UAE is an Instagram-friendly place with beautiful locations for great photos to display on your Instagram profile or for your personal photo log. Here are some of the places we love visiting for photography that are either free or very cheap.
Note: Photographing people, especially women, in public places without their permission is punishable in the UAE. Make sure no photos are focused on people you don't know, and if you want to take portraits, ask for permission first, and let them know where it might be displayed.
A Hindu temple and a Sikh Gurudwara stand proud in Dubai as marks of the religious tolerance of the UAE. This gurudwara gives you an opportunity to photograph the cultural mix in Dubai, the worshippers who step out re-connecting with their friends and family, the gurudwara itself, and the whole vibe of being at home in a foreign country.
Shaikh Zayed Mosque
A major attraction for visitors to Abu Dhabi, almost everyone who visits comes away with great pictures. With reflective pools, adorned pillars and incredible chandeliers, the mosque is so beautiful that getting impressive pictures is a given. The Shaikh Zayed Mosque is also one of the largest mosques in the world.
One of the new attractions in Dubai, the Dubai Canal is a great venue for photography, especially at night. From the bridge level, get photos of the canal with a solitary boat or two on it. The waterfall from the Shaikh Zayed Road can give great shots as well.
Al Bastakiya or Al Fahidi
Al Fahidi neighbourhood or Al Bastakiya is reminiscent of how people in the UAE lived before the sweep of modernisation. It is a side of Dubai that many people don't see on popular media, which is why we love this location.
With the creek nearby and the old architectural style, this area gives you a lot of scope for amazing photos. The stores there are full of colourful merchandise; and merchants, most of whom have been selling there for decades, might even agree to a portrait shot.
Ras Al Khor Flamingo Sanctuary
Many people don't know that flamingos are native to the region. You can visit the sanctuary for free and get memorable photos of the pink-plumed birds. The best time to go would be around 4 or 5pm which gives great natural lighting without the risk of getting sunburnt - not to mention the possibility of getting some stunning sunset shots.
These are not free or cheap, however they're all worth it if you want to get some unique pictures 'for the gram'.
Mangrove National Park
Mangroves are natural wonders and extremely important for sustainable ecosystems. We are lucky to have our own mangrove park in the capital which also features over 60 diverse species of birds along with fish, crabs and shell species. This is not exactly budget-friendly (starts at Dh150 per person) but it is a must-visit and worthwhile for both residents and tourists.
Al Noor Island
Al Noor Island in Sharjah is a unique and beautiful location to visit with its nature-focused offerings, world-class installations, children's park and maze gardens. The Butterfly Garden is the lead attraction here which houses over 500 species of butterflies. Ticket prices start at Dh50 for adults.
The tallest hotel in the world opened recently in Dubai and a shot from its rooftop has to be in your Instagram collection. A pool day pass can help you make the most of your photo trip to Gevora. The pass will put you back by Dh150 on weekdays and Dh200 on weekends, but you get complimentary access to the rooftop (75th floor).
Dubai Safari is a true ode to Dubai's technological advancements. Over 2,500 animals spanning across 250 species are housed in this park. The tickets cost Dh50 per person.
The Dubai Frame bridges Dubai’s past, present and future. The structure gives a 360 degree view of the city with the skylines of New Dubai to the south and Old Dubai to the north from a glass bridge at a height of 150metres. Tickets cost Dh50 per person.