This detailed photography guide to the Dolomites shares our top spots we photographed while visiting. The area has a stunning range of mountain peaks to turquoise lakes to capture, and we had some of the best early mornings capturing it all.
Photography in the Dolomites can be challenging as the light changes year round. The hardest part is definitely finding these locations, so we wanted to share a guide to not only capturing these incredible places but how to get to them too.
Here’s a look at our detailed photography guide to the Dolomites and where you can’t miss in South Tyrol.
*Head here for the full travel guide to the Dolomites.
A Detailed Photography Guide to the Dolomites
Best Equipment for Photography in the Dolomites
We showed up with a limited amount of lenses and wished we had brought a few more. We primarily shot on our Sony A7RIII + 24-70 f/4 lens. This setup was perfect for closer-to shots but majorly prohibited us from taking the longer range shots. The second lens I wish we would have had was a 70-200m with even a multiplier. Other equipment you should have on you is a sturdy tripod (not the travel kind due to winds), and a headlamp for those treks in the dark. I always carry a few filters for my 24-70mm, like a polarizer and a protector. I would also bring a cleaning set as well.
Camera Bag list:
- Camera Bag by Incase
- Sony A7R111
- Sony A7II
- 24-70 f/4
- 24mm f/1.8
- Filters (polarizer + clear protector)
- Cleaning Kit
Our favorite locations in the Dolomites to Photograph
Location: Val di Funes – Santa Maddalena view.
Best time of day: Golden hour.
Getting there: Follow directions to this parking location. You’ll need to walk up the road a bit as there is limited parking. I’d get there at least an hour before sunset as the peaks will change in light.
Notes: One of the best spots in the area, it’s really fairytale-like. A zoom lens is needed for this shot.
Location: Lago di Braies
Best time of day: Sunrise (year-round).
Getting there: It’s one of the easier spots to get to. Drive the road into Lago di Braies, park by the Hotel Lago di Braies in the lot. On some early mornings, the parking will be free but normally you have to pay. From the lot, it is a five minute, flat walk to the lake.
Notes: It gets really crowded here, even in off season. I’d recommend getting there first thing and setting up a camera. Some risks are fog coming in, but I think it adds to the moodiness of the photo. Also good to know that the hut is closed off to the public before 10 am when it opens for boat rentals, though you’ll see a few wade over in the water to get the shot.
Location: Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui
Best time of day: Later in the day and golden hour. Depends on visibility.
Getting there: Google maps will take you right to the road, you can park on the side, and then walk up to the viewing platform.
Notes: It’s good to know that you can’t always walk up on the pasture, sometimes the farmer closes it off. Be respectful of his land as he has made note that if there’s too many people walking on it, he will close it off permanently. You can still get great shots from the road.
Best time of day: Sunrise/early morning or sunset.
Getting there: You can take the gondola from Ortisei (30 euro RT per person) for the most direct option, though you won’t be able to make it for sunrise. To take sunrise or sunset shots, you either have to hike in the dark for 4 hours or so, or stay overnight in the rifugio at the top.
Notes: You can still get great shots early in the morning or even late afternoon if you can’t stay overnight. Bring proper gear to hike around as you’ll need good footing on the side of the hill.
Location: Tre Cime di Lavaredo (photo of the three peaks)
Best time of day: Sunset or sunrise.
Getting there: Drive to Rifugio Auronzo where you can park (17 euros to enter the area) and then hike out towards the church called Cappella degli Alpini or direction Rifugio Lavaredo. You can play around with the angle you want to take of the peaks.
Notes: The ideal setup would be to stay overnight but you can easily make this walk in the morning, taking about an hour or so to get behind the peaks to photograph them. There’s really not a bad angle of the peaks. We were unlucky and had a ton of fog but it was still beautiful.
Location: Those other peaks at Tre Cime
(Famous IG spot of the Cadini Group Peaks)
Best time of day: Sunrise for the peaks to be lit up with light, or even light.
Getting there: Oh what a pleasure it is to find this place. You park at Rifugio Auronzo in Tre Cime, and directly out in front is the Cadini Group peaks. You take the trail right outside that drops down in the direction of the peaks, it takes about 45 minutes to get there. See the photo below, follow that trail where the pin is dropped:
Notes: You’ll need a zoom lens to really capture this properly, like a 70-200. We shot on our 24-70 and struggled to get what we wanted. Be careful hiking out to the little point, it’s incredibly steep on both sides and not recommended for anyone who has a fear of heights or vertigo.
Location: Lago di Sorapis
Best time of day: Early morning.
Getting there: Park at Son Zuogo and make a 2 hour or so hike out to the lake (4 hours or so roundtrip). Be sure to follow signs as the trail has a few splits. Google maps will take you in the right direction.
Notes: It can be grueling hike on the tail end as you ascend the cliff. It’s sheer drops but there are ropes to hang onto. After that, it’s easy once up at the lake level. You can even stay in the rifugio up at the top overnight if you want to do sunrise/sunset.
Location: Alpe di Suisi
Best time of day: Sunrise.
Getting there: If you’re not staying overnight at a hotel, you cannot access the road. You’ll need to park at Compatsch at lot P2, and walk the road to Adler LODGE Hotel (the spot is right under the hotel, or up a bit pending the angle you want. It’s the main road, you really can’t miss it. Allow 45-55 minutes to get up to the spot.
Notes: The light coming into the valley is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Bump your f-stop to 14-17 to capture the rays.