Updated: May 9
As the U.S.'s most European, city New Orleans is a place unlike any other in America, which makes it the perfect place to get creative with your photography. With its vibrant culture and unique architecture, New Orleans offers endless opportunities for stunning photographs. Here are 15 great photography ideas for capturing the essence of the Crescent City.
1. French Quarter Street Scenes – Take a stroll through the French Quarter and capture the hustle and bustle of the streets. From the colorful buildings to the unique characters that make up the city, the French Quarter is always a great place to start. Taking pictures here is a great way to capture the vibrancy and energy of this iconic neighborhood. Visitors can expect to find a variety of people, buildings, and art, all of which make this a great spot for photography. The combination of old and new architecture, traditional ironwork balconies, street performers, and of course, the lively music of the city, create a unique atmosphere that photographers love. The warm sunlight of the city gives photos a soft and inviting look, so even a novice photographer can take a picture that looks like a pro. Whether one is a professional or just a passerby, the streets of the French Quarter provide a great opportunity to capture a bit of this spectacular city.
2. Mardi Gras – Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to New Orleans to experience the biggest party of the year. Rich in cultural symbolism and steeped in decades of tradition and celebration, photos during Mardi Gras capture a vibrant and splendid atmosphere of imbibing, dancing, and music. Photographers of all levels often choose to capture the colorful parades, featuring elaborately dressed King and Queen krewes, with their hand-made floats, marching bands, and dancing groups traipsing through the expansive French Quarter. Many photographers love capturing the revelers themselves, wearing outrageous costumes, dancing in the streets, and engaging in the eccentric and risque behaviors that you only find in the city during Carnival season. Photography at Mardi Gras is a visual feast with endless opportunities to capture the vibrancy, excitement, and spirit of the season.
3. Superdome – The Superdome, the iconic home of the New Orleans Saints and the most symbolic piece of the New Orleans skyline, is the perfect place to get creative with your photography. If inside, try shooting the stadium from different angles and focus on details like the scoreboards and crowds. Photographers capture its magnificence in a variety of ways; from aerial photography to closer ground-level perspectives, the Superdome adds an interesting and distinct look to its neighborhood and is the perfect subject for photographers of all levels. Whether it's capturing the unique shape of the uppermost dome, broadcasting the rich clover that circles the building, or highlighting the sheer size of the structure, photography of the Superdome is a wondrous thing to behold!
4. Jazz Fest – The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival is an annual festival that brings together some of the world’s best music artists, from all music genres, from local acts to the biggest global icons. Capture the freedom, energy, and passion of the festival with photos of the performers, crowds, and festive atmosphere. It can be difficult to compose just a few shots, as colorful characters and images fill the festival grounds. There is always a new angle to practice, a new smile to catch, a dramatic juxtaposition that can tell a story all its own. For any photographer, the Jazz Fest is an opportunity to truly capture the soul of an amazing, music-filled city.
5. Mississippi River – The Mississippi River is a sight to behold, and it’s a great place to practice landscape and cityscape photography. Capture the river in all its glory with wide-angle shots of the waterfront or with close-ups of the boats, barges, and other vessels that make up the river traffic. With the magnificent sunsets and the iconic bridge, it's an awesome backdrop to capture some beautiful memories. The river is also home to an array of wildlife and diverse vegetation, which makes it the ideal location for images of nature. With early evening's long shadows, there is something truly captivating about the light and texture found along the banks of the Mississippi. Whether you are looking for creative or documentary photos, or just want to capture a timeless moment, the Mississippi River in New Orleans will be a photogenic experience to recall for years to come.
6. City Park – City Park is one of New Orleans’ most beloved landmarks, and is popular place for photographers to hone their skill. This massive city green space has many areas to photograph. Start by shooting the trees, ponds, and sculptures, or focus on the city skyline in the background. From the lush green grass in the springtime to the majestic trees tower over the pathways in the fall, it is no wonder why photography enthusiasts flock to the park from all over the world. With numerous areas to explore, from forests with towering oak trees and Spanish moss, to miles of picturesque walking trails, City Park is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you’re capturing the live oaks in the early morning fog or the vibrant poppies in bloom in the meadow, City Park’s spectacular landscape is a photographer’s dream. With so many options to explore, no visit is ever the same!
7. Garden District – The Garden District is the perfect place to capture the timeless beauty of New Orleans. Take a walk through the neighborhood and photograph the elegant mansions, lush gardens, and cobblestone streets. Its picturesque streets lined with grandiose mansions and lush green gardens creates a perfect setting for any type of photography. Whether you’re capturing the vibrant live oak trees and wild foliage or the alluring architecture with its old New Orleans charm, the Garden District offers a wide variety of photographic scenes. With its European-style architecture, New Orleans Garden District is one of the most photogenic locations. Street corners and pleasant alleys provide unique perspectives and interesting subjects. The charming iron fences, gas lamps and brick walls further enhance the beauty of the Garden District. With the right camera and creative eye, it is easy to capture the beauty and captivating history of this unique place in New Orleans.
