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  • Writer's pictureMark Stevens


Discover & Photograph Singapore's Hidden Gems

You will discover more of the Lion City if you start-out with a good plan. At Singapore Street Shots our Blogs will help you discover Singapore’s hidden gems. We give you Information & tips for creating stunning photos and exploring Singapore's neighborhoods.

Telling your Singapore story with photos

Soft light after a storm, a beautiful Shophouse, distant storm clouds, make for a great photo - 216G Syed Alwi Rd, Singapore

Great Singapore Shophouse Photos

Take my word for it... Many of the most beautiful Shophouses are located well off the beaten path. So you're going to miss out if you don't know where to find them, or if you only visit the tourist sections.

Research and planning are the first steps to a successful holiday. So in this blog I’m going to reveal neighborhoods, streets, locations along with addresses where many of Singapores most beautiful Shophouses can be found.

Along with all these great locations I'll give you tonnes of photography tips & advice, so you can create stunning photos that help tell your Singapore Shophouse story. Even with a smartphone!


NOTE- Don't forget to post some of your own stunning Shophouse photos along with a short story about your experience on our Singapore Street Shots Facebook Page.

For Information on how to easily get around Singapore see our Blog Using the Singapore MRT & BUS System to save time and money



Different styles of Shophouses found in Singapore


Singapore is well known for her abundance of beautiful historic Shophouses, fact is there are six distinctly different types and about 8,500 Shophouses throughout Singapore. Many are well kept with beautiful ornate tile work, colorful doorways, windows and shutters, while others have been left to wither away in the tropical humidity, heat and sun.

To be sure there are many stunningly beautiful Shophouses around town, and some definitely do look better and stand out from the others. Basically, if one is recently reconditioned it usually jumps to the top of the list. However all of them have their stories to tell, harkening back to a time when the neighborhood was vibrant, full of life and excitement.

An age old argument among shutterbugs & photographers in Singapore is "Which are the most beautiful Shophouses in Singapore"? For me its the one I happen to be photographing at the time, however beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Capturing a photographic memory of these stunning buildings can be challenging, so to aid you with your photography I'll do my best to reinforce my tips and advice with the Photos posted in this Blog.

Early Shophouse Style (1840-1900)

First Transitional Shophouse Style (early 1900s)

Second Transitional Shophouse Style (late 1930s)

Late Shophouse Style (1900-1940)

Art Deco Shophouse Style (1930s-1960s)

Modern Shophouse Style (1950s-1960s)

Explore my list below and discover the different variations of the six styles of Shophouses.

Download PDF • 4.19MB

Important note: It's important to remember that while Shophouses are sought after tourist attractions to photograph, many are also places of business and some are even private homes. So please be respectful while photographing.



(Foreground, Leading lines, Rule of 3rd's)

Professional photographers know that the best time for photographs is the early morning and late afternoon to early evening, this is because the light is at its best, Soft & Warm. However if you're touring in Singapore or anywhere for that matter you may not have that option. That said you will have to make do with the light and conditions that are available to you at the time.

When I start to photograph a Shophouse, I like to start from across the street and get some wide shots from as many angles as possible (Be sure and add some foreground). Then move in to capture the smaller details like, tiles, stone & masonry work, windows and door fixtures. Go slow and have a good look around to take in all the little details.

In some locations leading lines are not available or the foreground is boring, so look for anything that can serve as an anchor and add depth to your photo. Even manhole covers or traffic signs painted on the road will do. If you're lucky you may have a pedestrian with an umbrella, bicyclist or a Taxi passing by, so use that to add depth and character to your photo.

Mastering two aspects of photography will improve your photos 100 percent. First is Setting up your camera properly and learning how to use it. Second, is mastering composition & light...

My favorite rules of composition for beautiful Shophouse photos.

  • Foreground- Adding some foreground to your Architecture & landscape photos is essential, it adds depth and interest to your photo.

  • Leading lines- Leading lines will capture the viewers interest and lead them from the foreground into the main subject of your photo.

  • Rule of 3rd's- You can activate the Rule of 3rd's grid lines and other compositional assists in your camera or smartphone, this puts them on your display for easy use.

  • Colors & Patterns- Exploit all the patterns in the tile work, look for different color clashes in rows of Shophouses.

