Spa Francorchamps - 24 photo locations and tips

Probably the most beautiful and spectacular circuit in Europe, and as for me in the world. Not only do drivers have a lot of fun, even as a (hobby) photographer you have some excellent spots on this circuit.

I created a map of the circuit accompanied by an explanation where you can stand to make beautiful photos at Spa Francorchamps. Helpful hints terms of positions and shutter speeds combined with sample pictures show that you DON'T need accreditation to take beautiful pictures of the cars.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 1 - La Source

Do not expect your be allowed to take beautiful photos of the start during the Formula 1 here. During other events at Spa Francorchamps there is a change!

If you want to make pictures during the Formula 1 with the cars on the straight, you have to try it on friday during free practice. The stewards are still very flexible (if you are lucky), and if you ask it kind to them you got a chance.

There are special holes in the fences for the photographers, however, you find yourself also behind a fence. You have to shoot through the fence and through the hole of the photographers.

With a 200mm lens you would still be able to achieve any result, however, a better zoom range is recommended. The cars coming straight at you, so you can freeze the picture.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 2 - La Source

Also in this place you have only access on friday. Because there is a large "gold" stand and in qualifying and the race it's impossible to take photos here (if you have no access cards). With other events you have a change. At the start is not an option, because all the pro's are here as well for the first laps.

As well as location "1" you should take pictures through a double-gate and making use of the hole that is created for professional photographers. Because the cars are braking here for the la Source corner and come pretty close, you do have more options.

200mm should be more than enough here, but I guess 300mm would be best. Panning is very difficult but not impossible, creating some speed in the tires at this point is attainable with a setting of 1/150.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 3 - Old Grandstand

The old grandstand of Spa Francorchamps is only accessible with an access card. You got a chance on friday with a Formula 1 weekend if you ask nicely. With other events like the FIA WEC this grandstand is free accessible.

At the grandstand without a roof it's hard to take photos. If you want, walk down to the fence and try to shoot through it. If you succeed, this can be great shots.

The other option is to go to the grandstand with roof, and walk as much as you can to the la Source direction. There are no fences here, so it shouldn't be that hard to make a proper picture. A low point of view is better, because you can capture some surroundings. I recommend 400mm at this point and to freeze the picture.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 4 - Pit exit (inside)

During events like the FIA WEC the paddock is free accessible. At this point there is a large fence what makes it difficult to create beautiful pictures. However, there is a way!!!

In one place the fencing is bent, and you can get the right angle for a free shot in the pit area. You can get a close-up of a pitstop, you can also create a picture that shows your at Spa, with a part of the lovely background in it.

The problem is there is a lot of media in front of the car. Especially in the beginning of a race. So wait until the race is halfway, most of the pro's have taken their shots already.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 5 - La Source/straight (inside)

You can only make photos at this point if you have paddock access. During events like the Fia World Endurance Championship this is free accessible. Tall people have no problems at this point and can shoot over the fence. If you are not that tall, you should be creative and stand on a litter bin or a small staircase. You could also climb the fence, but the marshalls will warn you.

At the start of the race it's very crowded here. Be on time if you want to shoot here. Try to photograph the cars on the kerbstones and try to create photos with the house in the background.

You can also shoot the cars from behind, with the old grandstand in the background of your photo. This is very hard, but if you succeed you got some nice shots.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 6 - Eau Rouge

If you walk past the tunnel along the curve to go up, you can stand on the right side on the grass and you see the cars driving up Eau Rouge.

There are many holes cut in the fence, so you can easily photograph there. The organization has also seen that, and replaced the fences with professional ones and photography holes.

You get the back of the car in your photo, but more importantly the surroundings of Spa Francorchamps and the height of the Eau Rouge / Raidillon corner.

Try to keep that in mind while shooting and do not necessarily go for a zoom picture but let the curve nicely come back into your photos.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 7 - Raidillon/Eau Rouge

This part of the circuit is called Raidillon, but you takes photos of the Eau Rouge corner here.

During a event like Formula 1 this part is only accessible with an access pass to the stand. At other events you can go here and look for the special photo holes in the fence.

You can freeze your pictures and try to get the cars as they enter the corner at the kerbstones. It is also possible to gain more speed and photograph the cars if they turn at the middle of the corner. With a setting like 1/30 you got a lot of speed in your picture and if you do it right, the background of Spa in it.

