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!


Share Your Adventure
OPENING THIS SATURDAY, June 3rd, 10 am to 7 pm!  Splash-n-Dash Aqua Park is North America’s largest floating, inflatable water park.

Splash-n-Dash is located inside the Lake McSwain Recreation Area in Snelling, California, approximately 55 miles from Yosemite.

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Imagine looking up and seeing this. Captured here: the Merced River and a cloud-wrapped El Cap reminding us why we love spring so much. 

Reel by: @the.solofoto

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
It's going to be later in the summer before Glacier Point Road opens up... but you can still hike up to these views!  What do you think... worth it? 

Beautiful capture by @_mcastaneda_

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
Just when we thought Yosemite Falls couldn't be more stunning--here's Upper and Lower Falls basking in the glow of the early morning hours. 

Reel by: @codymayer22

#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #yosemitenation #yosemitenp #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenps #yosemitepark #california #californialove❤️ #californialove #roadtrip @YosemiteNation @yosemitenps @visitcalifornia @cahighsierra @visitgoldcountry
There's nothing like getting a front row seat to a spring storm in Yosemite! Tunnel View is a great place to watch moody weather roll through the valley.

Photo by: @elliotmcgucken

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