This is a short article featuring a number of photographs taken with a Fuji X-T3 on the Island of Santorini in Greece. I have highlighted locations and maps for the images with additional information to help you discover these locations.
I stayed in the town of Imerovigli which is between Oia and Fira on the West side of the Island overlooking the Caldera. Santorini was once a fairly round shaped island until a huge volcanic eruption sank a high percentage of it below the sea.
The West side of Santorini is the location where the white walled houses and churches line the tops of 300m high volcanic cliffs connected by miles of narrow winding stairs.
I took around 2000 photographs with the Fuji X-T3 with a combination of JPG and RAW. I used the Fuji Velvia Film Simulation for the JPGs as this suits the bright whites and blues that Santorini is famous for.
At the time of writing Adobe Lightroom does not support Fuji X-T3 RAW files and I have been using a trial of Phase Ones Capture One Pro for RAW editing.
I’ll specify editing process and application used in the captions below each image in this article.
In all cases click on the image for a larger light-box version.
Fuji Velvia Film Simulation
Fuji are well known for their excellent Film Simulations and although I usually shoot pretty much 100% RAW, on this occasion I decided to shoot RAW+JPG Fine or in some cases only in JPG!
The shots below are examples of Fuji Velvia Film Simulation. In most cases these are straight from camera (via Adobe Lightroom for cataloguing)
Santorini has it’s share of stray cats but the ones I found seemed well fed and healthy
Anastasi Church, Imerovigili, Santorini
Do a Google Search for Santorini and you will be treated to a page of classic blue and white images. The many churches on the Island are pristine in their traditional white and blue colouring.
This is a photograph of the Anastasi Church in Imerovigli which is very photogenic and typical of Santorini.
It catches the light from both sunrise and sunset and is easily reached from the pathway that runs almost un-interrupted from Oia to Fira (Head up the stairs that are opposite to the trail that leads to Skaros Rock)
It’s a busy spot (especially around sunset) and in the case of this shot I needed to blend a couple of exposures together to clone out tourists.
I think that Anastasi is one of the better located churches for photography and is of itself a reason to consider staying in Imerovigli. Imerovigli is an attractive location with a number of good hotels and fine restaurants and notably is a lot quieter than either Oia or Fira.
Anastasi Church from the path above. There are compositions to be made from this wall and potentially from the roof of a room to the left of where this is taken. Take care when accessing the roofs. There are few railings or barriers. The area is popular for Parkour and a google search will show many references to this sport in Santorini and you can see why.
There is a handily located bougainvillea adjacent to the Church. I don’t think that it was at its peak at the time of my visit (mid October)
Little Church, Imerovigli
There is a small, hidden Church in Imerovigli that can be found down the path towards Skaros Rock. (It is just below the Grace Hotel)
This Church makes for interesting foreground interest and is perfectly well for sunsets throughout the year. It is not easy to avoid including the mass of Skaros Rock in a composition and you have a choice of how to approach the shot.
I’d recommend shooting bracketed and edit for a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. Utilising HDR you can keep some detail in Skaros rock and the winding steps to it’s summit.
Without HDR the Rock will Silhouette against the setting sun and while this is an option it is hard to avoid the top of Skaros from cutting across Therasia Island in the distance which is not ideal. I used a wide-angle lens (Fuji 10-24mm) to capture this scene.
Oia and Fira
I used the village of Imerovigli as a base on my trip. It is a 20 minute walk to the village of Fira where there are many shops and restaurants. It is busy with cruise ships off-loading passengers at the port below the cliffs.
I recommend taking a walk there and be sure to stop off at the Three Bells of Fira church. This is a busy and popular spot especially with visitors from China who gather here for their traditional Pre-Wedding Photoshoots in there hundreds.
The Port of Fira
The steps up from the port at Fira are steep and there are a number of donkeys available to hire should you wish (I would not) the donkeys and the weather worn owners are a good potential for Photography.
The Town of Oia
Oia, pronounced Ia, is the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its fantastic sunsets and is certainly the most beautiful and picturesque village of Santorini.
The village is situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular views over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Oia is situated on the north of the island, 11 km away from Fira.
Oia is a veritable mecca for photographers looking to bag a spectacular sunset and you can expect it to be elbow to elbow and tripod to tripod during golden hour. I didn’t visit Oia for sunset for that reason, preferring to locate in the far quieter Village of Imerovigli
Oia is very picturesque and there are photographs around every corner at any time of the day. Pristine White buildings, tourists browsing the local shops or models perched precariously on the roofs of Churches with long billowing dresses.
Windmills of Oia
These windmills will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen photographs of Santorini. They seem to appear in almost half of all photographs of Santorini. These can be photographed from Oia Castle with a standard lens. They are located perfectly for sunset which makes the relatively small area of the castle pretty busy at sunset so be aware.
Photography Guide to Santorini in summary
Santorini is a beautiful location where there are countless opportunities for memorable photography. It is justifiably famous for its sunsets but don’t forget about sunrise (especially as this is a quieter time of the day)
Be prepared for crowds around the classic view points especially at the ends of the day. I suggest planning your trip at the end of the season if possible. The weather in October remains warm and sunny and the crowds are thinning out. Look at staying in Imerovigli village where you will get the picturesque white houses and churches but with less crowding. I stayed in the Aqua Suites and the image below was taken from the balcony of the room!
Don’t be tempted to book a room with a view overlooking a classic scene... you will find that there is almost no place that photographers, models or Chinese Wedding Couples won’t clamber at all times of day and night :)
I own a camera drone (Parrot Anafi) and I was tempted to take this with me to Santorini. It is in fact it is not permitted to fly drones on the Island. That being said, there where a few drones buzzing around in Imerovigli. You should decide for yourself if you want to fly a drone but I’d ask you to try and avoid invading the privacy or spoiling the tranquility of the sunsets for your fellow visitors.
Santorini Photography Gallery
This is a gallery of the images featured. Please feel free to get in contact if you have any specific questions