The world is vast, and life is short. You can only photograph so much of the world. That’s why today, we have compiled a list of 24 great photography destinations around the world. These are popular hot spots for photographers, as well as some special gems. However, it is certain that if you travel to any of these places, you will have some amazing photographs to add to your portfolio. None of these visits will be a wasted trip!
Find new destinations to explore and reflect on past trips. How many destinations have you been to? If you have another destination you think we should check out, leave a comment below to share your story!
Photography Destinations in North America
White Sands, New Mexico, USA
True to its name, White Sands features rolling dunes of white gypsum sand that offer some truly special opportunities for photography. The main point of concern in White Sands is camera care. Make sure to protect your camera, as grains of sand can cause scratches to your lens or ruin the internal electronics. But, if you can protect your camera adequately you will be rewarded with photos of flawless, rolling dunes filled with native plants that you can’t find anywhere else. The National Park Service actually has an excellent photography guide for White Sands. Be sure to read it before going!
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada
Photo: Island Conservation
Haida Gwaii is an island off of the North Coast of British Columbia, but is worth the trip. About half of the population is made up of the native Haida people, and the landscape is well preserved. The Ta’an Forest features a variety of trees, making this area and many others prime spots for nature photography. The sheer variety of landscape and wildlife will keep any nature photographer busy for days.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, USA
Photo: Lia Bekyan
Hawaii has more great photography locations than you can shake a tripod at. However, Haleakala National Park is probably one of the best. It’s where you’ll find to the dormant Haleakalā Volcano and the endangered Hawaiian geese. Rising 10,000 feet above sea level, a winding road will take you up to the top of the mountain. It is famous for its beautiful sunrise views, especially since you will likely be above the clouds. While you’re waiting for the early-morning sunrise you can get some amazing star and galaxy photography – after all, there is an observatory at the top of the mountain, so you know there are some great views of the stars!
Central Park, New York, USA
Photo: Ed Yourdon
Sometimes you don’t have to travel to a remote location to capture incredibly photography. Central Park in New York City is a fantastic place to take photos in the heart of one of America’s largest cities. In the fall, the trees will be a beautiful variety of oranges and yellows, allowing for stunning shots. With the mix of urban and natural, you can frame photos juxtaposing the two. If you don’t want people in your shot, read up on how to edit out unwanted objects in Photoshop.
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Mexico
Photo: 2il org
The Underwater Museum of Art is one of the most interesting art installments in the world, and a unique photography destination. It was created by a group of artists in 2009, and offers photographers a way to capture underwater scenes in a new way, utilizing massive sculptures. As time goes on, coral reefs will cover the material, giving the opportunity for photography juxtaposing nature and man-made objects. Just make sure your equipment is fully prepared for underwater shooting!
Photography Destinations in Europe
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Photo: Diego Delso
In a photogenic country like Iceland, it can be difficult to pinpoint just one photography destination. While you should aim to photograph as much of Iceland as possible if you travel there, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one spot that you can’t afford to miss. Not too far off from the capital of Reykjavik, the view from inside the waterfall looks west, making for some amazing sunset photos. There is a good reason Iceland is used as a filming location in a lot of movies, and one trip there will show you why!
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Photo: Adrian Kirby
The dramatic scenery of Norway’s Lofoten archipelago is the perfect backdrop for a photography excursion. With mountain peaks, sheltered bodies of water, and plenty of untouched rugged landscape, you won’t find anything quite like Lofoten. There are a variety of locations through this sprawling land, meaning you will have no trouble finding unique spots that no one else has captured.
Photo: Ivan Bagic
To step into the city of Dubrovnik is to step back in time to a medieval world. It’s no wonder that the city has been a common filming location for Game of Thrones, and was the exterior location for the extravagant casino scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Dubrovnik is a coastal city with walls all around it. This allows a photographer to take a variety of shots that include the sea and the red-roofed buildings within the walls. To make things even better, there is a cable car ride up to the mountain above this city, allowing you to capture the entire landscape in all of its splendor.
Photo: Tasos Lekkas
Meteora is an unbelievable geographical location in Greece. It features naturally-formed pillars, which are great photographic opportunities on their own. However, to make it even better, the there are six ancient monasteries build on these immense pillars. Your photographs will look like still frames from a fantasy movie. The best part is that this is a relatively small area, and you can drive from one end to the other in 15 minutes. Expect to spend a lot of time outdoors, as the dramatic placement of the monasteries is much more impressive than the insides.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Photo: Bela Balla
An essential shooting location if you’re in Europe, the Cinque Terre is a string of coastal cities embedded in the cliff-side of the Italian Riviera. The trails between cities allow you to capture sweeping views of the next town, including both the sea and the cliffs. What makes these towns unique is their brightly-colored buildings that stack up on each other like bricks. This makes them stand out in both daytime and nighttime photography, in a completely different way than normal city photography.
Photography Destinations in South America
Torres Del Paine, Chile
Photo: Miguel v.
Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, Torres Del Paine is an incredible national park with plenty of opportunities for photography. It features a variety of landscapes, including tall mountains and bright blue icebergs. In stark contrast, you will also find grasslands that hold rare animals, and a trio of granite towers. This is the photography destination for you if you are looking to capture a primordial and wild shot.
