Travel Photographers and Writers Share Top Tips for Capturing Moments #SeenInSuzhou

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Suzhou’s picturesque water towns, classical gardens, and local life are ready for visual exposure

#SeenInSuzhou -Shantang Street Captured by Matt Payne Photography

#SeenInSuzhou -Shantang Street Captured by Matt Payne Photography

Suzhou's 2,500 year-old past invites shutterbugs to capture its unrivaled cultural experiences, must-visit tourism attractions, and local customs through a unique lens.

Dubbed “Venice of the East” by Marco Polo, Suzhou’s elegant canals, picturesque water towns, UNESCO-designated classical gardens, and traditional Chinese architecture set the scene for a photographer’s paradise. Steeped in history, the city’s 2,500 year-old past invites shutterbugs to capture its unrivaled cultural experiences, must-visit tourism attractions, and local customs through a unique lens, capturing moments in time that will remind travelers of their visit to Suzhou for years to come.

A number of travel photographers who have visited Suzhou in recent years have plenty of tips to share for travelers seeking the perfect shot:

“Having a camera opens so many doors. In my case, it opened up gardens, teahouses, and silk factories. We were able to go behind the scenes, meet those who are continuing Suzhou’s ancient tradition in the modern world and speak with so many locals through on-camera interviews.” – Kelley Ferro, On-air Travel Expert & Filmmaker

“The culture and experiences are so different from what you’d expect. Keep an open mind and try new things. I never thought I’d find something to photograph when going to an opera, but it ended up being one of the most fascinating experiences we had in Suzhou, and we came away with great shots.” – Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil, The Planet D

“Taking photos in Suzhou allowed me to dive deeper into the local culture. I was able to learn more about its rich history with textiles, gardening, craftsmanship, and more, all from behind a lens.” – Stacey Leasca, Freelance Journalist & Professor

“Try to truly feel the destination and what is happening around you. It will help you freeze the moments in time more beautifully by paying attention to the little things that happen in the daily life of the locals in Suzhou. ” – Nastasia Yakoub, Founder of Dame Traveler

“Have your camera ready at all times. You never know what you may find around the next corner. I enjoyed capturing hidden moments, the joy of tasting local foods, and finding something new. It’s a very different culture from my own, so it was wonderful to capture moments of learning which is the true essence of travel.” – Stacey Leasca

“I find that photography brings people together. Locals are interested in looking at the photos we are taking, and local photographers are interested in chatting about gear and locations. When shooting sunset at the Chaozong Pavilion, a local photographer set up his tripod beside mine and we compared photos.” – Dave and Deb, The Planet D

“A good photograph immediately transports the viewer right to that destination, making them feel like they are there in that moment.” – Nastasia Yakoub

“To me, a good photo is one that tells a story. I think of it in three parts. You need nice light - mornings and evenings, a beautiful setting, and most importantly, something happening in that setting. I went to Panmen Gate Park to take a photo with the morning light. There, the pagodas and the ponds certainly created a sense of place, but when the morning sun seemed to land on a couple joyfully slow-dancing under one of the park’s pavilions, I knew I had the shot I wanted.” – Matt Payne, Matt Payne Travel Photography

“What makes a good travel photograph is one that captures the spirit of a destination. It doesn’t have to be perfectly composed or taken on a fancy camera. Instead, a great travel photo is one you can simply look at and understand a place just through this one visual.” – Stacey Leasca

For more beautiful photography, follow each of expert on Instagram: Nastasia Yakoub, Stacey Leasca, Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil, Matt Payne, and Kelley Ferro.

For more expert tips and photo inspiration, visit The photography tips are part of the recently launched #SeenInSuzhou campaign designed to showcase Suzhou’s culture, heritage, and tourism experiences through visual activations. Travelers can follow the campaign and related events via Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter (@VisitSuzhou) and share their photos using the campaign hashtag #SeenInSuzhou and destination hashtag #TravelSuzhou for the chance to be featured on the destination’s Instagram stories.

EDITOR NOTE: High resolution images taken from the experts above are available for download here.

About Suzhou
Suzhou, the "Venice of China," is known for its elegant stone bridges, canals, flowing water, and noteworthy architecture. Located in the center of the Yangtze River Delta, approximately 60 miles west of Shanghai, Suzhou is one of the oldest cities in the Yangtze Basin dating back more than 2,500 years. The city boasts the beautifully manicured Classical Gardens of Suzhou, nine of which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each year, millions of tourists travel to Suzhou to experience the destination’s more than 400 attractions, ranging from pagodas and temples to historical districts and world-class museums. As the largest industrial city in China, Suzhou continues to develop, such as the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), which boasts five-star hotels, the iconic Lake Jinji, and China’s largest overwater Ferris wheel.

Travel to Suzhou is easily accessible via three convenient area airports with non-stop flights from North America: Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) offers bullet train service to Suzhou, which is approximately a 50-mile, 30-minute trip; Pudong International Airport (PVG) is approximately 65 miles from Suzhou, an hour and half drive; and Sunan Shuofang International Airport (WUX) is approximately 14 miles from Suzhou, a 30-minute drive.

For more information on Suzhou, please visit

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