Porto’s Soul Captured: My Mobile Photography Workshop Experience

Everyone wants to be able to take good photos on their phone, especially when they are on holiday. So, when I found this Mobile Photography Workshop with local photographer João in Porto, I had to book it.

The weather for the majority of my time in Porto was rainy and overcast. But, as if by magic, a few hours before my workshop the weather changed and the sun came out in it’s full glory. This was the perfect weather for exploring Porto’s hidden streets and taking lots of photos along the way.

Our meeting point was São Bento Station and as I stood underneath the Departures board waiting for João, I was suddenly filled with nerves. I am not the best at taking photos on my phone – so was a little apprehensive. However, as soon as we met and started exploring the streets of the quiet Duoro quarter, my brain was quickly filled with concentrating on the tips and tricks that João was showing me, and my nerves soon dissipated.

We started off by playing with shadows. The narrow Douro streets meant that unusual shapes and shadows were reflected across the buildings.

Playing with shapes, shadows, and textures

As we continued, I was challenged to look up, take in more of my surrounds and take more unusual photos. This involves taking photos pointing upwards of Porto’s buildings towering over us, or getting closer to the ground to change the perspective.

One of my favourite photos that I took was a photo peeking through some leaves into a hidden plaza that we stumbled across.

João reminded me that at the heart of any city is the people that live in it. He believes there is a real importance of including them in your photography. This startled me, as we usually all spend our time waiting for unwanted passersby to get out of our shot, or even resorting to using fancy apps or AI to remove strangers from our photos.

However, I found that there was a beauty in catching passers by. People are what make a city, and so of course you should include them in your photos!

Below is an image I was taking from the top of a flight of stairs. Just before I took my photo a passerby walked into my shot. I would usually be really annoyed by this, but I actually think he makes the photo.

Another element of the city I loved seeing on our walk were the scallop shell tiles marking the route of the Camino de Santiago. You will catch lots of these signs across Porto, as many pilgrims pass by Porto on the Camino Portugués.

A sign guiding the way of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela

João set me a challenge at the beginning of the workshop to take photos with a particular theme in mind. It could be an object, colour, architectural feature – anything that would be a thread to bring my photo collection together.

Throughout our walk, I was drawn to Porto’s doors and doorways. When I looked closer, I realised that many of the doors had the same style of door knocker – in the shape of a hand. The more we walked, the more door knockers I noticed.

For me, what was so striking about the door knockers is how they are all similar, but the doors they are attached too are so different. Many door knockers were on abandoned houses or houses undergoing construction, whereas others were on well looked after house, apartments, shops and restaurants.

My Photo Collection: Porto’s Door Knockers

At the end of our time together, João took me to his favourite viewpoint overlooking Parque das Virtudes. We sat with a beer as he showed me how to edit our photos. It was the perfect end to an insightful few hours in Porto.

Our view as we had a beer and sat and edited our photos

After this experience, I saw Porto in a totally different light. Not only did I see my favourite door knockers everywhere throughout the city, but I noticed smaller details that I otherwise would have missed.

If you would like to join João on a photography workshop on your next trip to Porto then book here.


Mobile Photography Experience in Porto


It was so nice to spend a few hours exploring the streets of Porto with local photographer João. I learnt so much more about photo composition and how to take better photos with my phone.

  • Rated 5 out of 5

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