Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Peru

Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Peru

Peru has an amazingly diverse geography. From deserts on the coast to lush jungle in the East and high altitude mountain environments in between, the country is wedged between the Amazon River and the Pacific Ocean in South America.

I thank the DPS readers who submitted not only their images, but helpful tips if you should decide to travel to Peru in the future.

This is the twelfth country we are covering in the reader fueled DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project.

If you would like to be involved in the next country’s post, drop me a line here.


Hillsides of Peru by Jeff Johnson

Description:On the road from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo, you will find beautiful scenery.

Tip: I took many pictures from the inside of a taxi with a fast shutter speed. This is one of them. You will find the weather changes rapidly, but frequently rains.

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Girl And Cat by Misty Neilsen

This girl and her cat were sunbathing when I caught them.  Many of the homes are reached through narrow entrances and alleyways and it pays to take a closer look at these areas.


Taxi by Bruno Santos

Those taxi there, asked for panning photos…. Slow shutter speed (those taxis aren’t fast), the right place to be at, smooth camera movement, and a lot trial and error to get the photo.

"Healing the Children" expedition to provide dental care in Peruvian Amazon villages

Untitled by Sergio Burani

The fauna is also gorgeous. You can benefit from a good telephoto lens – at least 200mm.

2. Uros, Peru paradise

Uros, Paradise by Patricia Reyna

Uros Floating Islands is a group of artificial islands on Lake Titicaca, made ??of reeds. The construction of these islands is ??by weaving the reeds and forming a natural layer on which they build their homes.

You can arrive to the place by using a boat.

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Aged beggar by Robyn Rose

This old man stood on a street corner in Huanchaco. He had a warm and gentle disposition. I gestured that I would like to take a photo of him and he was most obliging. I was happy to contribute some local currency for his time. TIP – Even though my Spanish is poor, with a smile and gesturing we managed to share a few minutes together and comfortably too. I am always nervous approaching strangers, as I never enjoy getting rejected. However if I smile, treat them politely and passively, then the rejection seem to hurt less! Of course the ones who allow you to take their photo seem so much more worth it after plucking up some courage to approach them and ask.

Arequipa convent

Arequipa Convent by Lori Sorrentino Photography

This convent in the colonial city of Arequipa is a photographer’s paradise, and one not too many travelers seem to visit in Peru. I spent an entire day in the convent, the size of a large city block, and could have spent more! It’s well worth the trip and traveling the 8 hours or so by bus to get there from Puno and Lake Titicaca.


Posing Llama by Jeff Johnson

Description: While in Machu Picchu, nearly ten llamas surprised us as they appeared from around a corner. This particular one was not camera-shy.

Tip: While atop Machu Picchu, it’s suggested that you have one lens that can zoom from 18mm to at least 250mm. Without such a luxury of a single multi-purpose lens, I was challenged with having to swap lenses frequently.

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Untitled by Misty Neilsen

While waiting for THE Machu Picchu photo, I decided that the partially fog covered shot was more interesting than the clear shot…and I still think so.

Coca Tea

Coca Tea by Bruno Santos

The traditional tea, served at the home stay.

"Healing the Children" expefition to provide dental care in Peruvian Amazon villages

Untitled by Sergio Burani

The children are beautiful. This little girl is playing “mother” to her brother. People are very available to being photographed, especially children. They expect a little money.

4. Playing the Pututo

Playing the Pututo by Patricia Reyna

This man of the Taquile island is playing a Pututo, an instrument made ??of seashells, which was used by the Quechua-speaking peoples in ancient times to call meetings or make announcements of something.

Taquile island is in the Titicaca Lake, and hundreds of tourists from all around the world visit this beautiful and interesting place.

Cusco   Machu Pichu (149)

Machu Pichu Security by Robyn Rose

These guards watch over and protect the sacred ground of Machu Pichu. The Wayna pichu looms overhead. TIP – To give a sense of the mist and clouds that were descending  all around us I converted to black and white.

Camera fun

Camera Fun by Lori Sorrentino Photography

The highlight of my trip was a homestay visit to the island of Amantani (Machu Picchu was great but this has it beat!). If you join a small tour from Puno, you can stay overnight with a local indigenous family and spend time learning about their culture. Part of our stay included a tour of their school. I met several of the young children who were so fascinated by my point-and-shoot camera. So I handed it to them and they had a ball taking photos of themselves with the reversing LED screen. Two of these little girls belonged to the family we stayed with, and these photos they took of themselves making faces and laughing at themselves are some of the most dear to me.


Proud Boy by Jeff Johnson

Description: In the city of Ollantaytambo, this hard-working young boy was spotted working away.

Tip: This photo was taken with a Canon Rebel T3 with the stock lens in the kit. I used the “Creative Auto” setting. While in Peru, explore the ruins of the mountain Pinkuylluna.

Feeding the Lama

Feeding the Lama by Bruno Santos

At the home stay in Ccaccallo, near Cusco, we had contact with some Lamas.

