The 8 Most Beautiful Places In The World (And How To Photograph Them)
Perhaps the one thing that’s more difficult than searching for the world’s most beautiful places is documenting the scene.
Recognizing this, luxury website VeryFirstTo.com recently conducted a survey on more than 700 discerning members and launched a $93,167-trip based on their findings.
As a sneak preview of Capture the World’s 10 Most Photogenic Settings In One Vacation, I asked several photography experts to review the itinerary and share their top tips in shooting some of the locations.
Here’s their take.
#1: BALI (UBUD), INDONESIA
“There’s much more to the beautiful rice terraces than the primordial green perfection and the intricate layers of textures without buildings on a massive scale. As the color and heart of Bali, the stunning scenery also tells a story of human history and Balinese people’s deep connection to the land.” —Emily Nathan, Contributing Lifestyle Advertising Photographer for The Ritz Carlton and Editor-in-chief of Tiny Atlas Quarterly
TIP: “My approach is generally two-fold when it comes to photographing tourist attractions. One option is to get up so early that even the most iconic destinations tend to be empty. That’s also when you get better lighting. The other option is to include travelers in the photos, which involves stepping back, looking at the people and the way they interact with the landscape. By showing a person in a massive landscape, it helps the viewers gauge the scale of a place.”
#2: GRAND CANYON, USA
“Beyond the expansive canyon view, there’s something to be said for the beauty of Grand Canyon when there’s a spot named after a renowned artist. That’s Moran Point—named after 19th century landscape painter Thomas Moran—where you can find dynamic geologic color symbolic of the grand American West.”—Sara Bateman, Contributing Photographer for #mytinyatlas and Park Ranger at the National Park Service
TIP: “My golden rule is to wake up early, so you can arrive the location before sunrise for the best lighting. While it’s by no means impossible to take beautiful photos during other times of the day, it’s much easier to showcase all the intricate details of the rocks and surrounding areas if you’re willing to be an early riser. Instantly, it can make your photos 90% nicer.”
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#3: HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
“Despite its troubled history, Vietnam remains one of the most beautiful places on earth, both for its people and the landscape. In particular, there’s a timeless quality about Halong Bay with its unique geological creations and traditional fishing boats in search of a big catch.”—Mark Edward Harris, Freelance Travel Photographer for Vanity Fair and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine and creator of The Travel Photo Essay (Focal Press; September 2017)
TIP: “Here’s a personal tip that goes against the old Kodak manual: Capture the image while aiming the camera directly toward the sun at the edges of the day. By underexposing the scene, you can snatch dramatic silhouettes of old fishing boats plying its waters. While photographing from a boat, make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to avoid camera shake. That’s usually a minimum of 1/500th of a second with safer shutter speeds being at 1/1000th of a second or faster.”
#4: HIMALAYAS, NEPAL
“To me, the beauty of Himalayas extends beyond its breathtaking views. Humbling as it may be to visit the world’s tallest mountain, it’s the culture of the mountain villages and the friendly locals that keep me coming back.”—Annapurna Mellor, Contributing Photographer for National Geographic
TIP: “For more unique photos, explore the local culture, people and food in your journey. For instance, prayer flags at stupas can add color to your photos, while villages perched on mountain ridges can enrich context. As for gear, traveling light is usually the way to go, but I’d recommend bringing a 24-70mm lens for all-round travel photography and 70-200mm lens for detailed shots of the mountains. Also, batteries could freeze during sunrise, so make sure you warm them up a few minutes beforehand.”
#5: PETRA, JORDAN
While most visitors head straight to the Monastery or Treasury, I found the most beautiful views to be in the Dana to Petra portion of the new Jordan Trail. My personal favorite is the back entrance of Petra where the Monastery’s spires peek through the top of the rocks. It’s magical.”—Michaela Trimble, Contributing Photographer for Travel + Leisure and National Geographic
TIP: “Although it’s easy to get lost in the architecture, don’t forget the incredible textures, patterns, and colors of the stone. Up-close shots make for great abstract prints. Generally, I suggest shooting with a DSLR and a fixed lens. You may find fixed lens a little limiting when it comes to framing options, but it will bring out creativity when capturing micro shots within a greater landscape.”
#6: PLAIN OF TEMPLES, BAGAN, MYANMAR
“Perhaps my favourite sunrise is at the Temples of Bagan. When the misty golden light settles over the plains and the balloons take flight, the scene is otherworldly.”—Annapurna Mellor
TIP: “Bring a zoom lens (think 70-200mm) plus (possibly) a tripod when the light is still low. Among the pagodas that offer incredible views, Shwesandaw Pagoda ranks number one on my list. However, there are times when the pagoda can get crowded, in which case the Low ka Oushang Pagoda is a quieter alternative. Lastly, remember to take photographs of the pagodas, people and snippets of local life. They will add context to the sunrise shots.”
#7: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
“The beauty of Rio lies in its diversity. It has everything—impressive mountain views, sunny beaches, sprawling cityscapes and thought-provoking favelas. The city and its people are vibrant and full of life. Everywhere you point your camera, there is something interesting to capture.”—Tyson Wheatley, Freelance Photographer for Tinker Street and a contributor to Tiny Atlas Quarterly
TIP: “It’s worth investing in a drone to capture the dramatic city views. Drone laws in Brazil are very user friendly—You shouldn’t encounter resistance as long as you follow common sense and respect other people’s privacy. However, theft can be a major concern in Rio. So exercise caution and keep your expensive camera gear hidden while not in use.”
#8: TORRES DEL PAINE, PATAGONIA, CHILE
“As one of Chile’s most beautiful national parks, Torres del Paine is stunning at virtually every turn. Awasi Patagonia has the most spectacular view of the Torres del Paine Range.”—Michaela Trimble
TIP: “The changing landscape color from rose to heathered purple plus sighting of flamingos will likely call for a telephoto lens. No matter your horizon of choice, make sure you’re prepared for the volatile weather. So bring a waterproof camera pack and always keep a rain jacket handy.”
At $93,167 per couple, this trip includes organization of travel (Business Class), airport transfers, car hire, accommodation (Junior suites where available), plus four top cameras of 2017 by Fujifilm, Panasonic and Sony. Other destinations include: Bora Bora, French Polynesia; and Great Barrier Reef, Australia.