8. Voodoo – Voodoo is an important part of New Orleans’ history and culture, and it’s a great subject for photography. Try shooting the altars and offerings at Marie Laveau’s historic tomb or photograph a live voodoo ceremony. Photographers are particularly keen to capture scenes of Voodoo in the city’s voodoo district - the Treme neighborhood. It is here that the soulful beliefs of the Voodoo community are complemented by spectacular visuals of drums in the streets, beaded hoops on trees, and candlelit rituals. Photographers often create portraits of practitioners, immortalizing moments of prayer, ritual, and mysticism. Voodoo photography is a captivating experience for both photographer and viewer - allowing us to feel a connection to this ancient art form and understand the beauty and power of Voodoo in New Orleans.
9. Streetcars – Streetcars are an iconic part of New Orleans’ public transportation system, and they’re perfect for photography. Try capturing the streetcars as they wind through the city or focus on details like the old-fashioned signs and advertisements. From the iconic Saint Charles Avenue line to the historic Canal Street line, from the quaint Riverfront line to the new Rampart/St. Claude line, New Orleans streetcars provide photographers with a myriad of rich, diverse and vibrant photographic subject matter. From the ornate carvings and wrought iron details, to the ambiance of the scene around you, streetcar photography in New Orleans can be quite captivating. With the bright, sunny days and deep blues of the Louisiana skies, capturing a striking streetcar shot can be quite rewarding. As a bonus, the distinctive designs, markings and patinas of the streetcars themselves make for wonderful photographic opportunities in the cityscape.
10. Cemeteries – The cemeteries of New Orleans are some of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the city. Capture the atmosphere with shots of the ornate tombs and mausoleums, or focus on the cemetery’s unique architecture and symbols. The city's cemeteries are an essential part of the city's culture and identity, with some being home to tombs upwards of 200 years old. The cemetery's ancient tombs, treelined pathways, and crumbling statuaries create an atmosphere of the old South and are excellent subjects for photographers. The cemeteries are especially popular after dark, when the old graves, mausoleums and crypts take on a different kind of beauty. Photographers who visit the New Orleans cemeteries can capture a glimpse of the city's past, capturing images of its rich history and culture unlike anywhere else in the world.
11. Frenchmen Street – Photography on New Orleans' famed Frenchman Street offers a unique insight into the local culture. From the eclectic street performers and vibrant murals to the flavorful cafés and alluring jazz bars, there's something for photographers of all skill levels to explore. Whether you’re aiming to capture the life of the locals or the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere of the city, Frenchman Street offers some of the best emerging photography scenes in the world. With its historic buildings, colorful culture and dynamic street performers, the photography opportunities in this area are seemingly endless.
12. Bourbon Street – Bourbon Street is the epicenter of New Orleans’ nightlife and it’s a great place for capturing the city’s wild side. Photography on New Orleans' Bourbon Street captures a unique essence of the city that cannot be found anywhere else. With its atmosphere of adventure, mystery, and celebration, the colorful architecture, jazz music, and bustling energy of Bourbon Street make for an almost indescribable place. Wild neon signs, beautifully decorated balconies, street performers and the crowd gathered from all over the world create an unparalleled setting for photos. From portraits to landscapes, Bourbon Street photography has to be seen to be believed and captures the very soul of this one-of-a-kind city.
13. Cajun Country – Take a drive through the rural areas of Louisiana and capture the unique culture of the Cajun people. the region offers a wealth of photographic possibilities. From the wetlands and swamplands to the iconic live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, the area provides a unique backdrop to capture wildlife, landscapes and the people of the region. Additionally, the unique cuisine, music, and festivals provide many interesting subjects to capture with a camera. With its diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and plentiful wildlife, Cajun Country is a fantastic backdrop for any photographer. Try shooting the old-style homes, traditional bayou boats, and wild animals that make up the landscape.
14. Bywater – The Bywater is an up-and-coming neighborhood in New Orleans and it’s a great place to explore with your camera. The streets of Bywater are dotted with vibrant murals and bright buildings that make for a colorful and inviting backdrop for all kinds of photographic opportunities. You can find photographs of street musicians, people enjoying the laid-back vibe in the local cafes and bars, and even stories about the diverse people of the neighborhood itself. With the world-famous New Orleans Jazz Fest, the vibrant Mardi Gras and the many festivities year-round, the Bywater neighborhood offers a unique range of photographic experiences that are sure to be remembered.
15. Swamp Tours – Take a trip to the swamp and capture the beauty of the bayou. Many of the unique, mysterious creatures of the swamps make great photo subjects. From alligators and turtles, to turtles, birds and other wild life, the diverse range of wildlife gives photographers plenty of options. The combination of natural beauty, adventure and thrills make Louisiana swamp tours an ideal destination for photography and exploration. A clear sky and the stillness of the swamps make for breathtaking photographs, while the guided tours can help photographers find hidden gems of swamp life. For those who are passionate about photography, spending a day or two on a swamp tour is an unforgettable experience.
No matter where you choose to explore in New Orleans, you’ll be sure to find plenty of opportunities to capture stunning photographs. So grab your camera and get creative – the possibilities are endless.