As a native to Las Vegas (and a photographer), I'm frequently asked by friends, family, or just people I meet along the way, "Adam, where are the best places to get photos of Las Vegas?". This is actually somewhat of a tricky question because the places I know that are awesome places to photograph in Vegas are a lot different than the needs of your average tourist so in a future blog, I'm going to offer some of my favorite hot spots to get photos here in Sin City. For now though, I just want to stick to the basics. So for all you tourists coming to Las Vegas and want to get your picture taken in front of something memorable from your trip, here is my Top Ten Places to Take Photos in Las Vegas (in no particular order):
10. The Fremont Street Experience. Located in downtown Las Vegas, this is an experience like no other you've seen before. Fremont Street is one of the most historic areas of Las Vegas with the first hotel opening in the city at that location. As the area grew, the brightly lit casinos made the area a nightly attraction seen by millions. In 1994 a five block area of the street was closed to the public and construction began to make it a pedestrian-only area of shops and kiosks with a canopy 90 feet tall and 1,500 long. Re-Opening in 1995, this canopy over Fremont Street is a free attraction that, with over 12 million LED lights, provides an audio/visual show every 30 minutes starting at dusk with themes ranging from holidays to music to "Viva Las Vegas". It's a great place to get photos for sure!
9. The Fountains at Bellagio. Set in a 9 acre man made lake, these fountains in front of the Bellagio are a favorite photo op for almost everyone coming to Las Vegas. Whether you shoot them in the day or night, this breathtaking show makes for some awesome photos for you and your family. It's also a real hot spot for newlyweds as well. The fountain show usually goes off every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes after 8 PM and shows may be canceled if there are high winds. You will want to consult the
Bellagio Hotel & Casino website for details on show times. A few quick photo tips though…In the afternoon, the sun will be setting over the top of the hotel creating a back light. Even though you will be shooting in bright light, your photos may look terrible from the shadows so be sure to turn on your camera flash to compensate for this.
8. Atop the Stratosphere Tower. Built back when Bob Stupak was still a name in Las Vegas, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States at 1,149 feet. The outdoor observation deck provides you with an incredible panoramic view of Las Vegas and while many take their photos from the indoor observation deck below, the photos shot there look terrible due to the reflections of the angled glass so be sure to take your photos on the outside. In the winter, this area can be quite cold and a bit windy so if you are planning your shots to be taken from November through March, be prepared to dress warm. Because of its central location, you get awesome views of The Las Vegas Strip, Downtown Las Vegas, and everything in between.
7. The Welcome To Las Vegas Sign. This is kind of a no-brainer for anyone on a Las Vegas vacation. The sign, built in 1959 is a real icon of Las Vegas and you would be remiss if you didn't get at least one fun photo there. In the past it was a real challenge to get to the sign but due to a renovation project in 2008, there is now a parking lot adjacent to the sign making access to it quite simple. For everything you ever wanted to know about shooting at the sign, please read my past blog about
6. Hoover Dam. One of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, Hoover dam is an engineering triumph. Completed in 1936, the dam has undergone a recent renovation to their visitor center and tour of the inner workings of Hoover Dam. It's definitely a great way to spend a day outside the bright lights and slot machines of Las Vegas and definite place to get some amazing photos!
5. The Fountains at Caesars Palace. Yes, more fountains. Caesars Palace was the first high luxury hotel in Las Vegas and remains today as an ultimate destination in Las Vegas. There are so many places to get great photos inside Caesars Palace including the Joe Louis statue currently on display in the sports book, the two moving statue shows inside the Forum Shops, and much more. But a really amazing place to get photos is on the sidewalk on Las Vegas Blvd. facing the property. There you get an amazing backdrop of the Caesars Palace fountains and one you will treasure for years to come.
4. Red Rock Natural Conservation Area (Red Rock Canyon). Just a few minutes drive outside of Las Vegas is a unique outdoor experience unlike any you will see in the world. The one-way scenic loop drive through the area is a 13-mile curvy road (perfect for your favorite sports car or motorcycle) that takes you through a visual tour of the area. There are numerous stops along the loop with hiking trails and picnic tables. If you are going in the summer, be sure to pack plenty of sun screen as the elevation causes easy sun burns and you definitely need to bring a camera for some memorable nature photos of Las Vegas.
3. Canal Shops at the Venetian Hotel. Nothing says "tourist" quite like a man-made recreation of the famous canals of Venice, Italy. Complete with singing gondola drivers, the canal shops are a beautiful area to get some amazing photos.
2. The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens of Bellagio.Updated for major holidays and seasons, the Bellagio botanical gardens is a must see location in Las Vegas. The stunning floral designs and artistry here will take your breath away. For an amazing backdrop for any photo, you will find little better than this in Las Vegas. Your best bet is to plan on photos early in the morning or late at night as the crowds gather in large numbers during the day and evening.
1. Mirage Volcanos. "Performing" at the top of every hour, this is the first of the major free outdoor attractions created by Steve Wynn when the property opened in November of 1989. In 2008, renovations to the volcano were performed creating an even more awe-inspiring experience. Complete with sounds of actual volcanic eruptions, lighting, and huge fire balls, this is something you definitely want to experience in the evening.
If you are ever traveling to Las Vegas and would rather leave the picture taking to someone else, email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you those professional photos you are looking for during your visit to beautiful Las Vegas.