During F1 you have to walk through the woods behind the stand. If you do, walk back as much as you can when leaving the woods. There are still 2 or 3 special photo holes left there, but you can't create something like the sample images.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 8 - Raidillon straight

This is a beautiful place on the circuit to watch, see the tremendous speed of the cars, and also a difficult point to take photos.

At the top of the Raidillon corner you walk along the fence until it disappears into the woods for about 15 meters. Follow the fence and you'll see two holes specially created for photographers.

You can shoot the cars here in their first few meters after Raidillon, with in the background the stands and the old pit boxes. Also there happens a lot at this point! Cars shoot straight, spinning or taking a slip-stream for overtaking.

Here you can choose for speed in your photos or to freeze it, both deliver beautiful results.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 9 - Kemmel straight to Raidillon

In the early days there was a bridge here. It's gone now, but this is exactly where you have to be.

There are a lot of fences here, so don't expect this will be your best shots. However, you can show the height difference and surroudings of Spa Francorchamps.

During the big events there are a lot of people here, so you can use them in terms of atmosphere. You need a lot of zoom to get the cars close, but 200mm will do if you want to create a picture with atmosphere.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 10 - Kemmel straight

It's easy panning halfway through the long straight of Kemmel. During a Formula 1 event I would do this on Friday or Saturday because too many people sit / stand during the race.

This is the heighest point of the circuit, where you can see pieces of Blanchimont in the background if you are in the correct place. You can also create a lot of depth in your photo and it let you clearly see at which circuit you are.

Without accreditation this is one of the few places on the track where you can properly pan and get pictures with great speed. The only problem is, the ideal line for cars is on the inside, close to the fences.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 11 - Les Combes

Walk to the end of Kemmel straight. Just before the Les Combes corner there is a place for marshalls with a door. After this place, there is no fence so put your camera against the door or fence and you have a clear shot.

I have tried this with 200mm, wich is possible. The sample images shown are made with 400mm wich is better I think.

You can choose to make pictures if the cars turn right, or if they steer left again. Both pictures are lovely to use.

The last time I was here, they've gone digital and control yellow and blue flags with a huge box, exactly at the open space you need. Not only the box is a problem, also the marshalls controling it.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 12 - Malmédy

After the cars left Kemmel straight and turned right and left, there is a small straight. Walk along the fence until you reach the place for marshalls. Sit down to create a low point of view, and put your camera against the fence. Your taking photos of the cars leaving Les Combes.

You'll have to practice a bit I guess, because there is a lot of steering from the cars and it's hard to see where they are in the corner.

Walk towards Malmédy and sit down to the ground. Put your camera against the fence again and you'll see the cars on the kerbs leaving Malmédy and going to Rivage. Some cars have sparks on this point (like the sample I used). Don't freeze the photo, but try to go as low as possible.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 13 - Bruxelles

This is a fun point at the circuit! Walk halfway the corner at shoot through the double fence with the cars below you. The steering into the corner on the kerbstones wich give a nice effect. This is possible with 200mm (like the sample).

There is also a door for professional photographers, wich you can use to create a beautiful overview photo of Spa Francorchamps with the Bruxelles corner in it.

Put your camera through the door and sit as low as possible. Set your focus point to the left, and make photos if the cars are at your focus point. If you do it correct, you see the start/finish straight in the background of your pictures.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 14 - Bruxelles

At this point you can almost touch the cars! The cars passing by just a few meters of you, where you have all the possibilities to pan.

You can choose two things, speed or freeze.

When it comes to cars such as the Porsche Supercup I would choose to show speed, with open Formula cars you can also freeze the car and go for details.

Think of a closeup of the helmet with the hands on the wheel where you can possibly read the data. As the cars will be driving slow here sharp details with 200mm are easily achievable, and you can easily shoot at 1/80e if you want speed.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 15 - Malmedy

This is a difficult point, and you get the best results if you have small stairs to get up. If you don't, and you're not super tall then you suffer from the fences and it is almost impossible to take lovely photos here.

The only way left is to walk as far as possible so your high enough to photograph over the fences at the top towards Bruxelles.

In order to put the cars as they drive from Malmedy towards Bruxelles in your photo you would need at least 200mm. You can even pan here, and see the speed in the audience in the background.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 16 - Overview Spa Francorchamps

This isn't that hard to create, and any camera and lens would fit here.

