Dubai is an interesting travel destination and a unique place for photographers to capture the essence of the Middle East.
The city holds futuristic skyscrapers and luxurious hotels that are contrasted with charming cultural markets filled with spices and pottery. Contemporary buildings display a sense of recent wealth and magnificence, but look just around the corner and you can spot historic remnants of old Dubai.
Photographers will find plenty of subjects that reflect the modern conventions of the UAE. The climate and weather are favourable, too–there are barely any rainy days outside of the winter months, and the daily conditions are somewhat predictable with clear days and lengthy sunsets.
If you’re planning an upcoming trip to the UAE, here are some of the best photography spots in Dubai.
Dubai Photography Tips:
- Dubai is a particularly good place for shooting architecture, so an extreme wide angle lens is an essential piece of gear to pack in your travel bag. Towering buildings such as the Burj Khalifa are so incredibly large that they won’t easily fit in a camera frame.
- Lens filters will also come in useful here. Many of these Dubai photography spots are situated beside bodies of water, so a polarising filter will work well to reduce any glare coming into your lens.
- The dry daytime heat can be intense in Dubai, especially during the summer months. Most of these photography spots will look their best in golden hour or blue hour, so plan to do most of your photography at those times (plus you can spend the remainder of your days relaxing by the hotel pool!).
Photography Spots in Dubai:
- Burj Khalifa Observation Decks
- Burj Al Arab Building
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Atlantis, The Palm Hotel
- Dubai Creek Harbour
- Dubai Frame
- Palace Hotel Downtown
- The Dubai Fountain
- Dubai Desert
Burj Khalifa Observation Decks
Let’s start with the most obvious Dubai photo spot–the Burj Khalifa. It may be touristy, but nothing compares to the views from the Burj Khalifa observation decks which make every other building in the city seem miniature in comparison. Currently the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa allows visitors to travel upwards to see Dubai from levels 124, 125, and 148.
The best angles for taking photos are looking north towards the massive freeway spaghetti intersection, or looking straight downwards towards Burj Khalifa Lake to the south. The best time to visit will be just after sunset when the city below starts lighting up, and remember you must buy your entrance tickets ahead of time.
Burj Al Arab Building
The Burj Al Arab building is a luxurious hotel designed to look like a sail facing the Persian Gulf. The nearby Jumeira Public Beach is a great location for photos of this iconic building on its man-made island beside the sea.
From here, you can also walk along the shore and look back towards the Jumeira Beach Hotel with its unique pointed shape. This area is a good location for outdoor model shoots, especially if you arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon for golden hour.
Dubai Miracle Garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is one of those places that frequently appears on the social media feeds of influencers visiting the UAE. Featuring a walkway of heart-shaped arches covered in flowers, a Disneyland-esque floral castle and clock, and an Emirates A380 plane covered nose to tail in flora, this is the perfect place to practice your garden photography.
This garden is open from mid-November to mid-May and is fairly large at 72,000 square metres, so plan to spend a few hours here exploring the park while you take photos.
Atlantis, The Palm Hotel
The Atlantis in Dubai is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable hotels in the world. The iconic pink facade with Arabian elements makes it look somewhat like a Disney castle inspired from both Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
The exterior of the building is best photographed from afar, and can be seen well from The Pointe, especially at night when the building is lit up during blue hour. Inside, the lobby is a popular Dubai Instagram spot with its pale pink decorative columns, and the aquarium is another well-visited destination for social media photographers.
Dubai Creek Harbour
Dubai Creek Harbour is one of the rare photo spots in Dubai where you won’t be competing for space with other tourists and photographers. Because the area is fairly new, there is no public transport access so you must catch a taxi to get here from the city.
On arrival, you’ll be treated to glorious skyline views over the river with the Burj Khalifa standing prominent above the other buildings. There are also some fun flamingo statues and arch sculptures that you can use as props in your photos. This is a great place to capture silhouettes at sunset, so visit during golden hour if possible.
One of Dubai’s most recent architectural arrivals is the Dubai Frame–a rectangular building in Zabeel Park with a large void in the middle through which downtown Dubai can be seen. You can go inside for views of the city, but the 150 metre tall building is most impressive from the outside and can be captured from any location in the surrounding park area.
This Dubai photo spot is a good option for capturing a frame within a frame in your photography. Visit during golden hour for the best lighting when the colours of the sky reflect off the golden facade.
Palace Hotel Downtown
The Palace Hotel Downtown has a superb view of the Burj Khalifa from its gorgeous interior courtyard. Hidden from view yet accessible to the public, the hotel swimming pool features a walkway that seems to float through the centre with palm trees lining either side and a picturesque yellow arch at the far end.
Visit this spot early in the day to find the pool at its quietest and catch the soft morning sunlight. And of course, don’t forget your wide angle lens to capture the full height of the Burj Khalifa in the background!
The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is comparable to the fountain show at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, only Dubai has somehow made the event even bigger and more exciting. Sitting in the middle of a 120,000 square metre man-made lake at the base of the Burj Khalifa, the fountain shoots water streams high into the air in a choreographed performance that runs every 30 minutes from 6PM-11PM.
The fountain can be seen from the observation decks at the Burj Khalifa for a top-down perspective, or you can capture them at ground level from the lakefront around Souk Al Bahar, Dubai Mall, or Burj Park by Emaar. Remember to take a tripod so that you can slow your shutter speed for the fountain show.
Nothing will make you appreciate this Middle Eastern location than a trip into the dry, sand-filled desert. Travellers to Dubai will undoubtedly be thrilled by the endless options for photography here.
A desert safari tour will take you out of the city on a half-day drive out to the dunes. Pick an afternoon option so that you can capture the sunset, along with footprints leading through the sand and camels wearing their decorative blankets. Make sure you fully charge your camera battery (and pack a spare in your camera bag!) in preparation for this photo-filled outing.