Hi! How are we already almost in August? It’s hard to believe it’s already been a full month since I got back from Bali. Like what? I’m not ready for 2020 and I feel like when I blink next it’ll be here! Anyway, I finally got around to sorting through the photos I took while I was over there.
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite Instagram spots in Bali, as well as some tips and tricks for shooting while on vacation.
Matt and I love to travel but I’m going to be honest here, he is not a great photographer. With a little bit of planning though, I’ve been able to always get shots I want, and over time have kept stress to a minimum. 🙃
If you’re a content creator you can find what works best for me when shooting on vacation at the bottom of this post.
But first, my favorite Instagram spots in Bali:
Also known as the “Gate of Heaven,” there’s no doubt you’ve probably seen this all over Instagram. The photos I’ve seen have always been so cool, but the “gates” are nowhere are big as they look in photos. It’s definitely all about the angles and perspective. This temple is at the top of a hill with a little bit of a climb, and where we got to the top, I had to do a double take to confirm we were at the right spot. I’m not saying it’s not worth it by any means; this place is beautiful and beyond peaceful.
We went specifically to see eastern Bali these gates, but I was surprised that the other side of the temple doesn’t get as much love. Directly across from these pillars is a cascade of multiple rows of stairs leading into what seems like the sky. I LOVED this and found it much more unique and breathtaking than the gates. Which left me and my two friends to wonder, where has this been on IG?!
People seemed to have come only for the gate… none of them were really paying attention to the other side. It kind of made me sad. Yes, get the popular IG shot, but hello, take a look to your right and get something more unique!
PRO TIP: This place gets super crazy with people; we got there around 6 am after a 2.5-hour drive and there was already a small line. We learned that often times it’s super foggy in the morning. Usually people wait around for it to get super sunny so there’s a clear shot of the volcano, Mount Agung.
Get there early if you want to be a little less stressed and if you’re not big on crowds. There are also people there at the temple to snap your photo if you need it. Temples in Bali require you to wear a longer skirt, so you may have to rent a sarong.
A little way down the hill there are sweeping fields with a clear shot of the Mount Agung. So if you get all the way to Lempuyang Temple only for it to be covered in fog, don’t fret. The volcano itself is huge and so we just drove down under the fog until we found a clear opening with the volcano as our backdrop. These ended up being my favorite photos because it was so freeing to just run through the fields (barefoot!) and play in the grass.
Tirta Gangga Water Temple
Bali is filled with the most beautiful and intricate temples. There are temples on cliffs, and all around in the cities, but this water temple felt extra special. You can almost walk on water thanks to stones that extend just above the water.
PRO TIP: Just outside the temple are a bunch of vendors, and lots of them sell fish food. Buy a bag so you can feed the fish in order to get a photo with them, otherwise they’re kind of all just swimming around.
Bali is known for rice fields, and if you didn’t get a photo in them, did you really even go? I’m totally kidding here, but they are super cool. The big rice fields are the Tegalanglang Rice Terraces in Ubud, but the reality is there are smaller plots of rice paddies if you look hard enough, and any of them make a worthy photo.
PRO TIP: If you have a small drone then it’s totally worth packing it so that you can get an aerial shot of the fields. That’s how we got the shots below!
There’s always something really peaceful about a waterfall to me. I love seeing them, regardless of where I am. But the Tibumana waterfall in Bali was basically perfect. This is going to sound so cheesy, but you know when you see a drawing of a waterfall, and it’s wide, with water pouring down oh-so-evenly into a perfect puddle of water? I’m convinced every waterfall drawing is based off of this one.
Tip and Tricks for Shooting While on Vacation
I do tons of research online or on Instagram to find a photographer wherever I am going. For this trip, I searched tons of hashtags and literally searched “Instagram spots in Bali” since I wasn’t too familiar with my destination.
Research is key for me for a couple of reasons. Most of my friends, although super helpful when I need a photo, aren’t professional photographers. I always have visions in my own head of how I want a photo to turn out. I also really value vacation, and although my friends or Matt can usually “get the shot” it always takes much longer than if I just hire a pro. The last thing I want to do is spend hours trying to get ONE dang photo; I don’t want to spend my entire time on a trip in front of a lens.
Hiring a professional photographer generally lowers stress when I’m on vacation. For a few hours, I can get shots in lots of different areas and have the peace of mind that 9 times out of 10, the photos will work. Therefore, any other photos I take with friends count as bonus photos; if I get more, great. If not, I already have some. I try limit blog content to a single day of work. This way I’m free to enjoy the rest of my vacation as I want.
Particularly in this instance, since Bali is so far, I wasn’t about to fly halfway around the world to not have great photos, especially since sharing photos is part of my job. If you’re like me and don’t have a significant other of BFF who’s a behind-the-camera pro, save yourself lots of time, stress, and maybe even an argument or two and just pay the money for a professional.
Depending on destination, you might be able to turn your content day into a legit sightseeing tour. If you’re planning on hitting up major spots, chances are your traveling buddies will want to see these, too. Again, do your research! Is there a day trip you can take that covers lots of the main attractions? Hire a photographer and pay their way to bring them along.
Or, consider hiring a driver for the day and then map out with your photographer where you want to go. To get to all of the Instagram spots in Bali, our photographer Emilio offered us a sort of photography adventure package. I brought my two friends along and they were able to see the island while I worked.
If you’re going this route, work with your photographer as your partner. Let them know what you’re trying to see or the vibe you want for your photos. They know all the spots, best times for lighting, and can be your best resource for unknown photo opportunities.