As a first-time freelance photographer in Dubai, you need to know that photography comes with restrictions. For instance, you are not allowed to whip your camera out and take pictures of government sites and military buildings. Taking photos of aircraft at the airport and people unaware requires special clearance. There are places where you can take pictures and where photography is prohibited unless under special permission. Most hotels, resorts, and public spaces require approval from management or authority to capture images or arrange a photoshoot.
However, there are several beautiful phenomenons and structures that you can capture nonetheless. From the dunes in the desert to the tallest building in the world, it is clear that there are many exciting scenes worth recording. Human-made beaches and lakes have put the country on a higher level in terms of architectural advancement. The old city of Dubai stands as a relic for many centuries of dynasties and cultures. There is much to see and to freeze in time.
Some of what to expect are listed as follows:
8 Things To Photograph In Dubai
Dubai is among the most developed countries in the world today; many beautiful places offer marvelous and rare things worth capturing. Below are things exclusive to Dubai that you can photograph while on tour. However, it should not be exercised in restricted areas and assets.
1. Ancient Architecture In Old Dubai
Old Dubai provides a true pictorial of traditional Dubai. Many buildings are ancient and have undergone restoration. It gives the city a rich heritage and a well-portrayed history through its antique architecture. Some of the old buildings in the town have been declared a heritage site. Going through the alleys and along the creek in a boat gives different perspectives to a freelance photographer in Dubai with a keen interest in antiques.
2. Camel Racing Track
UAE has several racing tracks. The closest one to Dubai is the Al Marmoum race track. Located approximately forty kilometers south towards Al Ain, Al Marmoum is the largest and the most famous race track in Dubai. Minor races occur throughout the year, but grand events take place between October to April and during the winter season. Most races occur on Fridays and Saturdays during the morning hours. Photography is, however, not restricted, and you can take photos during the races.
3. Flowers And Butterflies In Miracle Garden
The miracle garden is undoubtedly the worlds’ most extensive natural flower garden. It consists of a flower garden and an indoor butterfly sanctuary, which offers a stunning display of over 45 million flowers and over 15,000 butterflies, which have made the garden their habitat. It is located in Al Barsha South 3 in Dubailand, along Umm Suqeim Road, roughly a 20-minute drive from Mall of the Emirates. You can rent a private car, if you have experienced driving in the UAE, hire a taxi for 35 AED or aboard the Red Dubai Sightseeing Bus. Public transport is the cheapest with the Dubai Road & Transport Authority, having declared a route exclusively for visitors. The commuters can now board bus route number 105 to travel from mall of the Emirates metro station to the garden for 10 AED to and fro. The bus operates weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) from 02:00 pm to 08:00 pm and during the weekend (Friday and Saturday) from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The garden remains open only during winters season i.e., November to March, running for at least 12 hours each day. During weekdays (Sunday to Thursday), the garden operates from 9 am to 9 pm. On Weekends (Friday & Saturday) from 9 am to 11 pm.
Entrance fees to the flower garden are 40 AED for adults and 30 AED for children between three and twelve years of age. The butterfly garden charges 50 AED to gain access. For disabled persons and toddlers, entry is free. However, only tickets purchased from the official counter are allowed, tickets bought from vendors are invalid. Since it is a botanical garden, there are regulations enforced to ensure adherence to the conservation of flowers and butterflies within. For instance, food from outside is prohibited, sitting on the grass or roaming on a bicycle is not allowed. The good news is that photography is not restricted. The world’s largest plane Emirates Airbus A380 is on display entirely covered in flowers in the garden.
The flowers bloomed in different Sizes, shapes, and hues for various formations like circles, sculptures, hearts, stars, birds, vintage style vehicles, all in 3D. The butterfly park reveals the entire life cycle of a butterfly. Apart from flowers and butterflies, there is also a fish pond that has several fish species. The fishes have different beautiful stunning colors.
4. MOE Interior
Situated at Al Barsha 1, on interchange four on Sheikh Zayed Road, Mall of Emirates is the world’s first shopping resort. There are several things to photograph inside the mall. For instance, the zip lining arena at 150 AED per person and penguins at 230 AED in ski Dubai. Also, you cannot miss out on the intricately designed interior architecture of the mall. Photography of the internal display is not prohibited; however, photos of individuals require their permission to capture and publish.
5. Exotic Birds, Beautiful Landscape And Setting Sun At The Love Lake
This human-made Lake is well known for its exotic birds, serene environment, and beautiful landscape. The Lake is full of sandy water; however, you can swim, but you must be cautious of the sand in the water. It consists of two artificial lakes carved out in the shape of two intertwined hearts, and fauna spelling the word love. Al Qudra also referred to as the love Lake is adorned with beautifully crafted heart motifs. Since it is located away from sky crappers and on open land, it gives the best view to capture the sun, especially when setting.
6. Spices And Gold
The spice souk, located on Baniyas Street, Eastern Dubai in Deira, adjacent to the gold souk in the locality of Al Ras. Dubai’s Spice Souk is a traditional spice market, one among Dubai’s heritage areas.
It is colorful, as well as aromatic experience. There are a variety of recipes and flavors on display around the narrow lanes which, lined up with open and closed-roof stores.
Relish the atmosphere of the old as you come one on one with the mountains of fragrant herbs and spices spilling from large baskets at every turn. Some are potent, while others are light, airy, and sweet. You can take photos of dried herbs, flowers, and other piles of spices displayed.
The Gold Souk is a collection of open-sided galleries and booths and operates seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm except for Friday when it doesn’t open until 4 pm. Note that some vendors close between the hours of 1 pm and 4 pm. The closest metro station is Al Ras. There are several genuine gold artifacts showcased. From simple crafts to more complex designs are on offer. There are also diamond merchants present in this market. It presents a rare opportunity to photograph some of the most expensive ornaments and jewelry around the globe. However, look out for signs where photography is not allowed. Remember not to shoot anyone without their direct consent, as this is deemed illegal.
7. Dunes And Livestock Roaming The Dubai Desert
The vast dunes well characterize the desert. It is an open area ideal for wide shots. Camels and gazelles that roam under the sun will add a rare and unique aspect to the photos. The wind gives a natural effect on movement, allowing for various poses and positions. Since it is a bare place, there is also ample lighting, which gives your pictures high quality and helps improve your photography. Dubai desert is undoubtedly a scene worth photographing.
8. Flamingos At Ras Al Khor
At this site, you can spot flamingos during the winter months. Ras Al Khor provides a backdrop of skyscrapers due to its proximity to downtown Dubai. This wetland nature reserve is a spectacular point of view where nature meets urban.
Dubai gives some of the best sites for nature and urban photography. The desert dunes are unique and next to none. The old Dubai provides a place rich with history and perfect for vintage photography. Most freelance photographers in Dubai capture aerial images of the entire city on top of the Burj Khalifa. Dubai offers the face of a traditional and a modern advanced city blended in one. However, the right to privacy requires that you seek permission in many places before you whip out a camera and commence taking pictures. Even taking photos of people without them allowing you to, is a violation of privacy and, thus, can be contested.