Taking unforgettable shots isn’t always easy for an amateur, but when you are in a dream location, pushing your own limits is possible. Idyllic locations for photos can be found around the world, but five spots stand out from the rest.
New York, New York
NYC is rarely far from the top of must-see lists. The Big Apple is dotted with photo-worthy spots, including the classic “tourist” photos and quirky images you discover yourself.
Mammoth buildings capture the throbbing creativity and cultural “pow” for which Manhattan is famous, and many offer top-of-the-world views. Rockefeller Center makes a formidable subject from the street, and, from the Top of the Rock’s observation decks, Instagram-ready shots of the Manhattan skyline abound.
Then there’s the photogenic One World Trade Center. Photos of the skyscraper with its sparkling glass tower can dazzle, but so can the 360-degree views snapped from its observation deck. Or plunge into the bustle of the Grand Central Terminal to capture the commute, the impressive constellation ceiling or close-ups of the oak leaf and acorn details.
For more star-power, the Plaza Hotel on Central Park is a favored getaway for crowned heads, movie stars and newsmakers. The recent renovations, including a forest of ceiling-high palm trees, create a lush, magical setting. Use them to frame your shot of the soaring stained-glass dome. Just outside the Palm Court’s revolving doors is that famous 800-acre park with Instagramable shot-spots of Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Loeb’s Boathouse and Belvedere Castle.
Pro Tip: if you’re snapping images that have snapped before, make yours stand out by shooting in rain or snow. Bad weather is an unexpected opportunity for the most beautiful NYC pictures.
From its site in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains adjacent to the Sahara Desert, Marrakech captivates visitors and photographers alike. The “Red City” is crammed with fabulous photo opportunities, from riad patios with intricate tile work to open-air markets.
Constructed as a fortified area, Marrakech’s walled old town, the Medina, is the cultural center of this ancient city. Wander its winding alleyways, camera ready, to capture moody shots of landmarks. Try shooting the Bahia Palace from the central fountain of the Grand Courtyard to include the palm trees behind it. Souks such as Souk el Attarine offer an endless array of subjects since these traditional markets overflow with textiles, spices and jewelry.
For more photo inspiration, consider Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech. Each of the elegant lodgings includes opulent patios with spectacular vistas of magnificently landscaped gardens and the rugged Atlas Mountains beyond.
Pro Tip: Wait for Morocco’s warm, early morning or eventide light for the best photos. The red walls of the city glow and the stunning colors pop from the lens.
The Best of Hawai’i
The eight islands set like jewels in the indigo Pacific are endlessly photogenic, but there’s something about Maui’s lush landscapes that charms photographers. Treat yourself to a Deluxe Ocean View Suite at the oceanfront oasis Fairmont Kea Lani, to snap exceptional shots of fiery sunsets off the Maui coast.
Picturesque Lahaina is a charming town with its famous Banyan Tree, the largest in the state and the unusual Black Rock Beach. If you are willing to roam for your adventure snaps, drive the Hana Highway. Its lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and gorgeous beaches are made for memorable shots. And don’t miss shooting the sunrise on Haleakala Crater with its stark volcanic landscape and magnificent views.
On the Big Island, Fairmont Orchid offers tropical gardens and cascading waterfalls, backed by a tranquil white sand beach. But the Big Island also offers unforgettable shots like the lava spills at the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hawai’i. Or head to the Waipio Valley Lookout to capture images of what Hawai’i was like long ago. Want to get closer to the rugged coastline? Take a shuttle tour or hike into this sacred spot.
Pro Tip: Take a tripod and use long exposures for your water shots. It makes waterfalls, streams, and even waves look smooth and ethereal.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Anyone seeking wildlife photo opportunities of a lifetime cannot do better than Kenya. Think lions, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, and zebras. Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve is home to the great wildebeest migration where herds of more than a million animals head north from Serengeti National Park, traversing a river of hungry crocodiles. But the vast array of African wildlife above and beyond the migration are one reason the Reserve is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club is located in the Reserve at the foot of Aitong Hills. It is as unique as the Reserve itself, with its luxuriously furnished tents and private decks overlooking the hippo-filled Mara River. The outdoor swimming pool, lounge and restaurant create a delightful and exciting backdrop to your stay.
It’s worth getting up before the sun rises for a crack-of-dawn hot air balloon safari, with large, bright balloons shot against the Mara savannah or clear sky. A visit to a traditional Maasai village allows you to snap Kenya’s cultural heritage.
Pro Tip: Get up and out early with your camera, even before the sun comes up. More wildlife will be active and the light is glorious.
Stunning Scenes from Lake Louise
Banff National Park is renowned for its soaring mountain peaks, glaciers and emerald lakes, all prime material for a photographer ready to go hiking. Snap the best sunrise and sunset shots of Moraine Lake (and the reflected snow-tipped mountains) from the top of the Rockpile Trail. Or visit Lake Louise at sunrise for shoreline shots. Narrow Johnston Canyon, with its electric blue river, is both spectacular and photo ready. The hike up is steep but worth it.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers luxury lodging and an exceptional setting. Try combining indoors and outdoors for the unexpected contrast. Frame the elegant interior of the grand, century-old Victoria Ballroom near a window showcasing snow-capped mountains.
Pro Tip: The landscapes in Banff are so huge, it’s hard to capture their size in a photo unless you include people for scale and to establish the sheer enormity of the mountains.
While these five destinations are easy picks for a photogenic destination, each Fairmont hotel offers an equally stunning backdrop for a memorable stay. Which one will you choose for your next photo-focused adventure?