New Orleans is one of the most photogenic cities in the United States.
As one of the most photogenic cities in the US, photographing New Orleans is one of my favorite things to do. I will take you through the 15 things I think are musts when photographing New Orleans from a photographer’s perspective.
I tend to always look at things with a creative eye finding beauty and things worth capturing in so many places. Below, I will take you through my thought process, share photo tips, and some other helpful tidbits along the way. If you are planning your trip to New Orleans you’ll want to make a list as you definitely don’t want to miss these things.
Photographing the Colors of New Orleans
1: Colorful Doorways and Architecture
As you stroll through New Orleans you’ll notice that almost every single building is bursting with colors. Most notable are the beautiful doorways on homes and businesses. This is part of the heart and soul of New Orleans and something you’ll want to remember.
2: Pink might be the unofficial color of the city
One thing you will notice if you know to look is there really is a lot of pink buildings in New Orleans. I’m a big fan of a lovely shade of pink/coral so I am completely here for this. If you are a pink fan, too, keep your eyes peeled and you will see it everywhere.
3: Mardi Gras beads draping on everything
Another detail you will notice when photographing New Orleans are that Mardi Gras beads draped on everything. This is more prevalent in the Spring during Mardi Gras season, but often the beads linger in hard to reach places and with those who embrace them as a form of permanent decoration around town.
New Orleans has an eye for detail
4: Ceramic Street Name + floor Tiles
These are some of my favorite things to take pictures of throughout the city! I love how each one has its own character and unique look to it. It’s also fun to get your feet in here so you can remember what type of pants and shoes you used to wear, for posterity, of course!
5: Wrought and cast Iron Details
From wrought iron finials on top of fences to the balconies and galleries, you will find iron details all over the city. Keep an eye out, some of the detail is spectacular and makes for great photos that are distinctively New Orleans.
Fun Fact: What you think is a balcony may actually be a gallery! A BALCONY is a narrow platform that juts out from a building with no supporting beams. A GALLERY comes out over the sidewalk and often wraps around the building with support beams that reach the ground.
6: Swampy Situations
You know, I’ve been to the city nine times and my last trip was the first time we explored the swampland. Crazy, I. know, but I am so glad we did! Visiting the swamps will often be a drive just outside of the city but are tied into the culture and plans of many visitors so I added them to the list.
7: Huge, live oak trees
We visited these trees in Audubon Park and were blown away with how huge and knotted they were with large, draping trunks and moss hanging. These are not unique to New Orleans but definitely part of the nature experience and make for beautiful photographs.
8: Plant life in the city
Sometimes I forget that New Orleans is a sub-tropical climate with palm trees and other tropical-climate loving plant life. Mixed in with these tropical plants are beautiful trees and flowers and the combination makes for a wide variety of beautiful plant life and trees throughout the city. Keep an eye out for unique looking plants and trees with swirling branches reaching in all directions.
Memorable architecture and Interiors
9: Beautiful exteriors, funky interiors
Just about every building you see in New Orleans is going to be striking weather it’s old and peeling or new and trendy. Photograph your favorite spots to remember them always.
10: Spooky Alleys and Dreamy Courtyards
11: Cemeteries like you've never seen before
New Orleans is delicious
For me, experiencing the food scene is a huge part of travel. Many destinations have food that is very tied to their culture and who they are as a city. That’s why food is on this list. Sure, many people take food pictures but here are my tips on taking appetizing, beautiful food photos using your phone or cameras.
12: Red Beans & Jambalaya and so much more
Looking at these photos I just want to be back in New Orleans sitting at my little outdoor cafe table savoring the cajun flavors and spices. There’s lots of ways to photograph your food and while some may find this an obnoxious trend, don’t worry about them, they don’t care about memories as much as you do.
Tip: Be polite to those around you, not everyone wants to watch you stand on a chair to get the best shot of your food. My process? Take a few quick shots then put my phone away. This is really important if you are eating with someone and want to include their dish in your photo, don’t make them wait. Take a quick shot or two then let them eat their meal.
13: Beignets for days
I love beignets! Fluffy clouds of dough served over a pile of powdered sugar, what’s not to love? These make the list because it’s such a distinctive New Orleans experience that you should document eating them, at least once.
14: Silly Novelty Drinks
Ahhh, sugary sweet novelty drinks. I don’t spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street these days but it’s a must for everyone to experience at least once. While you’re there you will notice people walking around with silly drinks. Fishbowls, aliens, Jesters, hand grenades, Fleur de Lis shaped containers and so many more. These drinks are fun and some of them pack a punch so be careful as you may not realize how much you’re drinking through the sugary goodness. Okay, these aren’t always that good but they can be fun to drink when hanging out with your friends or walking around and people watching.
Tip: Not into alcohol? No worries. Some of these places offer alcohol-free versions. Just ask or look into it ahead of time so you know where to go.
15: Classy cocktails
New Orleans is known for so many drinks from the classic Hurricane to the Sazerac and so many more. Cocktails always make great photographs as they often get a very stylish treatment to them before they are handed to you. Who doesn’t want to remember that pretty drink?
Bonus: Photograph it even if you're not sure it's photo-worthy
Unless you are shooting with film, you should have an almost limitless amount of photographs you can take so don’t be afraid to take a few weird and random photos, especially if it helps you remember something about your trip. After all, photographs and memories are what you’ll bring back. I could keep making categories of things for you to photograph but I’ve covered some of the unique things New Orleans has to offer and hopefully it’s got your creative brain thinking of ideas and feeling inspired. Keep your eyes peeled as you never know what interesting things may pop up.