Get stunning travel pictures from the world's most exciting travel destinations in 8K quality without ever traveling! (Get started for free)
Spanning over 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall is one of the most iconic backdrops for travel photos and selfies. Its towering height, imposing watchtowers, and winding pathways draw visitors who want to capture a slice of ancient history. While throngs of tourists flock to the wall daily, there are ways to take creative pictures that will stand out on your social feeds.
One tip is to time your visit for the "golden hours" around sunrise or sunset when the light is soft and warm. The crowds also thin out, allowing you to play with angles and poses without photobombing others. Shoot against the backdrop of a crumbling stone tower illuminated in amber light for a moody effect. You can also frame upper body selfies in one of the wall's window cutouts. Position yourself in a watchtower doorway with the wall receding behind you for a cool forced perspective shot.
During busier times, head to less trafficked areas like Jinshanling, Jiankou or Gubeikou for unobstructed panoramas. Here you'll find ruined sections enveloped in vegetation and closed off steep portions that scream adventure. Strike a yoga pose or hands-in-the-air celebration with miles of wall unfurling behind you. For group shots, stand in watchtower windows and lean out or line up along the parapets.
Get creative with outfit changes too. Channel ancient warriors in robes, armor and period hats. Pack bright, flowy fabrics that billow in the wind. Use props like fans, paper umbrellas or traditional ribbons. Play with shadows by positioning yourself at different spots along the wall throughout the day.
No matter where you explore, keep an eye out for rare wildlife photo ops. You may spot a soaring eagle, grazing sheep or Great Wall squirrels foraging for seeds. Capture these moments to show the Great Wall's living history.
Dotting the landscape in strategic intervals, the Great Wall"s watchtowers allowed soldiers to monitor movement along the borders and signal warnings. Today, these structures offer excellent spots for stylish selfies showcasing your daring, fashionable side. Climbing up the uneven steps in chic shoes may seem daunting, but the photos you can snap at the top make it so worth it.
When plotting your outfits, opt for eye-catching pieces that enhance your surroundings without clashing. Chinese-inspired tops with embroidered dragons, phoenixes or flowers paired with skinny jeans or leggings complement the setting beautifully. Flowy maxi dresses or wide-legged pants billow elegantly in the mountain winds. If you"ll be scaling unrestored sections, stay safe and comfortable in fitted athletic wear or multi-pocketed cargo pants.
No matter your look, slip on grippy, close-toed shoes designed for hiking. While stilettos or sandals may seem tempting for the "gram, loose rubble and steep inclines call for proper footwear. Once at the top, kick off your practical shoes and change into sky-high wedges, strappy heels or embellished flats for your photos. Then switch back before descending.
When climbing, utilize available features like protruding bricks or stones as impromptu steps to avoid slipping. Use strategically placed hands as you ascend for stability. Pause often on wider landing areas to catch your breath and soak in the views. For group shots, climb single file and regroup atop towers.
Frame your photos within vacant window cutouts, under arched doorways or along parapets with the landscape unfurling behind you. Pose sitting on empty pedestals or leaning against weathered walls. For solo portraits, stand central in door frames and hold your camera high for straight-on shots.
Instagrammer Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust) exemplifies chic Great Wall style, rocking flowing maxi dresses, wide-brimmed hats and perfectly tousled tresses in her walltop pics. Fellow influencer Roshni Patel (@roshnip88) stuns in bold prints, leather jackets and trendy booties against the crumbling backdrop. Their looks remain fashion-forward yet sensible for the surroundings and activity.
With nearly 10 million annual visitors, the Forbidden City in Beijing provides a picturesque backdrop for stylish selfies and creative group shots. As the world"s largest ancient palatial structure, this UNESCO World Heritage Site spans 180 acres with 980 surviving buildings including imperial palaces, gardens and temples. Visitors can channel Ming dynasty royalty against the intricate architecture and stroll sprawling courtyards envisioning life centuries ago within the palace walls.
