5 Tips for An Epic Guilin Photography Adventure

A river in Guilin China with the sunset and peaks in the background

Guilin’s rich history dates back to over 300 years B.C. The topography, culture and heritage that have drawn visitors from all over the world, continue to do so today. The old world landscapes mingled with the spirit of new generations mark Guilin as a photographer’s dream. If you are a photographer touring China, this might be your golden ticket.

Keep reading for 5 tips for Guilin Photography:

5 Tips for Photographing Guilin, China

Want to capture Guilin in pictures that are as breathtaking as the hills and faces that you find there?

Here are 5 tips for Guilin photography that will help you get your best shot:

 1. Use a variety of film or color processing to develop color as well as black and white images

Guilin has beautiful mists, clouds that are amazing in black and white, so consider the subject matter and conditions, plan to take a section of the landscape, draw your viewer in.

If you are capturing still shots of landscapes or historical places, film that produces rich color might give viewers the best perspective, other times the epic nature of Guilin’s landscape, featuring rivers, bamboo, amazing textures, and towering peeks, mean that it’s likely you could overwhelm a viewer with too much.

If you are photographing people, close up black and white pictures sometimes convey the emotion behind their facial expression, and help the viewer focus on light. Thinking about this as you shoot helps you keep shooting, and change tact.


2. Sign up for a specialist photography tour of Guilin

Guided photography tours led by experts that include native residents, tribal people, are available for keen photographers and those just learning their camera.

These tours are worth the expense, especially if you are limited on time or unsure of your itinerary or directions.

If you are new to photography, a photo guide not only helps you get to amazing places, but many offer tips to help you take the best shot.

3. Research the area and plan ahead

Guilin is famous for its natural beauty and unique landscapes but you might miss the most breathtaking spots if you fail to adequately research and plan your trip.

Check out renowned photo opportunities well in advance. Map their locations and plan your route so that you make the best use of your time while visiting.

Some of the spots that you might want to consider photographing include:

  • Elephant Trunk Hill
  • Li River
  • Reed Flute Cave
  • Solitary Beauty Peak
  • LaoJiu Hill
  • Xianggong Mountain
  • Wave-Subduing Hill
  • Yulong River Yangshuo
  • Rural mountains that need a guide

4. Mix with the locals

The landscape is only one aspect of Guilin that is photo-worthy. While you are visiting, you will also want to photograph the local people who live there.

The people can tell the story of what life is like in Guilin. They offer a different type of photo opportunities that you won’t want to miss.

You can also visit places that display art and photography to get a better sense of the culture and people.

You can do somethings without language, but it’s hard to get awesome photos without a translator that’s a real people person, so pick your guide wisely.

4. Come prepared

Make sure that you are fully prepared, not only for your trip but also for photographing great shots.

It’s important to purchase everything that you will need before you go, you don’t want to risk buying fake stuff in Chinese camera shops, and you won’t want to spend your time searching for somewhere to purchase film or batteries while you are there. Most important! – The area I was shooting in Guilin was all in rural areas about 1.5 hours away from Guilin city, so buying kit would waste a good 3-4 hours round trip.

While you are touring, make sure that your camera is easily accessible to snap shots spontaneously, consider a walk about lens like a 24-70mm.

Wear comfortable shoes, pack snacks and water, and bring along extra supplies (such as film) so that you do not run out before the end of the day.


Guilin might be one of the top places in the world for photographers to get amazing pictures.

It has all of the right ingredients to produce some of the best photos that you may ever take, no matter your level of experience. Guilin will provide the subjects. All you have to do is get the location and take the shot.

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