An Expert’s Guide to Moab Photography

We get asked a LOT about taking picture in Moab. So we created this guide to Moab photography listing our favorite locations.

Use this Moab, Utah Vacation Guide to plan the most amazing trip to the area to capture stunning photos!

delicate arch - moab, utah photography guide

Landscape photography is one of the most popular things to do in Moab, Utah. Since we live so close to Moab, we’ve been able to take pictures during every season and all types of weather and light conditions.

In this guide we share our experience through the years with you: photo tips, a list of best photo spots, and the camera gear you’ll need to take pictures all around the Moab area!

Moab packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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Camera Gear for Moab Photography

We have a printed Camera Gear Checklist to help us pack all the equipment we need – that way we don’t forget anything!

  • Cameras for Landscape Photography
  • Lightweight Travel Tripods
  • Camera Bag: Protecting your camera from the sand and dust in Moab is essential. Using a camera backpack is so nice for hiking too.  
  • Graduated neutral density filter: There can be extreme differences in light around the various rock structures. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a GND filter. 
  • Camera cleaning kit: You’ll want to remove dust that WILL get on your lens – this is NOT for cleaning the sensor.  
  • Memory cards
  • External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.  
  • Headlamp with a red lightFor the best sunrise, sunset or night sky shots, you’ll be navigating in the dark. Use a headlamp to light your way from the parking lot to your spot. Wearing a headlamp allows you to set up your equipment without having to hold a flashlight. Remember to use the red light setting and keep the beam pointed on the ground in front of you to avoid disrupting other photographers in the area taking long exposure shots.

Camera Gear at Amazon | Camera Gear at B&H Photo

camera accessories

A Photo Tour of Moab, Utah

Take a visual tour through the Moab, Utah area to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Visiting Moab, Utah

Moab is located in southeastern Utah near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Don’t forget to purchase the US National Parks Pass – it’s a good deal when visiting multiple parks in the Moab area!

Arches National Park is a few miles north of Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of stone pinnacles rising into the sky, immense rock fins and large balanced rocks.

Canyonlands National Park is known for its diverse and dynamic desert landscape. Within this 337,598 acre park, visitors will find exquisite natural canyons, arches, fins, buttes, mesas, and spires that have all been carved out by the awe-inspiring power of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Dead Horse Point State Park is a must-stop destination located near the Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky entrance. Dead Horse Point is known for its stunning views of the Colorado River, dramatic vertical cliffs, canyons, and vista views.

Tips for Taking Sunrise and Sunset Photos in Moab

Here are a few tips to help you capture amazing landscape photography images in the Moab area at sunrise and sunset:

Settings for sunrise and sunset photos:

  1. From a tripod: ISO 100, Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust shutter speed to accommodate changing light conditions. 
  2. Handheld: set shutter speed to twice the value of your lens focal length (ex. Lens focal length of 24mm = 1/50 shutter speed). Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust ISO to accommodate shutter speed.
  3. Expose for the bright sunlit areas.

Check out these awesome SUNRISE AND SUNSET PRESETS at ETSY!

sunrise and sunset presets at Etsy

Moab Photography Locations: National and State Parks

There are many iconic photography spots at the two National Parks and one State Park near Moab. No wonder the area is a photographer’s dream!

Here’s a list of locations to capture stunning landscape photos at Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point.

Arches National Park sunrise at Turret Arch

Best Arches National Park Photo Spots

There are so many Arches National Park photo spots that it’s hard to list them all here. Instead we’ll share our top spots for sunrise and sunset.

Sunrise at Arches National Park:

  • Turret Arch
  • Double Arch
  • La Sal Viewpoint
  • Balanced Rock
  • Delicate Arch

Sunset at Arches National Park:

  • Delicate Arch
  • Balanced Rock
  • Fiery Furnace
  • Skyline Arch
  • Turret Arch and the Windows
Mesa Arch at sunrsie

Best Canyonlands National Park Photo Spots

Here’s our list of the best Canyonlands National Park photography spots along the scenic drive at Island in the Sky.

  • Grand View Point – sunrise
  • Mesa Arch – sunrise
  • Green River Overlook – sunset
Dead Horse Point at sunset

Dead Horse Point Photography

The iconic shot at Dead Horse Point State Park is the bend in the Colorado River surrounded by water-carved canyons.

