The 13 Best Places in the World to Take Photographs

Updated 04/30/19

When any vacation sadly comes to a close, the only sanctitude you have when you get home is going through all the amazing photos you took. But when it comes to photography, not all holiday destinations are created equal. Have you ever planned a trip based on the pictures you’ll take? Well, it might be time to start. Everyone is a professional snapper these days thanks to the high-tech cameras on our smartphones, and we take billions of images around the world every day—here are a few photography pointers before you leave.

So how do you plan a trip based on the photos you'll take? Well, you consider the natural beauty, of course, but also the culture, the colors, the people, and the history too. When all of these collide in one location, you have guaranteed photographic magic. Not to mention these are also the ingredients you need for any great vacation too, so it's a win-win situation. 

Read through our list of the best places to photograph around the world and start planning your next adventure. (And if we missed a place, don't worry, we plan on adding to this bucket list. Consider it a work in progress.)

Coastline of Big Sur—best places to photograph
Andrew Holbrooke/Getty

Coastline of Big Sur, America

A quick drive down the Pacific Coast Highway leads you to one of the most photographed American coastlines: Big Sur. Located on California’s central coast, it’s also one of the most iconic road trips thanks to Jack Kerouac’s book by the same name. The rugged beauty of this natural wonder and impressive views from the jagged cliff side guarantee gallery-worthy frames at every shutter.

Big Sur Coastline—best places to photograph
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Kenya—best places to photograph

Aerial Views of Kenya, Africa

From the marshes and grasslands of the Amboseli National Reserve, which provides refuge for elephants during the dry season, to the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro and the savannas, Kenya is home to some of the world’s most dynamic landscapes. Combine this with wide-ranging wildlife and the colorful Massai communities, and you have the perfect recipe for photography magic.

African travel—best places to photograph
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Peter and Beverly Pickford African Safari $38
Machu Pichu—best places to photograph
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Temples of Machu Pichu, Peru

Fusing phenomenal heights and an impressive history, it’s no wonder Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Situated almost 8000 feet above sea level on a mountain ridge over the Sacred Valley, the stunning views alone are cinematic gold. But then there are the incredible Inca temples and local llamas that capture your imagination and your camera’s lens.

Machu Picchu temples—best places to photograph
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Easter Island—best places to photograph

Statues of Easter Island

As a remote volcanic island in Polynesia, this destination may be a little trickier to travel to, but the archaeological sites are worth it. Easter Island has about 900 monumental statues that were created by the early Rapa Nui people during the 10th to 16th centuries. This is a powerful place; just imagine the imagery you could create with these famous Moai statues in the background.

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Ta Prohm Temple—best places to photograph
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Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia

Bound by massive roots from gigantic trees, the Ta Prohm temples look like something straight out of an Indiana Jones film. In fact, it was used in the Tomb Raider blockbuster with Angelina Jolie. Shrouded in dense jungle, the temple exudes an ethereal energy and atmospheric aura that countless professionals have tried to capture. Will you be the next to try?

Cambodia Temple—best places to photograph
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HP Sprocket Photo Printer $130
The Great Pyramid of Giza—best places to photograph

The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

As the oldest and largest of the three pyramids, the Great Pyramid is one of the world’s greatest ancient structures. The mystery surrounding its engineering and structure just adds to the beauty and allure of this timeworn masterpiece. Doing it justice in a single frame is all part of the challenge.

Egyptian pyramids—best places to photograph
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Lake Powell—best places to photograph
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Stone Castles of Lake Powell, Utah

Stretching 186 miles along the border of Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell on the Colorado River is one of the second largest manmade reservoirs. Attracting about two million people every year, the popular pool’s surrounding landscape, stark red sandstone spires, ridges and semi-submerged sand castles and small islands provide a pretty picture.

Lake Powell National Park—best places to photograph
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Dubrovnik—best places to photograph
Universal Images Group / Getty

The Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

These incredible stonewalls circle the entire city of Dubrovnik and despite their obvious beauty, they once provided protection for the cities ancient citizens in the 12th to 17th centuries. Stretching 6000 feet and reaching 82 feet high, the complex wall structure is considered one of the great fortifications systems of the Middle Ages.

Through the Lens by National Geographic $6
Chugach State Park—best places to photograph
VW Pics/Getty

Chugach State Park, Alaska

If you want to document a fairly untouched wilderness, then the Chugach State Park in Alaska is your destination. Spanning 495,000 acres, it’s the third largest state park in the country and home to a seriously stunning mountain valley, granite cliffs, a glacial river, and epic waterfalls. What more could you want?

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Curacao Architecture—best places to photograph

The Architecture of Curaçao, Caribbean Sea

You’ll find this jewel of the Adriatic less than 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela. The unique island is a fusion of international influences from the colorful Dutch architecture in the capital city of Willemstad, to the Jewish history that sees most residents speak Dutch, English, Spanish to the indigenous dialect of Papiamentu. It’s clear to see why this archipelago is commonly known as the Caribbean’s hidden treasure.

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Uyuni Salt Flats—best places to photograph
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Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

The world’s largest salt flat is located in the Andes of southwest Bolivia, and its bright white, desert-like appearance has been the creative backdrop for many surrealistic photographic moments. At 4086 square miles, its expanse alone sets the tone for incredible imagery and is the perfect place for fun optical illusions.

Bolivia Salt Flats—best places to photograph
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Reed Flute Cave—best places to photograph
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Reed Flute Cave, China

This natural limestone cave has been one of the most interesting attractions of Guilin, China, for over 1200 years. The landmark tourist destination plays on the cave decorations and distinct stalactites by illuminating them with multicolored neon.

China Flue Caves—best places to photograph
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Iceland Ice Caves—best places to photograph

Vatnajökull Ice Cave in Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

The jewel-like interior of this imperial ice cave coaxes adventurers and photographers into its frozen lair every year. Located at the bottom of the Vatnajökull glacier, this breathtaking experience is one of the unique wonders of the world that is begging to be explored and photographed.

Ice Cave—best places to photograph
Michael Kenna Holga Book $41

This post was originally published on September 1, 2015, and has since been updated.

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