

However, you make it happen, this is a one-of-a-kind photo of this monument. I love that I can feel a connection with the subject too as if I’m seeing out of their eyes. It would be great with a romantic partner or children… if you can get them to sit still for it.

12. Camera Within a Camera Shot

Credit: Map.camera.travel & their blog

When you visit the Taj Mahal, aside from seeing the white marble tomb you are also going to see hundreds of tourists… most who will be snapping photos with their camera.

One creative effect could be to take a photograph of a photograph that you’ve taken of the Taj Mahal. You could bring it up on your phone and position the Taj Mahal in the background.

Or you could do the effect when you post-process the image.

I like that the sky is color graded and is an eye-catching purple color, which looks like the photo was taken around sunset.

13. Closeups of Architectural Details

Credit: Jotaciambotti

If you are fascinated by architecture, the Taj Mahal has so many details that would make great photos.

The white marble of the Taj glistens as if it was lit up by lights. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan spent over 32 million rupees constructing this tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz, so why not capture as much of its beauty as possible?

The materials to build the Taj were brought from all over India with over 1,000 elephants. The white marble was sourced from Makrana in Rajasthan. The jasper was from Punjab. The crystal and jade came from China. The turquoise was from Tibet.

This is an example of Mughal architecture which draws inspiration from Persian, Islamic, and Indian traditions. The calligraphy on the walls of the Taj is mostly taken from the Quran.

If you have a zoom lens, there are countless closeups you could take of the building.

14. Frame an Alcove

Credit: Ankushmiglani

Another way to remove tourists from your shot is to get closer to the monument by framing your subject in one alcove.

Here we can see that Ankushmiglani framed this alcove perfectly while probably waiting for no tourists to pass in front.

The effect is striking in that it shows the beauty of the Taj Mahal’s stonework, while also being fun… it looks like the subject is chilling.

15. Colorful Clothing Versus White Marble

Credit: colorfulbonvoyage

I love how colorfulbonvoyage wears a colorful pink and yellow saree to brilliantly stand out against the bright white marble of the Taj.

It’s also impressive that she found a moment when there was no one around as well. Or maybe she or the photographer is very good at scrubbing people out in Photoshop.

Either way, this is a photograph that stands out when you are scrolling Instagram… maybe if she were to turn around and face the camera that would be another option that might also work.

However, since it is natural for her to be looking up at the beautiful monument this works well.

16. Shooting the Taj from the Air

Credit: michele.falzone

Unfortunately, you can’t bring a drone into the Taj Mahal if you’re just a typical tourist. But michele.falzone was able to get permission to take photos from the sky so it is possible for you as well.

I love that it shows us an angle of the tomb that we will never get from the ground. To see it from a birdseye view is something that I was craving as I strolled around the grounds.

There is also a beautiful soft light from the east, so he is shooting this at sunrise. At first, I liked the warped perspective that comes from using the ultra-wide-angle lens.

But it also could be cool to see the Taj with sharp straight lines. Or a symmetrical shot if you took the drone straight in front of the monument or even just above it.

17. Use Negative Space

Credit: thisisfuturepast

Most of the photographs of the Taj are sunny and white and warm. To try something different, I love that this one has so much black negative space.

This is a view from the doorway leading into the Taj grounds, and I remember being in this spot and feeling so much awe as I laid my eyes on the Taj for the first time.

Walking through that doorway was such a moment for me and I wished there were no tourists in front so I could snap away.

By getting so much negative space here, it makes the Taj Mahal stand out and gives you more of an outside perspective on it.

The bird with its wings outstretched is essential to the image. I don’t think it would be very noteworthy without it, as that adds another spot of black thereby emphasizing the vast negative space used here.

18. Frame Your Subject Close Within the Arches

Credit: sharlenelowe

This looks like the photographer got very close to the model here and beautifully framed her within the Taj Mahal doorway.

It can be dangerous to shoot from below but the way she tilts her head helps it to work. I like the scarf she is wearing with its Indian-themed patterns and colors that work well with the Taj.

I wish we could crop out that guy’s hand on the left who is also taking a photograph. But aside from that is a great idea for a portrait. You could even do this as a selfie.

19. Create Backlit Silhouettes

Credit: raahi_kalakar

Most people take photos of the sparkling white marble of the Taj Mahal, but what if you tried something different and positioned the sun behind the monument so it was lit from behind? Then you could focus on the architectural lines.

That’s what raahi_kalakar did. The focus of this image is on the minarets, the dome, and the heavenly sun trails coming out of the clouds.

These come together to give an otherworldly appearance and shed a new light (or lack there off) on this wonder of the world.

20. Remove All The People

Credit: chesterburkin

This is a fairly typical composition of the Taj Mahal, yet the way chesterburkin grades the color, vignettes the image, and removes all of the people gives it a striking lonely ghost town feel.

The platform the subject is sitting on is the main platform and this often full of tourists politely (mostly) maneuvering around each other to get the photo they want.

In this shot though, it looks like the subject has the whole Taj Mahal to himself for some introspection time. The blue color grading adds to this and gives it a darker feeling.

Unless the subject actually had the Taj Mahal to himself, which seems unlikely, he must have scrubbed everyone out using Photoshop.