  • Symmetry & Balance- (You'll make good use of this rule on Singapore Shophouses)

TIP- Be sure a compose your shots wide as you will lose some of your photo when correcting with Geometry Tools in post processing.

TIP- You can always pick a few Shophouses and come back to photograph during golden hours, and I recommend you do just that.

The Four must have shots to tell a Story

There are four shots you’ll need to tell your story. These shots will establish your storyline and it’s direction.

  1. WIDE: Take some wide angle shots of your scene, this gives the viewer a sense of what they’re about to experience.

  2. MEDIAM: Shophouse windows, archways and doorways, or any signs

  3. TIGHT: Close ups, portraits, selfies of store owners

  4. DETAILED: Tile work on the Shophouse walls, door handles …



Making Photos on a Hot Sunny Day

For some great TIPS on how to take better Photos on a bright Sunny day see our Blog SUNNY DAY PHOTOGRAPHY

To learn more about setting up your camera and phone see our blog MASTER YOUR CAMERA



Don't forget to write a description and some details about your photos.

Who doesn’t remember looking through the photo drawer at your grandma’s house, and how the photos always had descriptions on the back. It really made the experience so much nicer to read all those details.

So don’t forget to do the same with all the photos you post, it really does add to the viewers experience when you write down some names, dates and locations. Plus, a little note or story about the photos.

For some awesome help editing and post processing your photos see our blog EASY EDITING

Closing Remarks

Ilonka & I in Desaru, Malaysia June 2015... Malaysia is gifted with beautiful beaches that surround the entire country.

I hope this Blog has been helpful and informative, and inspires you to make the most of your visit to the Singapore and Asia. Be sure and enjoy one of our Singapore Street Shots Photo walks.

Singapore is well known for it's incredible verity of delicious foods from every corner of Asia, so do stop at the Hawker centers for lunch and discover the local cuisine...

Also for night life, try hitting some of the Roof-top Bars and restaurants in Chinatown and the downtown area for drinks & dinner.

Please do not forget to post some of your best Shophouse photos along with a short story about your experience on our Singapore Street Shots Facebook Page.


Mark Stevens & Ilonka Guenther

Business Owners, Photographers & Travelers


Want some help exploring Singapore

Book a Singapore Street Shots Photo walk and let us help you create stunning photos for your Singapore story.



At Singapore Street Shots our Blogs are meant to give you tips & advice for exploring Singapore and creating stunning photos. You will discover and photograph more if you do some research and create a good plan.

Singapore in Pictures - Telling your Singapore story with photos.

(A Seven blog series)​

SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSES - Telling your Singapore story with photos.

Singapore Skyline Panorama's - Photograph Singapore's world class Skyline

Singapore's Chinatown - Kreta Ayer - Telok Ayer - Tanjong Pagar - Bukit Pasoh

Singapore's Little India - Culture & Colour

Kampong Glam - Singapore's Arab Quarter

Hawkers & Markets - Flavor the Moment

Singapore - Off the Beaten Path - Discover the Singapore most tourist never see


DRESSING FOR SECCESS -Look good and Feel good on your day-trip

Tips for Travelers: Capture your Memories with Pictures

A Rainy Day Holiday in Singapore - Things to do in Singapore when it's rainy weather

MASTER YOUR CAMERA - Use your camera like a pro

EASY EDITING - Make all your photos pop

Great Singapore Shophouse locations - The best locations for photographing Singapore Shophouses



(Coming soon)

A Five Blog series

"Discovering Singapores Parks"


1st Series: East and West coast parks:

2nd Series: Singapore Botanical Gardens:

3rd Series: Kent Ridge & Hort parks:

4th Series: Fort Canning park:

5th Series: Lakeside Gardens

A Three Blog series

"Photographing Singapores Natural Beauty"

Nature Reserves:

1st Series: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

2nd Series: MacRitchie Nature Reserve

3rd Series: Singapore Zoo and Singapore Bird Park


A Six Blog series

"Photographing Singapores Islands"

Singapore’s islands:

1st Series: Pulau Ubin

2nd Series: Coney Island

3rd Series: Sentosa Island

4th Series: St. John Island

5th Series: Kusu Island

6th Series: Lazarus Island.

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