• Mark Stevens

SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSES

Updated: Oct 27

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

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.

Take my word for it some 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.

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


 


SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSES


Different styles of Shophouses found in Singapore



THE SIX DIFFERENT STYLES OF SHOPHOUSES


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.

GREAT SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSE LOCATIONS
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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.


 



COMPOSITION IS KEY


(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 won't have that option. That said you will have to make do with what light and conditions are available to you at the time when you're touring the city.

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

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 …




SUNNY DAY PHOTOGRAPHY


Making Photos on a Hot Sunny Day


DEALING WITH BRIGHT HARSH SUNLIGHT


All photographers and skilled shutterbugs know the best time to create photos is the early morning and late afternoon. However when you're touring around on your holiday most of your time will likely be spent in bright sunshine.

Bright mid-day Sun is probably one of the most challenging conditions for creating photographs. So I'm going to give you a few tips that will help you overcome those challenges. Hopefully during your Singapore holiday sunny conditions will be the norm for the majority of your trip. However if your holiday is a rainy day washout, See our blog A Rainy Day Holiday in Singapore and go out to discover the Lion City.


You'll create better pictures on a sunny day if you are prepared, and use filters like a Polarizer filter or ND filters (Neutral Density filters). Think of them as sun-glasses for your camera. These simple filters really will improve your photos on a bright sunny day.

Also be prepared for a Hot day, take your time and don't rush. Stop often for AirCon rest breaks and drink lots off fluids. HDR- (High Dynamic Range photos) Use HDR mode on bright sunny days to capture more dynamic range in your photos, this will help eliminate darker areas found beneath overhangs and balconies and result in nicer photos. This works well with a camera or smartphone.

Pro Tip- Expose your photos for the highlights!



Filters


A Beginner’s Guide to Camera Lens Filters- https://www.adorama.com/alc/a-beginners-guide-to-camera-lens-filters/

TIPS- You can get great Lenses & Filters for your Smartphone at the Moment online store, along with other awesome gear.

Attach a wrist lanyard to your Phone case and use it. losing your phone into the Singapore river will surely ruin your day!!! (See Photo above)

PRO TIP- I use only square filters with my DSLR as circular filters tend to get a cloudy film build-up on the inside of the filter, its difficult and time consuming to clean as you have to disassemble the filter. Square filters can be cleaned on the spot right before you put it on your camera.


 

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


 

POSTING YOUR STUNNING PHOTOS

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 details, dates, names, 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.



Cheers,

Mark Stevens & Ilonka Guenther

Business Owners, Photographers & Travelers

Singapore Street Shots Pte. Ltd.



 

Want some help exploring Singapore

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



 

SEE ALL OUR BLOGS

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

Singapore's MRT & BUS System-Saving you Time and Money using : Utilizing Goggle Maps with the MRT

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

Temples-Mosques-Churches - Singapores Places of Worship



 

FUTURE BLOGS

(Coming soon)



A Five Blog series

"Discovering Singapores Parks"

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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