When planning your virtual Forbidden City photo shoot, come prepared with props and outfits to elevate your pics. Strike a pose lounging on a marble pedestal swirling a silk fan. Drape yourself in rich textiles like crimson robes or gleaming silks. Play with shadows and light by positioning yourself in open doorways or beneath roof eaves at different times of day. Frame angles to minimize modern elements for transportive photos.
Influencers often gravitate towards the covered walkways flanking courtyards to highlight the Forbidden City"s imposing symmetrical architecture. Shot from behind peering through crimson pillars, or positioned centrally to frame corridors receding into the distance, these perspectives showcase the grandeur. Bird"s-eye views from upper levels reveal orderly courtyards, buildings and gardens for stunning overhead photos.
The Forbidden City presents unlimited opportunities for creative group shots as well. Gather friends beneath one of the ornate entry gates, aligning your bodies diagonally across the frame. Pose regally on marble thrones or with one person seated fanning herself while others stand in a semicircle. Recreate period court scenes or rituals for playful images.
While professional shoots require permits, casual tourists can snap endless selfies and portraits with a bit of etiquette. Be mindful of crowds and avoid blocking walkways or entrances for long shoots. Photographing security personnel or military sites is prohibited. Portable selfie sticks help capture unique angles without hassling others. Most importantly, remain respectful of this living heritage site.
Fellow visitors are often happy to snap pictures for you in exchange. Some even come prepared with Imperial Chinese costumes to lend for photos. Dressing up collectively transforms group shots into living postcards. But don"t be afraid to also flaunt modern streetwear against the ancient backdrop. The fusion of old and new is part of what makes Forbidden City photos so dynamic.
Perhaps no experience says "virtual trip to China" quite like cuddling pandas in Chengdu. As the home of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, this city offers unparalleled opportunities to get up close with China's most adorable residents. When planning a virtual photo shoot with pandas, Chengdu is the obvious choice.
The research base houses over 80 pandas across various enclosures designed to mimic their natural habitat. While you can observe the bears climbing trees, tumbling together, and munching on bamboo from walkways and platforms, the highlight for many visitors is the chance to hold a panda cub.
The base's cuddling program allows you to spend 30 minutes with a panda between 6 months and 2 years old. These sessions take place in a separate nursery area and must be booked well in advance due to high demand. Prices start around $300 USD. During your time, you can feed the cub snacks, play with toys, and of course, pose for plenty of pictures while cradling your fluffy companion.
For many panda enthusiasts, holding one of these precious creatures is a lifelong dream come true. Lucy Morris, who visited Chengdu from the UK, described her session as "magical" and "the most incredible half hour of my life." She says, "I couldn't stop smiling the entire time. The panda was so relaxed and happy in my arms, munching on treats. I melted!"
Canadian tourist Max Laroche recounts, "Holding the panda was like hugging a warm, breathing teddy bear. Their fur is so soft and they just want to keep eating and cuddling. Our cub fell asleep in my partner's arms after playing and eating. It was a moving experience I'll remember forever."
While your time holding a panda may fly by, you'll leave with countless touching photos. Opt for comfortable, solid colored tops and pants so your outfit doesn't distract from the adorable star. Simple base layers showcase the contrast between your skin and the panda's black and white fur. Have someone in your group capture candids while you focus on enjoying the moment.
The resulting images will show authentic emotion - eyes sparkling with joy as you cradle your panda friend close. Photos of feeding them snacks or playing peek-a-boo with toys also turn out super cute. You'll return home with beautiful mementos documenting a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
As one of the world's most populous cities, Shanghai dazzles with its expansive futuristic skyline. The city boasts over 3,000 skyscrapers, including the iconic Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower, and Jin Mao Tower. These towering giants offer unique backdrops for stylish skyline selfies showcasing Shanghai's forward-thinking side.
Urban explorer Teresa Zhang says, "I love all the crazy architecture in Pudong. The buildings look like rockets ready to blast off into space! Their mirrored surfaces reflect the city stretching below for stunning selfie backdrops day or night." She recommends heading to scenic spots like Century Park, the Bund Promenade, or across the Huangpu River to capture Shanghai's vertiginous towers from below.
