Most photographers have a few locations they love visiting over and over for gorgeous shots. They might even believe their favorite photography spot is among the best in the world.
But in fact, there’s no objective list of best photography locations. Every photographer is biased according to their culture and interests. If they’d learned photography somewhere else, their favorite photography locations would probably be different, too.
In other words, the world is full of beauty. Wherever you are, you can find wonderful photography locations nearby.
With that in mind, we’ve created this list of photography locations to be general rather than specific. Instead of narrowing the world to a handful of places, we want to create a sense of openness and possibility.
You can use this list to help you find great photography locations no matter where you live. You don’t need to take any long flights or strain your budget to get to famous locations that are supposedly the “best.” Instead, you can look closer to home and discover locations that are less famous, yet equally stunning.
Great Photography Locations
Though many of these locations can be close to home, some may require traveling farther away, depending on where you live. However, you won’t have to travel around the globe. Every continent (except Antarctica) has all of these photography locations, so you can complete the list without leaving your region of the world!
An Ancient City
The word “ancient” is relative. It could mean 300 years or 3,000 years. It could be abandoned or still active. Either way, an ancient city carries an atmosphere of history. It has homes built by hand and streets that were constructed for pedestrians and animals, not cars and motorcycles.
This atmosphere is great for photography. It works well with many different photography genres, from casual portraits to epic cityscapes. Whether you’re photographing the city itself or exploring the streets for eye-catching shots, you’ll go home with unique images.
A Modern City
Where ancient cities carry layers of history, modern cities are in the present moment. They reflect current aesthetics, technology, and values with little evidence of time or history.
Photographing a modern city before or after an ancient city can be an interesting experience. You might discover that your choice of subjects and techniques is different in each setting. For instance, you might choose to shoot the modern city in black and white, while leaving the ancient city in color.
You may even be able to shoot both on the same day, as ancient cities sometimes have modern sections. But even if you can’t, it’s easy to photograph a modern city soon after an ancient one. After all, most cities nowadays are modern; you just have to visit one during the same trip!
Whether you’re in a massive wheat field or a small pasture for sheep, a farm field is where civilization meets wilderness. It’s domesticated natural beauty, controlled yet still gorgeous. This in-between position gives farmland a unique feeling. You see stretches of fields clearly created by humans, yet no one is around (unless you happen to see the farmer).
Besides this interesting atmosphere, farm fields are excellent photography locations because they’re large and monotonous, much like the ocean. This monotony makes anyone or anything in the field pop out, an instant minimalist photo. But even if you’re shooting the field alone, you can get lovely shots of the sky and scenery, stretching to the horizon.
An Abandoned Building
Abandoned buildings are like farm fields, only instead of civilization taming the wilderness, you see the wilderness encroaching on civilization. Even if no plants or animals have crept into the building yet, the power of time and nature is evident. Mold, rust, peeling paint, and layers of dust make it clear how quickly nature can take over an abandoned place.
Urban decay has captured the fascination of photographers so much that it’s become a genre in itself. Though finding an abandoned building that’s safe to enter and photograph may push you out of your comfort zone, the experience will be worth the effort!
A Beach or Shoreline
Beaches are a favorite photography location for portrait, travel, and landscape photos, but nearly any photographer can find something to love at a beach. A street photographer can go to a tourist beach with a busy boardwalk for nice candids. A wildlife photographer can focus on seagulls and crabs, and a macro photographer can look for lovely seashells and driftwood to shoot.
Whatever you’re photographing, a seashore can be a nice background: monotonous enough to minimize distractions, yet beautiful enough to add interest to an otherwise dull image. From picturesque wedding shots to colorful sunset views, you can spend countless days by the ocean and still come up with new ideas.
Mountains are a common subject in landscape photography for many reasons. They inspire awe and are breathtaking from many angles – below, above, close up, and far away. You can shoot them on their own, filling the frame with their rugged beauty, or you can use them as a backdrop for another subject, like a person or animal.
Besides being impressive, mountains are naturally photogenic partly because they work well with many different compositional techniques. Depth, scale, negative space, Rückenfigur, and many other compositions are easy to do with mountains. No wonder photographers love them!
For more compositional techniques, check out this list of over 52 photography techniques to try out.
Canyons are like mountains, only in reverse. Instead of hiking upwards into cold air and sparse vegetation, you hike downwards into a warmer ecosystem with more greenery. Instead of getting epic views at the peak of your hike, you start and end your hike with breathtaking views.
But just like mountains, canyons are awesome places for photography. In addition to spectacular views, you can get cool shots of the shadowed rock walls and flowing river at the bottom of the canyon. It’s an experience worth having.
The word “desert” often calls to mind pictures of camels and sand dunes, but in fact, deserts are as diverse as any other environment. To see the range of natural beauty in deserts, check out these 11 awesome deserts every photographer should visit.
Regardless of what desert you choose to shoot, it’ll likely have an otherworldly vibe you won’t find in other environments. The desert shadows, sunrises/sunsets, and brilliant night sky all make excellent subjects for beautiful photos.
Forests can be an intimidating location for photographers because there’s no obvious subject or composition to shoot. There’s no open sky for easy minimalist photos. You have think more carefully about how you compose your shots, especially if the lighting is limited.
Nevertheless, we’ve put forests in this list because they look gorgeous when you get the shot right. They can evoke many different moods, from awe and whimsy to fear and foreboding. They’re also full of plants and wildlife that make fantastic photo subjects with enough patience.
If you’re stuck for ideas while walking in a forest, check out these 10 tips for capturing hidden natural beauty.
Many photographers don’t consider their home to be among the best photography locations in the world. But some of the greatest photos and learning experiences come from everyday shoots around the home. That’s because you have the freedom to experiment at home. You don’t have to pack any bags or travel for hours; you can start shooting immediately, giving you more time for what really matters: practice.
Not convinced? Check out these 32 beautiful photos of everyday life for inspiration.
Many of the above photos were selected from our creative Flickr community. Do you have a favorite photography location? Share photos of it with the group so we can be inspired by your work!