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Through The Lens Of… Kivanc Alp, Portrait Photographer in Turkey

These days, travel photography is almost as important as travel itself, so it’s never a bad idea to level up your camera skills. And, who better to ask for tips than professional photographer, Kivanc Alp? The Izmir-based Turkish native is no stanger to globetrotting, having visited 45 countries and counting. We caught up with him in Alacati, Turkey, to get his favourite photography spots, tips on the best times to shoot and where he’s planning to go next.

Tell us about yourself!

My family is from Izmir – I studied business in university but left the corporate world to become a professional photographer. I’ve been interested in photography since I was a child, as my father had an analogue camera that I took my first shots with. In university, I joined some photography clubs and after graduation, I went through more training, workshops and eventually, started exhibiting in Istanbul.

Source: Kivanc Alp

What do you love most about being a photographer?

The experience of meeting new people from different cultures and backgrounds. We not only make long-lasting friendships, but get to see the world from different perspectives.

What kind of photography do you currently specialise in?

In the past, I’ve participated in street photography exhibitions in London, Skopje and Istanbul. However, in recent years, I have been focusing more on portrait photography. I often do solo or group shots in and around İzmir. 

Source: Kivanc Alp

For me, the most important thing in photography is getting to know the person I will photograph, and being able to take personalised photos in a way that suits his/her personality.

What are five of your favourite photo spots in Izmir? 

1. Konak Square & Old Bazaar

Source: Kivanc Alp

The iconic clock tower is photogenic all year round. In addition, the narrow streets of the authentic old bazaar and the hidden caravans are also great for portraits.

Tip: It’s usually very crowded here, so visit during the early hours of the day to get the best light.

2. Alacati

Source: Kivanc Alp

Effortlessly cool, Alacati is one of the best places to visit in Turkey with amazing architecture, vineyards, windsurfing, windmills and crystal blue seas. It’s also great for photography with its narrow streets lined with stone houses, stylish cafes and bars with colourful bougainvilleas, and a mosque in the main square that used to be a Greek church.

Tip: Don’t miss the chance to take photos at Delilikoy, which is famous for its white rocks, and Ilıca Beach, which is also 10 minutes north and enchants with its turquoise waters. 

3. Alsancak

Source: Kivanc Alp

Known as “little Paris”, Alsancak runs parallel to the coast and the beginning stretch of the Kordon – the pedestrian strip of coastline with jogging paths and rental bikes that is lined with cafes and restaurants. The back streets of Alsancak also offer many chances for photography in terms of perspective, angle and ambiance.

Tip: Shoot during the golden hours of the afternoon, especially on the coastline of Kordon.

4. Historical Elevator & Dario Moreno Street

Source: Kivanc Alp

The Historical Elevator, which was built in 1907 to connect the upper and lower quarters, is located in the old Jewish quarter. At the bottom entrance of the elevator, old Jewish houses, a synagogue and Dario Moreno street greet you. When you go up, the magnificent view of Izmir Bay welcomes you. This place is perfect for both taking panoramic photos and spending romantic moments.

Tip: Come in the afternoon and take pictures both before and after sunset. In this way, you can take shots of the view of Izmir and the bay full of lights.

5. Foca

Source: Kivanc Alp

Foca is not only one of the most beautiful towns in Izmir – it’s also one of the most beautiful places to take pictures. When you come here, you will see a typical small Mediterranean fishing town with boats on the beach, fishermen, historical stone houses in the back streets, windmills, and a statue of the rooster, which is the symbol of the city.

Tip: Come to Foca for the most beautiful view of the sunset, especially on cloudy days. 

What tips do you have for taking a good travel photo?

There are two main things to keep in mind for travel photography: one, get up early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to capture the morning light. Second, let yourself get lost in the streets and talk to the locals for recommendations. 

Do you have a favourite camera and/or shooting equipment?

I have been using Nikon cameras for many years. For the lens, I use an f1.4 50mm lens for portrait shots, both to achieve better results in low light and to create a blurred background.

Finally, what’s on your bucket list?

I have visited 45 countries so far, but the places I want to go most and photograph in the future are Norway with its magnificent fjords and northern lights, India, the land of colourful festivals, and Hong Kong and Singapore, the two destinations I’d like to go to in the Far East.

Learn more about Kivanc at

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