Framing your body against the geometric lines of the skyscrapers or positioning their peaks bursting above your head lends eye-catching perspectives. Teresa advises, "Head to the observation decks for unobstructed views from above the cloud line. Shooting downward through the glass barriers captures the whole city soaring around you."
For fashion blogger Sasha Chen, the city's sleek skyscrapers and neon night lights inspire edgy urban looks perfect for skyline photo shoots. She says, "I play with reflecting the colors and mood in my outfit and makeup. Shanghai's glass towers and pulsing neon vibes call for metallic fabrics, futuristic accessories, and bold graphic liner."
Sasha utilizes the varied architecture as frames, posing in the negative space between buildings and along the geometric lines converging in the distance. She says, "I look for leading lines that draw the eye deep into the photos and position myself to interact with those. Shanghai's buildings give you built-in leading lines everywhere you look!"
The city also offers countless vantage points across its rapidly developing boroughs. The Riverside Promenade by the Bund delivers unobstructed panoramas, especially at night when the towers illuminate. Overhead walkways like the Pujiang Observation Deck create vertical angles with the buildings marching below. Rooftop bars like Flair and indoor spots like the 88th-floor observatory in the Jin Mao Tower require tickets but provide birds-eye views.
Wherever you shoot, stay alert for whimsical contrasts between old and new Shanghai. Position traditional architecture like YuYuan Garden's curved pagodas against the straight-edged skyscrapers for visually striking images. Capture centuries-old neighborhoods in the foreground with sleek towers looming behind.
Fashion vlogger Michelle Li says, "I love playing with those contrasts in my outfits too. I'll style a modest cheongsam dress then add crazy holographic boots and future-forward accessories. The fusion represents Shanghai's complex identity."
Rising above the clouds in eastern China's Anhui province, the granite peaks of Huangshan offer breathtaking vistas and countless photo ops for virtual travelers. Known as Yellow Mountain in English, Huangshan has attracted artists and poets for centuries with its scenery. Vertiginous granite cliffs wreathed in mist, twisted pine trees sprouting from rock faces, and seas of clouds flowing between the peaks create a mythical landscape perfect for creative photos.
Australian travel blogger Aimee Song raved about her experience atop Huangshan, "It was like being transported into a classical Chinese painting of flowing mists and blackened pine trees! We woke at 3am to catch the sunrise and were speechless at the beauty as daylight illuminated the mountains." She recommends catching both sunrise and sunset to see the shifting light transforming the landscapes.
When photographing atop Huangshan, creative influencers frame shots through the knobby pine branches and grooved rock formations for added visual interest. Positioning your body on outcroppings overlooking the cloud sea lends a floating sensation. Sweeping mist and mountain silhouettes receding into the distance add depth and drama.
Fashion vlogger Danielle Bernstein (@weworewhat) exemplifies Huangshan style, pairing casual athleisure like hoodies and leggings with pops of color. She advises, "With all the walking and uneven steps, go for sporty pieces you can move in. Then add small styling details like colorful scarves, hats, or jackets to make your look pop against the muted backdrop."
Travel photographer Chris Burkard frequently photographs atop mountains and says Huangshan delivers exceptional scenes. "The contours and textures of the granite, the patterns of the trees and pathways, and the ephemeral mists create natural leading lines and depth for striking compositions. Use those elements to frame your portraits." He suggests scouting views on the cable cars first to map out prime spots worth hiking to.
While Huangshan gets crowded during peak seasons, going off-trail opens endless possibilities. Danielle says, "Some of my favorite shots were taken by veering off the main paths onto smaller rock outcroppings. I had the perfect misty view all to myself!" Just take care when stepping off paved routes and avoid climbing onto unsafe areas.
Gliding through Tai Chi forms amidst the tranquil tea gardens of Hangzhou provides a quintessential snapshot of Chinese culture. The flowing dance-like motions mirror the estates' gently curving pathways, serene ponds, and mist-shrouded pavilions. Striking Tai Chi poses against this harmonious backdrop creates shareworthy selfies for virtual travelers.
Tai Chi master David Lu explains the allure: "Connecting the mind, body, and spirit through Tai Chi while immersed in nature brings deep calm. The graceful postures harmonize with the surroundings." Performing for photos allows you to slow down and be mindful. Consider each stance and how it aligns with the environment.
Travel vlogger Sabrina Tan describes her experience: "My teacher guided us through the 24-move Yang style form in a tea estate's bamboo grove. The rustling leaves and brooding mountains magnified the meditative sensations. Finishing the last pose, I felt renewed. The photos transported me right back to that serene morning."
She suggests wearing comfortable, flexible clothing that allows free range of motion. Form-fitting yoga pants or shorts and breathable tops make ideal Tai Chi garb. Wrap a colorful silk sash around your waist to enhance the flowing shapes made. Frame poses among vibrant flowers, beside tranquil ponds, or on pavilion steps.
Lifestyle blogger Simran Khurana says, "I never realized how hard photographing Tai Chi could be! Finding the perfect spot, adjusting the angles, holding still mid-move - it takes a lot of tries to get it right." She recommends having someone familiar with the forms direct you into photogenic postures. "My teacher helped tweak subtle hand and foot positions. It made a huge difference compared to my amateur attempts."
Some favorite selfie postures include:
- "Wave Hands Like Clouds" with arms extended as if drifting through mist
- "Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg" on scenic bridges or garden stepping stones
- "Fair Lady Works at Shuttles" with flowing arms and billowing sleeves
- "Brush Knee and Twist Step" on pathways between lush plantings
- "Playing Lute" framed by pine boughs or bamboo stalks
Channel your inner kung fu master with dramatic martial arts poses against the breathtaking backdrop of China's legendary Shaolin Temple. Situated at the base of Song Mountain in Henan province, this 2,500-year-old Chan Buddhist temple is the cradle of Chinese kung fu. Striking poses mimicking its resident warrior monks delivers shareworthy selfies blending spiritual heritage with pop culture cool.
Famous as the setting for countless martial arts films, Shaolin Temple"s sprawling grounds now attract virtual travelers seeking the perfect kung fu photoshoot location. The temple"s imposing hallways lined with towering Buddha statues, open training courtyards, and mountain forests offer an array of scenic backdrops. Visitors can watch monks practicing mesmerizing kung fu forms, then find their own quiet spots to recreate the moves.
Lifestyle blogger Alicia Chang says, "I"d seen those insane viral videos of Shaolin monks showcasing intense skills, so being there in person was surreal. The crack of staffs hitting trees echoed from the mountain as monks trained. It was incredibly energizing!" Alicia's favorite place for martial arts selfies was an open pagoda pavilion tucked amid hilly forests. "It was like having my own private kung fu studio in the midst of this ancient complex," she raves.
When planning poses, silhouette yourself in open doorways kicking upwards or lunging low with arms extended. In courtyards, leap powerfully or balance in challenging one-legged stances. Against forest backdrops, wield staffs or swords as props. Kneel meditatively or exploded from the ground mid-jumpkick. Dramatic sunlight streaming between temple roofs spotlights airborne kicks.
Fashion vlogger Eric Lam incorporates martial arts uniforms in his Shaolin photo shoots. He says, "I love the way the loose silhouettes allow complete freedom of movement. A flash of bright shirt beneath the top adds a stylish pop of color." For women, body-skimming tunic dresses or cropped tops withæµ pantsmodernize the classic look.
However you style it, channel the concentration of the devoted monks who train relentlessly to perfect these skills. Hold focused expressions to convey the spiritual dedication behind the poses. Traveler Sabrina Ng reflects, "Trying those stances yourself makes you truly appreciate the strength, control and discipline required. My pictures turned out fun, but the experience gave me so much admiration for what the monks do."