No matter you’re a professional/amateur photographer or an avid traveler who’d like to records snatches of travel experience through photos, Yunnan, one of the best photography destinations in China, can always inspire you to capture awesome images.Its diverse landscape, 50+ ethnic minority groups, dozens of alive or sleepy ancient towns and villages can make interesting and exciting photography opportunities that you couldn’t get anywhere else.
>> Check out our round-up of Yunnan Photography Tours for wonderful photographic experience.
1. Photograph Amazing Nature
Jewel-like plateau lakes, Meili Snow Mountain (Kawakarpo), Stone Forest, Bingzhongluo shared by both immortals and mortals, Black-necked cranes’ habitation – Dashanbao Nature Reserve – with vast wetlands and grasslands, deep gorges, big mountains shrouded in the clouds – you’ll discover nature at its best in Yunnan.
Best places to photograph Yunnan nature: Shangri-La, Nujiang, Zhaotong, Lijiang
2. Photograph Yunnan’s Colorful Lands
Yunnan’s vast lands including the rural farm lands where various crops grow and mist covered mountainous lands are especially colorful, beautiful and striking – photographers can expect magnificent visual impact and awesome shots. Image yourself shooting at the Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Dongchuan Red Land and the incredible multi-color lands of Wumeng Mountain and Bingzhongluo. The lights of sun, no matter when it raises or sets, will be contributors for amazing photos.
3. Rare Chances to Get the Best Portraits
Deep in the mountainous area of Yunnan, various kinds of tribal people live a reclusive life at remote villages and created a bygone world that is far away from the modern civilization. You’ll see another side of China few tourists will ever see. Get the rare opportunity to capture portrait photography of these friendly and unsophisticated tribal people - when they are working hard on the rice terraces with their cattle, exchanging goods at the market, making breakfast, cooking daily meals, drinking tea or simply sitting there smiling and chatting with you. Perhaps you may be very interested in the Dulong women living in Nujiang of Yunnan, who have tattoo covering their faces.
Best places in Yunnan to photograph tribal people: Shangri-La, Nujiang, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Lijiang, Daliangshan (border of Yunnan and Sichuan)
4. Capture Traditional Festivals of Minority Groups
There are 51 different minority groups of people living in Yunnan, who have been keeping their unique cultures, customs and celebrating traditional festivals for a thousand years, such as Dai people’s Water-splashing Festival, Torch festival of Yi Nationality, March Street of Bai, Moon Festival of Lahu, Knifeladder-Climbing Festival of Lisu… At these grand festivals, the local happy people, dressed in colorful traditional costumes, play beautiful music, sing and dance, and participate various fun activities. All of these make for great festival images.
Best places in Yunnan to photograph minority festivals: Dali, Shaxi, Shangri-La, Lijiang, Honghe, Xishuangbanna
5. Do Some Unique Outfit Photography
Each of Yunnan’s 51 ethnic minority groups has their own unique amazing outfits. And you’ll find many are so very exaggerated that people are not likely to wear them in everyday life. But the locals just do that and hope their costumes – an initial part of the culture and traditions will be appreciated by others. The women’s outfits usually consist of a beautiful, colorful dress, an exaggerated headdress and a set of jewelry (can be very exaggerated and worn only during the important events and festivals). The men’s outfits are much simple, but also unique.
Best places in Yunnan to photograph minority people’s Outfit: Shangri-La, Dali, Lijiang, Honghe, Xishuangbanna
6. Photograph the Old Towns
If you’re capturing Yunnan’s old town images – there’re good opportunities that you’ll be up work with many wonderful old stuffs and the last remaining corners of ancient China, including various kinds of traditional dwelling houses, beautiful architectures decorated with carved beams and painted pillars, hundreds year-old stone arch bridges, exquisite and story-telling memorial archway, churches perhaps with an traditional Chinese exterior… - it is interesting to record all these with your camera, as modern China rushes forward.
Best Places in Yunnan to Photograph ancient towns: Lijiang, Dali, Shaxi, Jianshui, Weishan, Shangri-La & Tuanshan Village
7. Capture Seas of Flowers
The endless farms of canola flower are truly breathtaking. Every year, from Middle February till the end of March, the lands in Luoping, South Yunnan, instantly transform a setting into bright golden seas flowing through mountains and villages. Find yourself the classic photo sites with limestone peaks dot in the canola flower farms, which is completely otherworldly. The sunrise and sunset lights can surely help to capture beautiful shots.
8. Capture Unique Foods and Gastronomic Scenes
When photographing in Yunnan, you are likely to be fascinated with various gastronomic scenes at the local markets, streets and families. The autofocus will know exactly where to focus – the foods and people who are making them. Yunnan boasts a wide spectrum of local foods and snacks, with beautiful color blending, unique forms, interesting back stories and interesting cooking process.