More than 39,000 ‘Grammers have shared their #TileStyle. Nearly 90,000 claim they suffer from #TileAddiction. And over 675,000 are proud to say #IHaveThisThingWithFloors. But this trend goes way back. Over 1,000 years to be precise. Check out what this viral travel trend is all about—and how to get in on the action.

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The tile trend may have originated in the mosques of the Middle East centuries ago, but it was Britain that began mass producing tiles over 200 years ago. Now, they’re collected, studied, adored, and photographed all over the world.

Lisbon, Marrakesh, and Seville are hotspots for #TileStyle. In fact, all around the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa beautiful tiles can be found on anything from churches and palaces to pavements, bars, and train stations. From cement to ceramic and simple to ornate, there are tiles in almost every shape, size, color, and texture just waiting to be discovered and photographed.


First, before you even pick up a camera, look for patterns and leading lines that can draw your viewers into the image. Second, if possible, shoot in good natural light to highlight the intricacy of the patterns.

1/800 sec | F8 | ISO60

Once you’ve got your subject and lighting set, experiment with your angle. Shooting straight on will give you a flat texture, while shooting at an angle like the above can give you more depth. If you’re photographing large patterns or tile art such as a tiled wall or ceiling, shoot with a narrow aperture (F16 or narrower). This will keep more of your frame in focus so you can capture the scale of a #TileStyle.

1/1200 sec | F8 | ISO800

For close-up shots, avoid using flash when you’re shooting glossy tiles. The artificial light can reflect off the smooth surface and create glare on your photos. Instead, shoot with a wide aperture to let more light into your lens. This will naturally brighten your image without casting shadows like a flash would.

1/125 sec | F8 | ISO100

Also, make sure you scan up, down, and around as you wander a new destination. If you’re only looking around at eye level, you could be missing out on prime #TileStyle opportunities on ceilings or pillars. Elaborate tiles are Instagram gold.

When you’re compiling your finalized shots for Instagram, don’t be afraid to use your captions to tell a story. Document where you were, and chronicle little nuggets of information and history along the way. Your followers will thank you for it — hopefully with likes!

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