They’re classic, quintessential, and we could picture them with our eyes closed. What is it about these famous places that have had people snapping them since the camera was invented?
In no particular order, here are some of the world’s most stand-out, recognizable spots to photograph. Which of these have you seen – and which do you still want to?
1. The Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza
Is there a more iconic “traveling the world” photograph image than this? People have been going to see these since traveling for fun was invented, spending weeks to get there. Now, with aeroplanes and cars, we can visit in a fraction of the time. We, fortunately, no longer have to cart our cameras around in huge boxes. We can take almost exactly the same photographs that were taken all those years ago… and they are just as special as they ever were.
Early morning, with the rising sun hitting the East-Facing Sphinx, is considered one of the best times to photograph.
2. The Taj Mahal
(By the Reflecting Pool)
The grandeur and craftsmanship of this mausoleum have captivated travelers from all over the world. The massive white marble shapes and structures stand as a tribute to the lost wife of the emperor Shah Jahan, and can be found in many a serious traveler’s photograph book.
Not only the building itself, but the surrounding grounds have become part of the view. The most recognizable shot of the Taj Mahal is from the opposite side of the reflecting pool that runs towards the main building. People will wait for hours to get that shiver-inducing picture of the building reflected perfectly in the still water of the pool.
Seen with the Taj Express tour.
(In the Springtime)
The famous cherry blossoms of Japan are so celebrated that they have their own festival. These pink, fluffy flowers bloom between March and April, and are eagerly awaited each time. Every year, scientists do their. best to predict when the first blossoms can be expected. Picnics are held, photographs are taken, and everyone starts looking up.
Of course, there are many places in Japan where one can see these blossoms, but the contrast of them with the more modern aspects of Japanese culture can make for some fantastic imagery.
Seen in the Cherry Blossom Festival tour.
So this was a bit vague in terms of location, but all you need to do is make sure you are there in the winter time, on a clear night, and looking up. Then, you might be able to spot the aurora borealis. Otherwise known as the Northern Lights.
Despite the multitude of photographs of this phenomenon, it’s the kind of thing you really have to see in real life. You can spot it from a few different places, if you go far enough north, but Iceland has its own wilderness and charm that add to the otherworldly experience of the view.
Seen with the Northern Lights Exploration tour.
5. The Colosseum, Rome
(After Reading the Guidebook)
It was hard to choose just one of Rome and the Vatican’s incredible historic sites as being its most iconic. There are so many: the Pantheon, the Basilica, the Castello St Angelo, the Forum. Each of them has its own stories and legacies, and each is iconic in its own right. Rome remains one of the most photgraphed cities in the world, and for good reason. Remember those old-timey tourists I mentioned earlier? Rome would certainly have been on their list of places to visit.
But for being the most recognizable, I will have to go for the colosseum. The shape, the size, and the story of its orginal purpose are possibly the most well known of any historical building worldwide.
6. Niagara Falls
(As Close as You Can)
(Without Falling In)
Niagara falls technically encompasses three waterfalls, which form part of the border between the United States and Canada. And, yes, there is only really one thing you’re going to be photographing – the falls themselves – they are more than worth it.
Part of the beauty of travel is gaining perspective. You can see and appreciate the world while also beginning to understand how small you are in relation to the rest of it. Few things will bring that home quite as effectively as seeing these huge, rushing falls, carrying what seem to be the contents of an entire ocean over their edge.
Feeling brave? Try taking a boat down on the lake beneath to get up close and personal.
7. Machu Piccu
(From a Height)
This old Inca City has been around since the 15th Century. Viewing it is another chance to get that wonderful, world-enhancing perspective. The architecture and structure of the city itself immerses you, and you find yourself wondering what life must have been like for those who originally lived there. You look at the low wall stubs and try to rebuild them in your mind, imagining the city whole again.
For the best photographs, you may want to capture a view of the city as it is laid out. This means climbing. Machu Piccu itself is very high up, but you can climb even higher for that quintessential shot.
8. The Eiffel Tower
(From Another Tower)
Talk about classic. This is possibly one of the most instantly recognizable sights in the world. So much so that (you may also have noticed this) nearly every single movie that has a scene in Paris will somehow contrive to show you the tower through a window as the characters are speaking. In reality, you will have to wait to see it.
Some people would argue that it has, at this point, become too photographed. Cliché, in fact. I disagree. To me, it is the little black dress of traveling photographs. Classic, irreplaceable, and never out of style.
I will note, however, that if you are planning to travel to the top of the Eiffel Tower, you will immediately notice that it is definitely the one place in Paris where you definitely can’t get a photograph of the Eiffel Tower. For a good shot, I would recommend the Montparnasse Tower, which is worth a visit in its own right.
Seen with the Quintessential Burgundy tour.
Now, get out there and get snapping!