We’ve been sent thousands of photos of Portsmouth and Southsea over the years — so many, in fact, that we started a monthly photography competition to highlight the work of local photographers.
I figured it was high time we wrote up a few lists of cool photo opportunities, starting with some of the common shooting spots across the island. Cameras at the ready.
The Spinnaker Tower
Three decks, beautiful panoramic views across Portsmouth and the Solent to the Isle of Wight, and an expanse of busy harbour waters always full of frame-filling boats — heading up the Spinnaker Tower is an ideal opportunity for getting some shots.
You can also take advantage of the views to pick out some other places to shoot!
It’s an especially astounding vantage point during Solent-bound sailing events, or when large Royal Navy ships come in and out.
Hot Walls and Old Portsmouth
There are centuries of history to be captured in Old Portsmouth, and some exciting juxtapositions against the modern backdrops of the Spinnaker Tower and the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters.
Cobblestoned side-streets, weathered stonework, and a pebble-laden beach make for some fantastic stretches of texture.
Victoria Pier offers up some captivating lead-in lines and perspective shots, and the raised Hot Walls and Round Tower are perfect for long-exposure nighttime or dusk shots of boats and ferries slipping in and out of the harbour.
Eastney and Langstone Harbour
The stony textures of the beach meet the green of the plant life at Eastney Beach. Around Langstone Harbour, there are loads of half-submerged nautical structures out in the water, plus a blanket of boats bobbing up and down, just waiting to be snapped.
Southsea Beach is the place for sunsets. There are plenty of shapely structures and objects along the seafront, like South Parade Pier, stray driftwood, and the crashing, foaming whitecaps of incoming waves.
Get low at the water’s edge at sundown, rein in your focal point, and capture sharp pictures of the pinky-orange dusk hues igniting the ripples.
Southsea Castle and Castle Field
This area is a stunner — especially the flowers of Brian Kidd Way. Southsea Castle is beautiful during the day and by night, and there’s a brilliant vantage point across the Solent from atop the battlements beside the castle.
There’s also the Southsea Bandstand just next door for live music photography during the summer months, or intricate textured shapes year-round.
City Centre and Southsea Shopping
It may not be your first thought of a photo opportunity, but Portsmouth City Centre makes a great place for street photography and urban portraiture. Try shooting from the hip, and make use of the unusual architecture. There are many great events happening in the city so have a go at shooting them too!
The swans! Everyone loves a swan photo. Just be careful not to annoy them while you’re taking their oh-so flattering portraits. Try switching over to a longer lens to give them some space, and to get a unique depth to your picture.
Just next door is the butterfly house at Portsmouth Natural History Museum, and the Rose Gardens, too, so there are loads of opportunities around the lake to snap some colour. The beach huts, too.
Get the whole city on camera! Whether it’s sunrise, midday, or nighttime, Portsdown Hill is a brilliant photo opportunity. You can grab a burger from Mick’s famous van, and then use the city as your subject, or as a backdrop while you shoot portraits, nature shots, or even product pictures.
Milton doesn’t get as much photographic love as it should. Take a stroll along the waterline, meet more swans and plenty of others birds, explore the textures along the beach and mud paths, and look out for colours among the flowers, trees, and fields.
You can stroll up to the Great Salterns Recreation Ground, too, for more nature.