Budapest is a fascinating city and that is becoming more and more popular among travelers.
Some purposes that many people travel to Budapest are proposal in romantic places such as Fisherman's Bastion, Parliament view, Gellert Hill or Chain Bridge. Also many stylish solo and couple travelers prefer the Liberty Bridge or Jewish District for ambient photo, or a fancy album at New York Café. They are all great ideas but there are a couple of things to consider while planning taking photos in those locations.
As a photographer in Budapest I had over 100 guests from 20+ countries in 2019. If I can say one thing that everybody wants is "Beautiful locations with less crowd". That makes great sense. You don't want to go to a place where you've always seen on instagram with pretty ladies with beautiful dresses, lovely couples with a wide angle and... you go there and there are 1000 people; all taking photos & selfies and there is no way you can have a photo of yourself without someone else. Unfortunately it is not always possible to remove everyone in each photo either...
Luckily I am able to give you some suggestions about what time to be where for the best lights. You can make your daily schedule according to this. I am also going to make a list where NOT to be at what time :) Also I am going to teach you how to calculate the best hours everyday.
I have prepared an all day plan where to take photos in Budapest what time. You will also find an image to make it easier :)
Let's get started with the morning.
The key to photos with backlit and magical feeling is to wake up early. The easiest way to calculate it is to check the sunrise time on your phone and add 45 mins. That's exactly when you want to take photos with the rising sun. So let's make a calculation for June 15. The sunrise in Budapest that day is at 4:45 AM so at 5:30 you will get the best photos with the sunrise. It can extend till 7 but remember the earlier the better :)
5:30 AM at Fisherman's Bastion - clear sky
6:10 AM at Fisherman's Bastion - partly cloudy sky
6:40 AM Parliament background from Pest side in September
3 photos above are taken around 30-60 mins after the sunrise time and as you can see the lights are still very soft and it gives a magical feeling.
After the "golden" dawn hours it is still possible to take good photos if your photographer is experienced with these sort of conditions. Some examples below will show you morning photos with sharper lights.
7:40 AM at Fisherman's Bastion
7:30 AM at FIsherman's Bastion, couple in the shade
As you can see the angle of the sun changes and therefore the amount of light that comes into the photo. Shadows are darker and longer, you may have to squint your eyes a little bit if you are in the sun.
This said I would like to share a list of places I suggest taking photos at early morning (Sunrise - up to 2 hours after):
1. Fisherman's Bastion
2. Buda Castle with Panorama
3. Chain Bridge or Liberty Bridge from Buda side
4. Gellert Hill
5. Batthyany Square (with Parliament View from Buda side)
Noon, around noon.
I don't suggest to take any photos in the locations that I mentioned above except for the morning. That doesn't mean don't take photos if you go there though :) I just want to tell you a few reasons why you may not have as good photos as you can take in the morning:
- Tourist groups: The first groups arrive at 8 AM. Sometimes there are smaller walking groups earlier than that too, but they usually don't stand for long, they walk on. However the groups that come by bus will spend a good amount of time to walk around and take photos. They will take photos where photographers take photos (good spots), take your photos (yes they do, especially if you have a nice outfit they like taking photos of my models and clients...) or they will be in the same frame as you. There are times that I remove them in the photoshop but I am not able to do it in every photo I edit :)
- Sunlight: Here I am not talking about what I already explained above, but the light in the background. Around early afternoon the sun moves towards Buda side and leaves Fisherman's Bastion and Buda Castle panorama terraces in shade. So you as my model will be in shade and beautiful Budapest view will be bright. That means one thing: Overexposed background. Especially traveler album preparation or elopement, pre-marriage, romance photos are more about candidness and emotions. So I prefer using natural light instead or setting up a mini studio around you or taking HDR photos. Hence this time of the day is not ideal for the above list. When to take photos here if you missed the morning? Maybe just before 10-11..
Don't worry, there are more of amazing spots in Budapest. Here comes the afternoon / sunset list:
1. Parliament and Danube shore (Pest)
2. Chain Bridge (Pest side) with Buda Castle and Fisherman's background
3. Liberty Bridge (Pest)
Here are some examples:
Proposal Photoshoot 2 hours before sunset, Parliament, Pest side
Just during sunset from Parliament, Fisherman's Bastion in the background
So here is the summary... Budapest is fantastic, You can and you should take may photos everywhere and at any time you want. These are just small tips from a professional after 100+ sessions a year. :)
I also prepared a small image to show you. Some of us are more visual minded :)