Top locations for photo shoots in New Mexico

By Colton Newman

As anyone who has spent any time in New Mexico knows, there are countless locations in our vast state to take photos. This list will serve as a good starting point, given the locations listed are already breathtaking and will give your pictures a winning setting.


Old Town Plaza in Santa Fe — The Old Town Plaza in Santa Fe is many things; it’s first and foremost a historical site with a traditional Spanish-American colonial layout that draws in hundreds of tourists each day, it’s a shopping destination as well, lined with upscale shops and galleries and has amazing restaurants within walking distance, and it’s also a hot spot for photographers. The Santa Fe Plaza has many photo shoot benefits. The first is that it is an excellent rally point for photographers and their subjects to meet, it’s easy to find, also given it’s a very public space it will make new subjects more comfortable meeting for the first time. The Plaza is most photogenic around the spring and winter time. In the spring the tree’s new leaves pop with brilliant greens and bushes and planters are loaded with a rainbow of flowers. In the winter time the Plaza is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights that will make for a memorable photo for years to come.


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Balloon Fiesta — During the first few weeks in October the Albuquerque skies are littered with hundreds of colorful hot air balloons — the full effect of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta taking place. During the two-week period when thousands of tourists from all around the world come to Albuquerque, there are an overflow of photo opportunities. Starting at the Balloon Park itself. If you can manage to find an open spot to work with you can have an ever-changing background as balloons inflate and take off — every picture will be different. Many photographers, however, end up taking photos just within the park, missing opportunities to take advantage of the colorful sky seen all over the city. Other locations that are possible photo destinations during the Balloon Fiesta are the foothills at the top of Tramway. Another spot that could offer unique pictures is the Bosque, given many balloons take off and fly directly over the river it’s definitely a spot to witness something many people might overlook.


White Sands — Just a three hour drive from Albuquerque, White Sands is one of the most visited locations in New Mexico and is easily one of the hottest spots for photo shoots, whether just for fun, or for engagement shoots, fashion shoots or any kind of shoot that you’re doing, White Sands is an incredibly photogenic place. It’s almost hard to get a bad picture while there. It’s best to aim for photos in the morning and the evening given it’s easy to have the white sand be blown out during the middle of the day. After a while it’s possible for a set of images to start looking the same, in this case White Sands is a great place to bring flashes, lights and other photography accessories to make your images pop just a bit more.


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Petroglyphs —  The Petroglyphs are located on the outskirts of the Albuquerque’s West Side, they consist of hundreds of ancient drawings etched into the sides of black volcanic rocks. This photo destination works best during the early morning while the sunrise is still full of unique colors, and during the late sunset when the sky is full of oranges and reds. The Petroglyphs offer the best of the desert aspect for pictures with a dynamic background, and offer great opportunities for subjects to sit and pose on rock piles. This is truly a New Mexico only photo opportunity.


The Jemez — The Jemez is a vast setting full of tons of hidden photography gems. The Jemez contains lakes, rivers, dense forests, wide open plains and a handful of hot springs. Most of the photography locations are easily accessible and easy to find. The Jemez, like most locations, offers its best image opportunities during the morning and in the evening. The most remarkable images come during the fall in the Aspen forest when the usually green forest turns golden and offers a natural glow to pictures. The hot springs found in the Jemez serve as a fun day trip as well as a fun photo shoot destination, during the winter time when the steam fills the air pictures take on a fairy tale esque quality. When out on a shoot in the Jemez just remember to gas up, bring sunscreen and plenty of water.


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Colton NewmanComment