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Forbidden City Photography Tour

Forbidden City is not only grand, but also delicately designed and decorated to every detail. When visiting it, you must seize the chance to take some attracting photos.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing

Recommended Route for a Forbidden City Photography Tour

There isn’t a fixed route. One can take good pictures at almost every palace and hall. But an unsatisfied point is that the Forbidden City is so popular that other tourists always appear in your camera. So the essence of taking beautiful pictures of / with the Forbidden City is to avoid other tourists in your camera.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing

How to Avoid Other Tourists in Your Photos  

1. Go along the west or east wings. The central axis is always full of visitors. From the less-touristy two wings, you can take pictures of the main palaces and halls on the central axis from their side. The front side or 45° side are the best angles. 

2. If you plan to photo the front side of the main palaces and halls, go there in the early morning just after it is opened or in the late afternoon before it is closed. This is the best way to avoid the crowds. The opening time of the Forbidden City is 08:30 and the close time is 17:00 from April to October and 16:30 from November to March. One more thing, to take grand photos of the grand palaces from its front, you must make the architecture horizontal and vertical in your camera and low-angle is a better point of shooting. 

3. Go to the palaces or halls less visited. For instance, in the Qianlong Garden, there is a secluded courtyard but with beautiful photography background of rockeries, pavilions, and covered corridor. 

4. Take close-up photos. You may use doors, windows, red walls, white stone terraces, stone pillars and more as the background, because they are all carefully made and some can only be seen in the imperial palace.  

Treasures in Forbidden City, Beijing

Best Clothes to Wear

The predominant colors of the Forbidden City is red and yellow, so you’d better get dressed in other colors in case of integrating into the background. The clothes in strong color contrast with red and yellow is recommended, like those in white, dark green, and cloisonne blue. Black clothes is also a good choice, but it requires good photography shills; otherwise, the photos may be too dark.

The Forbidden City itself is in bright colors, so your clothes should better be in less colors instead of being colorful. 

Another nice option is to photo with the imperial palace in traditional Chinese clothes, like you are an imperial member living inside. You can either buy a suit of the clothes or rent one. Many photography galleries in Beijing offer the rental service. There is one right outside the East Gate of the royal palace. 

Most Popular Shooting Sites

1. Top of Jingshan Hill: Jingshan Hill is to the north of the Forbidden City in Jingshan Park. Standing on its top, you can take panoramic photos of the Forbidden City.  

2. On Palace Walls: Climb onto the walls circling the palace, you can take some nice photos from high-angles. This point of shooting can also make the photos have stronger layering effects. 

3. By the moat outside the Corner Towers: Corner Towers are popular landmarks of the Forbidden City and many photographers like to take photos of them. Among the four Corner Towers, the northeast and northwest ones are the most-often seen on photos. 

Best Weather to Photo Forbidden City

Sunny days with bright blue sky are the best. Avoid overcast days. Besides, after snowing, you can take some solemn photos of the palace in white background. 

Tips about Postures

Do not look at the camera all the time. Looking up to the sky, looking down to think, and turning around with a smile are all good postures. If you have a travel companion, interacting with him or her with eyesight on each other will make the photos livelier. 


To protect the historical relics and other tourists, it is prohibited to use flashing light, tripod and selfie stick inside any palace and hall of the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City, Beijing

 More Routes: 

2-Hour Visit to Forbidden City along the Central Axis

Half-Day Visit to Forbidden City

One-Day Visit to Forbidden City
Memorable Itinerary with Forbidden City:
Best Beijing: 4 Days to Forbidden City, Badaling Great Wall, Summer Palace...
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