Go to the door with the camera man in front of it. Put your camera through the door and wait for the cars in your display and make a photo. You don't need to zoom here, because you want to show the surroundings of Spa Francorchamps.

If you want to do something different here, you need at least 400mm. A lot of cars use the kerbstones and going on them. Take a photo from above with the car in the middle of the kerbstones wich give a nice effect.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 17 - Les Combes (inside)

The best results of Les Combes you get on the inside of the circuit. To get here you have to walk a bit through the woods and in recent years this is checked regularly with dogs. But nothing ventured nothing gained, so just try it.

In addition to the circle number "16" on the map you can see a green line running under the circuit (a tunnel). From that point you walk along the path through the woods until you arrive at point "17". You can easily recognize it, because there is a huge mountain of stones. You climb up here, so you can shoot easily over the fences (last time I was here the stones where gone).

If you've done that you can start panning or freeze the shots, and you see the cars from Kemmel to Malmedy and there's always action. Cars overtake each other here, they fly over the kerbstones and spinning regularly!

 Spa Francorchamps tip 18 - Straight to Pouhon

There are a couple of specialy made photo holes in the fences here. You see the cars from Bruxelles to this corner and you can make 3 different shots here.

The first is with the kerbstones on the leftside of your photo. It's the small straight from Bruxelles to the corner. Problem is you are very high, so the photo looks a bit strange.

The second is when there in the corner, like the samples, and you can choose to create a photo from above or a front shot.

The last is with the artificial turf and the kerbstones below you. You'll need the lowest fence for this shot, and I would recommend to create a lot of speed.

The first photo you can freeze, the others are much better if you have some speed in them. Depending on the cars I would recommend a shutter speed of 1/250 here.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 19 - Straight to Pouhon

Just as Kemmel straight, this is also an ideal place for panning. However, the environment is less exciting as background in your photo. Also, the gates can be a problem. The ideal line for the double gauche corner is the right side of the track, and there are a lot of fences and gates for marshalls.

It dependents on the race class if this point is interesting or not. But it's possible to take photos of a formula 1 car here.

For panning photos you could start with 1/250, because the cars are going very fast here. If this is not a problem, you can lower your shutterspeed.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 20 - Pouhon

The large high hill at Pouhon can be used in multiple ways. Use the atmosphere in your image by photographing the public during an event like the Formula 1.

If you stand halfway up the hill you'll shoot easily over the fences and you can capture the cars as they just dive into the corner.

Go all the way up where the toilet blocks are and capture the car and the public so you really feel the atmosphere in your photos.

For change/variation a nice place to visit during a race and a good point to watch. You will not make the best pictures of your series here.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 21 - Pouhon

At the end of the curve Pouhon you can easily stand down against the fences. There are cut a few small holes where you can easily put your objective through. You will get the entire slope of the corner into your photo and if you do not use too much zoom you can also get the audience in your photos.

I would definitely use the audience as it enhance the atmosphere and give your pictures a lot more depth features.

The problem with F1 cars is they are going fast, and you don't know when they arrive. So you should anticipate very well.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 22 - Fagnes

Turn 12 is followed by a very small straight as the cars passed through, and you can photograph this. You have to stand near by point 23 close to the attached advertising signs at the gates.

Here you can shoot through the fence and because this is a little oozing it's possible moving your lens along.

However, it does take some practice before you succeed, because you see the cars very late. And like the sample pictures, try to play with the surroundings.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 23 - Fagnes

At this point is a cameraman who films the action. There is however such a huge hole made for it that you can easily enjoy him. The only problem you may have is that the man is too far to the left and don't leaving you enough room to take a proper photo. If that is not the case you have a shot at Turn 12 and 13 in the photo.

The best thing is when you have a car in the foreground while there is a car apearing in the background. As a result you get a lot of depth in your photos.

 Spa Francorchamps tip 24 - Bus stop

The circuit is about 20 meters underneath you, so you shoot here obliquely from above. The organization has made special holes in the fences for you to make it easy.

The chance of spectacle is huge here because it is the perfect place to overtake another car.

During the GP2 you see flames here regularly coming from the cars. You can shoot the cars here when braking for the first chicane, diagonally from the back if their in the first chichane and from the side when they go to the straight.