21. Focus on Non-Tourist Subjects

Credit: sayf90

Unlike the other shots which are obviously taken by tourists wanting to show their trip, this shot strives for something more.

This was shot at the Mehtab Bagh complex across the Yamuna River, which removes the viewer from Taj.

By focusing on the colorful sarees and beautiful faces of the local workers, it made me consider questions beyond just the beauty of the monument. I’m thinking about all the people who must live near here or who might come here for work.

How many people does it take to keep the Taj Mahal looking so beautiful? What are these local peoples lives like?

When I was at the Taj a guy was cleaning the pool, and I thought it was interesting that he was just doing his job while all the tourists were going wild over the monument 🙂

22. Wear Clothing That Works With the Taj Mahal

Credit: ng_forever28

This is a cool portrait using a wide-angle lens, but what I like the most about the image is that the model’s clothing looks similar to the pietra dura work in the Taj Mahal.

If you look just above the alcove arches you see similar designs and colors to what the model is wearing. This makes her stand out a bit more as if they are matching like a couple might do on Halloween.

23. Getting Creative in Photoshop

Credit: nick.freeman.photo

There are endless possibilities for making unique images of the Taj Mahal using Photoshop.

Here’s one example by nick.freeman.photo which makes it appear like he was camped out here to shoot a long-exposure shot of the star trails. He also adds in lights to the minaret which take me back to when the palaces near here might have been inhabited and someone may have lit those minarets at night.

Of course, that’s not possible but it gives it a very cool effect.

Add in the reflection in the pool of these and it’s a fun image to look at that shows us something I’ve never seen before of the Taj.

24. Use Your Hand

Credit: siddhesh_dalvi_

This is a simple technique anyone can do and I like that it adds some personality to the photo.

People tend to prefer photographs with a person. By outstretching your hand or making a gesture you can give the image a more personal snapshot which can be good for Instagram or your blog.

This is one option for how to hold your hand as if you are picking up the Taj. Of course, there are many more:

  • Holding the point on top
  • Putting one finger on the bottom and another on the top as if you could squash it
  • Holding your arm and hand to the side as if you are a magician saying, “voila!”

25. Use Heart-Shaped Hands

Credit: dream_india_trip

Another idea for using your hands to make an image unique would be to make a heart image in front of the camera. You could modify this with a subject by putting your romantic partner in the center with the Taj Mahal…

Maybe this would hint at the origin story of the monument and how a powerful emperor built this for his favorite wife.

26. Explore the Surroundings

Credit: mchlgonzales

It’s a risk to be at the Taj Mahal but not take a photograph showing its familiar building. But if you’re going to get a creative photograph you may have to take some risks.

There are a number of buildings on the grounds of the Taj that could make for fantastic photographs.

In this image, the light is captured as it streams through the doorway giving the photo a wonderful balance between dark and light. The couple looks natural and this could be a candid shot of strangers. Or it could appear like one and actually be a posed shot of this couple.

If you were taking more, you could pose the couple in different ways, having them both look at the camera. Or you could have them look towards the Taj and show how they may be seeing it for the first time.

27. Make a Collage

Credit: makeup143pari

If you enjoy looking at collages and want something completely different, this is an image you have probably never seen before.

The choice to use a sequin texture on the Taj is a relevant and dramatic choice. The way it was executed works too as you can still see the details of the building.

This shot could have been totally created in Photoshop as the sky behind the building looks like it was added as if in a green screen.

I like what this image says and it’s definitely creative. What’s most fun is that it gives me other ideas for ways you could make a collage style image of the Taj.

28. Closeup Portraits with the Pietra Dura

Credit: Chloe Sarasola from Nashoha.be

Considering how beautiful the Taj Mahal is, it’s tempting to only try to capture the whole building.

However, the inlaid semi-precious stones in the white marble have so many beautiful designs that offer countless opportunities for backgrounds for portraits.

If you were advertising your fashion company or had a fashion blog, this type of shot would focus on the clothes.

29. Sit on a Bench

Credit: moorvr

I love the subject’s dress in this shot and her pose is possible, because she’s sitting on a bench. She’s actually in the Mehta Bagh complex across the Yamuna River, but there are also benches on the Taj Mahal grounds that you could try this pose with.

I also think that the trees above her do a great job of framing the photograph and it’d be less strong if there was only sky above her.

If I’m being picky, it’d be nice to remove the fence, that distracts from the Taj Mahal. The photographer could also stand a little more to the right, so that the subject is on the left side of the Taj and appears to be looking at it, instead of blocking it.

30. Interesting Foreground Elements

Credit: areacode

Here’s another shot in the Mehta Bagh complex across the Yamuna River. I love the spade-shaped cement row leading your eye to the Taj with cool textures. The woman in her saree also makes for an interesting foreground element.

The mist or fog around the Taj Mahal takes this photo over the top as it holds the color very well.


If you’re looking to take creative images at the Taj Mahal, then I hope this post inspired you!

If you are looking for more concrete tips, I wrote a long post with my exact budget for a two-week trip in India. I also included a free tool you could use to plan your budget for your coming trip.

Benjamin Jenks

Traveler, Filmmaker, and Lover of India. I've been living, writing and sharing what I've learned about traveling in India since 2018. Learn more about me here or Youtube.

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