Tikal National Park, Guatamala
Tikal National Park is full of ancient Mayan temples. If you care even a little about this kind of ancient history, you will love shooting here. You will have so many options when looking for a great photo op, as there are over 3000 buildings just in the central city. You will be able to capture some dramatic shots of stone ruins peaking up from above the forest. These structures were abandoned in the 9th century and have been left to the mercy of the jungle.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is an extremely well-known location in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is an Incan city built in the 15th century and has an elevation of almost 8000 feet. There are some great vantage points to take photos of the entire ruins, and of course you can also get much closer and get personal with some of the details of the structures. Chances are, your wide photos will feature wisps of clouds floating through the high mountains.
Photography Destinations in Africa
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Part of the Kenyan landscape is a 583 square mile reserve of savannah. While the savannah itself may offer some interesting shots, the real prize is the migrating animals. From July to October, massive numbers of wildebeest, topi, zebra, and gazelle migrate through the reserve, and you can capture some iconic images of massive herds of beasts roaming through the plains. Count yourself lucky if you can experience this great migration in Africa.
Jemaa el-Fnaa, Morocco
Photo: Luc Viatour
Jemaa el-Fnaa is a marketplace in North Africa, that is photogenic during both the day and the night. During the day, vendors sell orange juice and water, leather goods, and more. You can even find snake charmers. As night sets in, dancers, food vendors, and magicians start coming out, and the market fills up with people looking to buy. It’s up to you how you photograph. You can opt for wide shots of the entire market at night, or close-ups of individual vendors doing their thing.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Photo: Albrecht Fietz
Victoria Falls tumbles across the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is considered by many to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, which should be enough to send you and your camera here! It is one of the best spots in Africa to visit, and is the largest waterfall in the world. Coming in at over a kilometer wide, your photos will blow the mind of anyone viewing your work. It’s impressive enough from a distance too, with the spray visible from up to 50 kilometers away.
Photography Destinations in Asia
Photo: Suket Dedhia
The Ladakh region of India is located in the northern part of the country. It is made up of a high plateau, and situated between several mountain ranges. With mountains, rivers, and glaciers, this landscape is ripe with opportunities for sweeping shots. Chances are, most of your photography will be wide panoramas, so you can capture the full scale of this region. While the area can be rather stark, it features beautiful views that will allow you to capture a wide variety of images.
You’ve probably seen pictures of Bagan before. Iconic peaked temples rise out of the surrounding jungle, with hot air balloons rising as well. This part of southeast Asia is iconic, and a popular spot for photography. It’s no wonder, as this spot is beautiful. It features more than 2000 monuments, so your photography options are limitless.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is an ultramodern luxury city in the Middle East, and is a sight to behold. Whether you climb to the top of the Burj Khalifa, or stay down low in the exquisite mall (which has an indoor ski center), you are sure to find something to photograph. At the very least, you will have a field day spotting expensive supercars. Since it’s covered in resorts and luxury hotels, even the place you stay should be ridiculously photogenic.
Photo: Luke Price
Borneo is the third-largest island in the world, and is known for its lush, biodiverse rainforest. When you visit this island, you are coming to photograph wildlife and ancient forest. Some of the most famous images of Borneo are of orangutans, but there are a plethora of other animals to see. This is somewhere to go if you want to add some truly unique wildlife photography to your portfolio.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Photo: Manfred Werner
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, and a prime photography destination in Asia. This ancient Hindu temple will present you with many opportunities for photos, including the iconic foliage-covered ruins. Since Cambodia can be quite hot and humid, make sure you travel light and bring minimal gear. You don’t want to find yourself tired and sweaty before your photography trek is over. Check out our article on the best monopods for on-the-go photographers, so you can make the most out of your Angkor Wat visit.
Photo: Sylvain L.
You may recognize Petra, Jordan from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but this ancient city built into the mountainside will inspire you to take some amazing photos. The most iconic imagery is going to be the facade carved into the rock, but there are plenty of other ruins, streets, and rock formations that your camera will be drawn toward. Nighttime will be the true prize, when a thousand lanterns come out to light up the ruins.
Tiger’s Nest Temple, Bhutan
Photo: Douglas J. McLaughlin
Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery, in Bhutan is a unique photography destination. This temple is precariously built into the side of a cliff face and is known for its strings of colorful prayer flags. While the wider landscape is a beautiful sight to behold, the temple clinging to the side of the rock 10,000 feet above sea level is going to be the main point of interest. Your photos will appear to be out of a fantasy world.
Bonus Photography Destination: New Zealand
Photo: Samuel Ferrara
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and photo-ready countries in the world. From sandy beaches, to soaring mountain peaks, to lakes and waterfalls in between, New Zealand will offer you stunning views at all elevations. You could even visit filming locations from The Lord of the Rings movies. The best part is that New Zealand is a relatively small country, meaning that you can capture much of the country if you are determined to do so.
These are 24 of the most interesting and popular photography destinations in the world. Let us know in the comments what locations we missed out on, and which of these places you have photographed. We would love to see your photos. And once you’ve returned home from your travels, read up on how to edit your travel photos in Capture One.