Tip: Making the Inca Trail is a must do in Peru. It’s hard, yes, but you can do it at your speed and arriving at Machu Pichu is a rewarding victory. But you have to be lucky do don’t get rain, cause the tropical forest is tricky.

Cusco   Machu Pichu (24)

View of Peru by Robyn Rose

The view from the Sacsayhuaman ruins. The high altitude and the ever changing cumulonimbus clouds create for dramatic photographs. TIP – I boosted contrast and used a graduated filter in Lightroom to darken the clouds and create a more ‘moody’ shot.

Hiking Huanya Picchu

Hiking Huayna Picchu by Lori Sorrentino Photography

We decided to hike the giant mountain you see in the background of all the shots of Machu Picchu, called Huayna or Wayna Picchu. The mountain is another 1000 ft higher and is not for the faint of heart, but is definitely worth it to get a different perspective looking down on the Machu Picchu site. Take a wide lens for the best images to capture the immense and wide never ending views!

Cusco   Machu Pichu (23)

City trawlers by Robyn Rose

These women and their alpacas roam the cobbled streets of Cusco trying to make a buck posing for photographs. The police are constantly chasing them away. TIP – This was taken in mid day where the light was harsh and created harsh shadows. I used a 480 EC Canon flash to create a more even light across the shot as well as desaturated the colours using Lightroom in order to induce a more uniformed look.

Cuzco woman

Cuzco Woman by Lori Sorrentino Photography

This is my favorite photo I took in Peru. This woman sat at the top of this hill at the base of the Christo Blanco (White Jesus) statue overlooking Cuzco, and was so gracious in letting me photograph her. The expression on her face is so intriguing and calm, as if she’s lived a thousand lifetimes.

Lastly, here’s my take of Machu Picchu as a time lapse as the morning clouds burned off:

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Peter West Carey leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics - A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

Some Older Comments

  • Daniel Camacho August 9, 2012 03:37 am

    Great pictures of a long tradirional culture the point is they have allways care for nature while we the civilized ones keep destroying everything in the name of development , great pictures of a culture we should all respect ans think about its points

  • Bob Cole August 6, 2012 04:47 am

    Sorry, when I wrote my prior message, I thought that my website was included. See my link above.

    Bob Cole

  • Pinaki August 5, 2012 03:16 pm

    I have a dream to go there, but dont know how...:(
    Such a wonderful place, specially Machu-Pichu.

  • Bob Cole August 4, 2012 02:34 pm

    Great images.

    Sorry that I missed out on the Peru project. You can see my photos from a recent trip to Peru at my website listed above. One of my favorite images is at my link below..


  • Sandra August 3, 2012 05:06 pm

    Great photos of Peru. I travelled there in February. I bought a basic Nikon for the trip and I really didn't know how to use it properly. I got some good photos, especially of the convent. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alex August 3, 2012 03:32 pm

    Went to Peru this january and I agree... It is one of the most beautiful spots I've ever seen. Had a local guide when going to Machu Picchu. Wonderful guy who took us behind Machu Picchu, on a Inca Trail to "The Inca Bridge". You have to sign in/out to walk that trail but it's really worth it!

  • Ratkellar August 3, 2012 03:36 am

    My guide books said it was "impossible" to take a bad pircture at Machu Picchu. Pay attention to the idea that locals expect payment for taking their picture -- and that made a nice cultural shot of persons reaching out to indicate the need for payment before the shot was taken (just because I held a camera in myt hands).
    The train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu also provides opportunities for good shots.

  • Paul Lambeth August 3, 2012 02:25 am

    Thankyou for posting these! Going to be there for a month and a half soon with my fiancee. Can´t wait.

  • Leo Edwards August 3, 2012 02:14 am

    Peru is def on the agenda as a place to visit

  • Oscar August 3, 2012 01:35 am

    To all people that have seen this pictures and haven´t been to Perú:
    Not everything in Perú is rural. Just in case.

  • Jared August 2, 2012 08:29 am

    Gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing...

  • Frank Clarivu July 31, 2012 01:09 am

    These photographs are simply stunning. Now I have retired I want to go and visit different cultures like this and this is so inspiring. I just need to stay fit and healthy!

  • Andrew R Court July 30, 2012 09:19 pm

    Beautiful collection of pictures. Peru is such a colorful place, really a dream for a photographer. I plan to be there next year for a visit, so I love looking at these photos before my trip.

  • raghavendra July 29, 2012 12:20 pm

    wow, it is beautiful and fun :)

  • Scottc July 29, 2012 10:31 am

    Peru is beautiful, it seems to almost have 4 seasons year round. A great collection of photos, TFS.

  • Mario July 29, 2012 09:06 am

    You picked a great day to post this article. Today is Peru's Independence Day!

    Viva Peru!!!

  • Mridula July 29, 2012 01:18 am

    It is a joy to watch the pictures in this series every time!