Dead Horse Point can be photographed at either sunset or sunrise. At sunset, the long shadows and glowing red rock come from the right to left. At sunrise, the sun comes from the left.

Don’t limit yourself to the viewing platform. Walk around the area and find a spot that fits your vision of what you want to capture. Be careful around the cliff edges – it’s a LONG drop!

Check out our Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point Photography Guide that lists ALL points of interest with tips and best times to take pictures at each photo spot!!

take jaw-dropping photos at Arches & Canyonlands

Photography Spots Around Moab

The unique landscape isn’t limited to Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point. You’ll find amazing photographing spots around the Moab, Utah area.

fisher towers in moab

Fisher Towers

Fisher Towers are scenic rock formations eroded into interesting shapes. There’s a 4.4 mile round trip hike here, and you’ll occasionally see rock climbers scaling the towers.

Sunset is the best time to photograph Fisher Towers to catch the golden glow on the red rock formations. You can get good photos from the parking lot, but we like to hike along the trail about 1 mile to get different views.

colorado-river-in-moab

There’s also a cool spot along the Colorado River past the turnoff to Fisher Towers. When you cross the cattle guard, you’ll see a short paved trail on your left. Stop there to capture the Fisher Towers reflected in the water.

golden hour light at Moab along the Colorado River by Photo Jeepers

Colorado River Along Potash Road

The Potash Road, Highway 279, follows along the Colorado River from Moab to the Potash mining center. At this point the paved road ends and the 4WD road into Canyonlands National Park begins.

Colorado River in Moab in the Winter

We’ve also found Moab in the winter to be a great time to photograph this area with snow and ice!

The contrast of white snow against the red rocks is so pretty.

Faux Falls near Moab

Faux Falls

One of the best things you’ll find to photograph in Moab in the spring is Faux Falls! Around 1981 the ambitious vision of pumping water from Mill Creek over to Spanish Valley resulted in the creation of Faux Falls.

Moab Faux Falls in the spring

The falls are a stark contrast to the dry surroundings in Moab. The water flow in the spring creates the dramatic falls so it’s the best time to photograph them. And you won’t have many people during this time getting in your shot!

Moab in the summer is HOT so people like to hang out around the falls to try to cool off. The water isn’t flowing as well this time of year either so it’s not the best time for taking photos.

Moab Area Night Photography

Stargazing in Moab is a must-do activity! The absence of light pollution here means you’re in for a treat to experience and photograph Moab’s dark-sky destinations!

You’ll see the darkest skies during a new moon or when the moon is below the horizon. Check sunrise and sunset times and moon phases.

It can take 20-30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Spend enough time outside away from bright lights to allow your eyes to adjust.

White lights from flashlights, cell phones, or vehicle headlights can harm your night vision. A red light won’t impact your night vision as much. Use a headlamp with a red-light feature while stargazing.

milky-way-fins-Arches-national-park-utah-photo-jeepers (5)

Arches National Park Night Photography

Designated as an International Dark Sky Park in summer of 2019, you can get great views of the stars from just about anywhere in the park. The further north you get in to the park, away from Moab, the darker the skies will be.

Here are good locations for stargazing at Arches National Park and taking night photos:

  • Balanced Rock
  • The Windows
  • Garden of Eden Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point
  • Delicate Arch
Mesa-Arch-Canyonlands-National-Park-milky-way-photo-jeepers-1080x721-1 (2)

Canyonlands National Park Night Photography

Canyonlands National Park was named a Gold-Tier Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2015. People visit from all over the world to photograph the night sky at Canyonlands.

Night photography capturing the milky way at at Canyonlands can’t be beat! Stargazing at Canyonlands National Park is amazing anywhere in the park. We like to photograph the Milky Way at these two locations at Canyonlands:

  • Mesa Arch
  • Grand View Point

Photography Spots in Moab

Moab maps and travel guides

moab maps guides

Moab Utah Tours and Resources

Where to Stay in Moab

There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks in Moab.

READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Where to stay in Moab

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
  • Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 
  • Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Vacation Rentals in Moab – we like kitchens found in rentals to cook our own meals to save money!
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