Mysore palace is one of the most photographed attractions in India. If you are keen on photography, the palace and its surroundings are great objects in Mysore. You have broadly two themes in photographing Mysore palace. The daylight photography and the night photography, when the palace is fully lit with what appears as a million light bulbs. We'll see first the daylight photography. Night photography is explained towards the later part.
Before going further let us take a look at the permission status for photography. Inside the palace (building) photography is prohibited. However there is no restrictions on photographing the palace and its campus.
What it means is you can take your camera inside the palace compound, but not into the palace building.
Camera is not allowed to be taken inside the palace buildings. , you need to deposit the camera in the kiosk meant for safekeeping.
It is practically like this. First buy the entry ticket for the palace. Just next to the ticket counter is the security check point. Once you go through that , you will find yourself standing at the southmost side of this sprawling palace compound.
On your right side, immediately after the security check gate is the camera deposit counter. The palace building is still a good 5 minutes walk from this point, towards your left.
Now you've to make a choice about your photography plan. What would you do first, photography or visiting the palace ? If you go for the later, deposit the camera and collect the receipt. Your camera is put it a locker, and the key is given to you along with a camera deposit receipt. You've to return both , key and the receipt , to collect your camera. The charge is Rs.10 per camera. Also remember to collect your camera before the closing time ( 5.30 pm ). Other than this deposit fee, there is no camera fee for still photography inside the palace compound.
Like in case of many popular attractions, Mysore palace too have many cliche compositions.
If you want to follow the suit, the first shoot point is located close to the camera deposit kiosk. Between where you stand and the palace , a few feet ahead of you , stands a giant Rain tree (Samanea Saman). This tree hides the full view of the palace at fist. walk a few feet close to it, the lower branches makes a natural frame around the palace skyline. The tree is an excellent hood shade to prevent glare in the phonograph, especially when you are (most likely you are) shooting during the brighter part of the day.
This is practically composing the palace from the southeast perspective. In this angle it is possible to compose the full length, in a tasteful perspective.The palace have a un-obstructive view in full from this point.
The second advantage of this point is the possibility of making the palace as a good backdrop when photographing people. Again the Rain tree helps in preventing harsh sunlight on the subjects' face. Make your subject stand along the garden fence.
The second popular shot is a front shot of the palace. Dare the hot sun to walk all the way to the front of the palace. This is basically a vast open ground. You've to position suitably for good composition as the palace is too wide for its height. Add to that is the lighting issue. The palace faces east. That means you get a better chance if you shoot during the earlier part of the day.The earliest you can get inside the palace compound is 10 am. By this time the sunlight is already harsh. A few more hours later, it is difficult to shoot the facade without the deep shadow cast.
The balustrades in front of the palace may obstruct some composition. Still this is a great point to try a number of closeups.
Now , right behind you when you face the palace is its stately gateway. This too is a popular subject among photographers. So are the cast images of the tigers installed on the platforms in this area.
So that about the standard locations.
If you are keen, just take your camera around the may buildings and temples inside the palace campus. The Chola style towers of the three temples are interesting subjects too. So is the area behind where the elephant and camel safari is located. Again, photography is not permitted inside the temples, however you can take the pictures from outside.
Dasara festival season is a good time to click interesting shots inside the palace campus. A good number of cultural programs and ceremonies are held inside the palace compound. An added attractions is the arrival of a dozen or so elephants in the palace from the Dubare Elephant Camp located in the neighboring Coorg. Bathing of the elephants and feed are good themes.
The temporary elephant base is set at the northeast portion of the palace campus.
As promised earlier, let us take a look at the night photography opportunity around the palace.
On every sundays ( and also on special days) the palace is illuminated for a an hours duration from 7 pm to 8 pm. During the Dasara festival days it is for 2 hours up to 9 pm.
Palace campus is open to visitors again in the evening for the illumination. No entry fees to be paid. Better to arrive early to position yourself at a vantage point. Note that only the southern gate (the same point of ticket counter) is open for accessing the campus. A shot of the facade in a wide-angle is the most classic of the shots when the palace is illuminated. You can try a different angle , say from the southmost point from inside the campus.
Another interesting point for night photography is the area outside the northern gate of the palace. That is, the perspective of the palace from the Chamaraja Circle. The statue ( of Chamaraja Wodeyar , Maharaja of Mysore between 1881 and 1894 ) at the center of this circle itself is an attractive subject for photography. So are the crowded northern gateway with the shrines of Hanuman and Vinayaka.
Further north of the statue is the clock tower. Just west of the clock tower is the Town Hall. Both are heritage structures and photogenic.
If you happened to be outside the palace campus, get to the front gate in the east. This is the best location to view the illumination from outside the campus. Also the gateway and its surrounding structures too are illuminated. This is also is a great subject for night photography.