Photography and Yosemite National Park’s beautiful landscapes have gone hand in hand since the mid-1800s when photographers like Charles Weed and Carleton Watkins packed large-format cameras with glass plates into Yosemite Valley on mules. Their images were pivotal in sharing and ultimately protecting this landscape for future generations.

Today, modern photographers continue to flock to Yosemite to share its beauty with the world, to preserve memories of friends and families, and to make inspiring art. Amazing photographs lurk around every corner and turn in the trail. There is beauty underfoot in the form of delicate wildflowers and overhead in tall forests and white granite cliffs. Here are some tips on where to get the best photos in Yosemite.

Damian Riley Yosemite

Iconic Yosemite Photography Locations

Surrounded by all of these possibilities, it can be hard to know where to begin looking for a place to shoot. To get started, check out our list of Top 10 Places to Get the Shot. These are famous locations, with iconic views that have mesmerized people for decades. If you’re looking for pictures that are unmistakably Yosemite, this is your list. Remember to keep your camera handy on your way to Yosemite too. For example, if you travel up the Merced River along Highway 140, keep your eyes open for some of the beautiful scenes along the river and near El Portal.

Photographing Yosemite Across the Seasons

Many Yosemite snapshots show the landscape’s beauty under a cloudless blue sky. This is the scene that will greet most summer-time visitors. It makes for beautiful hiking weather and bright, sparkling images. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a truly unique Yosemite shot be sure to plan a trip for late fall, winter, or early spring. Serious photographers delight in the cloudy forecasts that accompany these seasons. They are looking for those ephemeral bursts of light, wisps of fog swirling through the trees in the valley, and the moody images that come with orange and pink clouds at sunset or sunrise.

yosemite moonbow guide
yosemite photography events

Unique Yosemite Photography Events

During particular moments in Nature’s regular rhythm of changing light and flowing water, everything comes together to create the most mystical and unique opportunities for photographers. And when they happen regularly, photographers from around the world travel to Yosemite for the chance to capture these unique moments.

Mist Opportunities: Guide to Seeing a Yosemite Moonbow

Guide to the Natural Yosemite Firefall 2023– Horsetail Fall Firefall

Discover the Best Spots With A Guide

Yosemite is a big place, and with so many beautiful locations and the ever-changing nature of the light, it can be helpful to have someone show you around. While there are many photographers from far away eager to lead trips to Yosemite, consider the advantage of spending that time with a truly local photographer – one that has been exploring this landscape during every spare moment for years, watching the light change with the seasons and developing an intimate knowledge of the park.

Share Your Favorite Photos & Photography Tips

What are your favorite locations and tips for Yosemite photography? There’s a vibrant community at YosemiteNation on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. Make sure you swing by for more photographic inspiration and be sure to share your favorite photos as well. We hope to see you there!

#YOSEMITENATION

Share Your Adventure
Making a vehicle reservation to enter Yosemite this summer is easy and planning for mid-week makes for a great way to explore the park and save big $$$$!
Psst! Slow your scroll and spend one minute in Yosemite Valley. We think you'll enjoy it.

Reel by: @shivu1205

Please note: 2024 Temporary Vehicle Reservations will be required to enter Yosemite this year on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until June 30th, then 7 days per week from July 1 to Aug. 16, and finally weekends and Monday holidays until Oct. 27th. Half-day reservations are also available this year and are easier to obtain.

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
Have you ever seen a lunar rainbow at Yosemite Falls? Many things need to line up just right in order for a moonbow to make an appearance. But when everything falls into place, the result is incredible.

Photo by: @cliftonwanders

Please note: 2024 Temporary Vehicle Reservations will be required to enter Yosemite this year on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until June 30th, then 7 days per week from July 1 to Aug. 16, and finally weekends and Monday holidays until Oct. 27th. Half-day reservations are also available this year and are easier to obtain.

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls as seen from above! It's pretty hard to top a vantage point like this, but no matter how you enjoy Yosemite -- from the trail, from the road, from home -- you'll be so glad you're there.

Reel by: @mjlazarski_fineart

Please note: 2024 Temporary Vehicle Reservations will be required to enter Yosemite this year on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until June 30th, then 7 days per week from July 1 to Aug. 16, and finally weekends and Monday holidays until Oct. 27th. Half-day reservations are also available this year and are easier to obtain.

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
Top-of-the-world views of Vernal Fall, as seen from Clark Point. If you're looking to try something different or experience your favorite places in Yosemite in a new way, head to Yosemite.com for recommendations!

Reel by: @c_shell_hike

Please note: 2024 Temporary Vehicle Reservations will be required to enter Yosemite this year on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until June 30th, then 7 days per week from July 1 to Aug. 16, and finally weekends and Monday holidays until Oct. 27th. Half-day reservations are also available this year and are easier to obtain.

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry