Arches National Park, Times Square, the Hollywood Sign, Yellowstone. Those are the places we envision when we picture Instagrammable photos. But Alabama isn’t usually top of the list when it comes to the iconic photo spots we think are Instagram-worthy.
However, with its complex history and wide range of natural beauty, maybe it should be. We’ve got five of the most Instagrammable spots in Alabama listed here for you.
What Makes Alabama Perfect for Your Next Photo Op?
Alabama is full of surprises when it comes to finding an abundance of photo ops. From the coastal communities to mountainous wonders to bustling cities, there’s a lot to choose from in this southern state.
However, if you know Alabama, you know it hides some stunning photographic wonders. If you don’t know it, you’ll soon recognize that it has its very own iconic and Instagrammable photo ops.
5 Most Instagrammable Spots in Alabama
You may think you have an idea of the five most Instagrammable spots in Alabama, but you may want to think again. From LED tunnels to covered bridges, capitol buildings, and more, the photo ops here are as unique as the state is.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more unique places to share with your followers, hit up the best small towns in Alabama.
#1. Rainbow LED Tunnel, Birmingham
About the Rainbow LED Tunnel: A tunnel is just a dark pathway unless it’s one of Birmingham’s four tunnels lit up like rainbows with creatively placed LED lights. Not only are these unique tunnels offering pedestrians a walkway through a rainbow, but they’re also serving a much-needed purpose connecting several downtown areas.
You’ll find these rainbow tunnels on 14th, 18th, 19th, and 20th streets in the viaducts. Created in 2013, the artist, Bill FitzGibbons, envisioned bringing light to the dark foreboding structures. Appropriately titled “LightRails,” the tunnels now bring tourists and locals alike downtown to experience the rainbow of colors.
How to Get the Best Shot: The lights seem to beg for creativity, so think differently. Shoot from below or at varying angles. Use the light coming in from outside to add to the allure of the colors and mystery. Focus on the colors to make your subjects darker by creating a silhouette. Or focus on the subject to light up their face using the lights as more of a backdrop. The best time of day to shoot is just after sunset. The added color of the sun fading gives off a myriad of brilliant lights that emphasize the LED lights.
#2. DeSoto Falls
About DeSoto Falls: DeSoto Falls lies in DeSoto State Park in the northeast corner of the state. At 107 feet, DeSoto Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Alabama and one of the most sought-after photo ops in the state.
A paved pathway offers convenient access to the falls, including a popular picnic area on the way, complete with all the amenities. But beware, this also brings in a lot of people. However, with the falls cascading down, the beauty here makes sharing this with others worthwhile.
How to Get the Best Shot: The best shot of DeSoto Falls will be in the springtime when the water levels are running high. If you want a soft, unfocused, dreamy effect, bring a tripod. Combine that with a slow shutter speed and the early morning or late afternoon light, and your Instagram followers will be in awe of the beauty. But don’t just photograph the waterfall itself. Go for that wide-angle shot, as well, to capture the surrounding area and give your viewers context.
#3. Daphne Bayfront Park Pier
About Daphne Bayfront Park Pier: Daphne, Ala., is the quintessential beach town where you can capture both seafood and Instagrammable photos. The Bayfront Park Pier is open from dawn to dusk and includes a classic boardwalk and gazebo for all your picture-taking needs.
On the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, you’ll see many varieties of seabirds, along with possible dolphin and gator sightings. You’ll even come across a historic cemetery when you need some ghoulish photographic moments.
How to Get the Best Shot: To get that postcard image of the sun setting below the horizon, you’ll need to deal with lighting. A tripod is your best friend here, too, since you’ll need slower speeds to catch the dim light. Also, bring a wide lens to capture all that surrounds you. This will also assist in getting you that starburst effect you’ll want from stunning sunset moments. To make your sunset image stand out, capture silhouettes of trees or people against the dimly lit sky by focusing more on the light and keeping your subjects in the shadows.
#4. The Covered Bridge at Green Mountain Park, Huntsville
About the Covered Bridge: Just southeast of Huntsville, in northern Alabama, you’ll find a serene setting atop Green Mountain. Here, you can wander the 1.5-mile trail while admiring the beauty of Sky Lake and the state’s oldest Champion Winged Elm Tree.
Spring, summer, and fall, the wildflowers and fall leaves offer a spectrum of radiant colors rivaling any natural rainbow. While the U.S. used to have more than 14,000 covered bridges, only around 900 survive today. Alabama has bragging rights to 11 of them. The Cambron Covered Bridge was built in 1974, but it offers a glimpse into the past many years before that.
How to Get the Best Shot: Fall may just be the best season to capture that once-in-a-lifetime Instagrammable moment here. Frame the bridge with the fall foliage. Step back to include a wide-angle view of Sky Lake to best showcase the bridge and all that surrounds it.
#5. Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery
About the Alabama State Capitol: The Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery isn’t just any political building; it’s a working museum. You can visit the House of Representatives, the Senate Chamber, the Old Supreme Court Chamber, and more.
It’s been the center of history and politics here for more than 150 years, with detailed art pieces spread throughout telling its story. Both in the building and on the grounds, you can witness history through many paintings, monuments, statues, and gardens.
History has unfolded here, from its Confederacy roots in 1861 to 100 years later when the Selma to Montgomery March finished on the steps of the capitol building. From the moment you set foot on the grounds, you’ll know you’re in a place that has been a part of many stories.
How to Get the Best Shot: With a plethora of images here to showcase the art and history, getting the best shot will all depend on what you’re shooting. For outdoor shots, try to capture the grounds and the monuments in the early morning or late afternoon to get the best lighting. Be sure to choose a main focal point highlighting the story your image will tell.
For inside shots, be sure you have enough light from another source or a flash to illuminate what you’re trying to capture. Framing is the key for both, so choose what you’re trying to feature and create your shot with that in mind.
Alabama’s Instagrammable Spots Capture Stories
You can witness Alabama’s history everywhere you go in the state. Try some of these locations to take a piece of that history home with you. What Instagrammable moments will you create when exploring all that Alabama has to offer? Do you want to discover the past or dive into something new?