Capture the details within the arcades
Cardiff has the highest concentration of Edwardian, Victorian and contemporary arcades out of all the UK cities. There are over 100 independent shops and cafes within the arcades, many of which are very photogenic; there are colourful racks of vinyl at Spillers, stacks of board games at Rules of Play, vintage clothes and retro patterns at Sobeys and Hobo’s and much more to discover elsewhere.
Enjoy photographing the period features that form the structures of the shopfronts, balconies and street entrances. If you’re visiting near Christmas, the winter decor in the arcades is stunning. Twinkling fairy lights trail along the vaulted ceilings, oozing wintery atmosphere and providing backlighting to portraits.
Direct your creativity at Wales Millennium Centre
The unmissable Wales Millennium Centre building has put Cardiff Bay on the cultural map. Its striking architecture begs to be photographed; sweeping bronze curves of light-reflecting Welsh slate surround the building. The iconic cut-out letters on the front of the building will inspire generations of photographers for decades to come. Go inside to take a peek through one of the letter-shaped windows in the upstairs foyer, or take a selfie from beside the fountain in front of the centre.
Balance the landscapes of Roath Park
In the middle of Roath Park lies its most photographed landmark: the white lighthouse. It's a permanent memorial to Captain Scott and the crew members of S.S Terra Nova, who sailed from Cardiff in 1910 and died in the Antarctic in 1912. The lighthouse features three tiers, a clock face and a wind vane in the shape of the Discovery, Scott's ship from his 1901-1904 Antarctic expedition.
It stands tall out of the water at the front of the lake, almost as though it’s calling out to be the central focus of a photo. Shoot it face-on from the lakeside path, or use it for background interest in photos of the boat stores, gaggles of geese and water birds. Further along, the conservatory is packed with exotic plants and water animals, ideal if you’re after rich backgrounds or candid-looking tourist photos of you walking around.
Embrace opulence and prominence at Cardiff Castle
As the architectural behemoth at the centre of the capital city, Cardiff Castle commands attention. The exterior provides plenty of inspiration, be that from Castle Street looking over towards the castle entrance gate or looking out from the grass-carpeted quad towards the flags.
Climb the keep to get panoramic views over the city and surrounding areas (on a clear day you might see Castell Coch, the sister castle in Tongwynlais). Alternatively, head inside the castle on a tour to see some of the elaborately decorated rooms - think extravagant ceiling murals, animals carved into dark wooden furniture and gilded fixtures for starters.
Play with nature's colours in Bute Park
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to focal points in Bute Park. The flower beds are very well maintained all year round, so there is always colour at ground level. The champion trees in the park, which are among the biggest and best of their kinds in the UK, provide interest up towards the skyline. Follow the trails to let nature capture your imagination.
Along the river, which divides the park, you’ll find birds and river wildlife, hedgerows of blackberries and buffering shallows along the banks. The bridges that cross the river are often photographed; try the red Millennium Bridge near the Summerhouse kiosk or Blackweir Bridge and its tumbling weir.
Frame the liveliness of Cardiff Market
A feast for all the senses, Cardiff Market is an Instagrammer's dream. Wander around the stalls to find mouthwatering food waiting to be papped, florists with fresh blooms that make perfect backdrops and the general hustle and bustle of the city down the aisles of stalls. Go upstairs to get a shot of the market from above. The Victorian architecture will frame your photos perfectly.
Find a perfect snapshot of Principality Stadium
If you’re not lucky enough to have a ticket to an event at Principality Stadium when you visit, you can still enjoy its majesty from the outside. Capture the way in which it fills your view as you emerge from Quay Street onto Westgate Street. Alternatively, head to Fitzhamon Embankment on a Sunday morning to shoot the stadium from across the River Taff. The colourful canopies of the market stalls from Riverside Farmers Market will brighten up the foreground.