You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more colorful, vibrant city than Miami, a confluence of cultures with a mesmerizing dichotomy between laid-back beach scene and pulsing nightlife.
Pay attention to the little things that make this dynamic city tick — the hum of the busy streets, the bold palette of Wynwood, the tantalizing flavors of the Cuban scene, the hypnotic beats emanating from the clubs in the wee hours of the morning — and make this a vacation you won’t forget anytime soon (and if you do, your pictures will live on as memories).
Art director Ana Linares recently relocated from Manhattan to Miami, home to a number of SpringHill Suites properties. She’s gone on a mission to capture Miami’s artsy vibe and share her best tips for photographing the energetic urban area made for design lovers.
One of the most ‘Grammable neighborhoods in all of Miami, if not the country, this former warehouse district is sensory overload; street art covers nearly every imaginable exterior wall.
You’ll have so much to shoot, you won’t know where to start — and there are new murals and graffiti being added on the regular throughout the neighborhood and in the outdoor museum known as Wynwood Walls. Ana recommends hitting the ground on your own two feet and seeing what you find.
“Start with a nice breakfast at Wynwood Diner; then let yourself wander the blocks surrounding it, which have the most amount of art around,” she says. “I typically like the afternoon light when shooting, in general. Wynwood is a place [that] has the most amount of outdoor murals; therefore, with high temps, it is always hard to shoot content during the harsh sunny hours. You either shoot early in the morning with less crowds or [in] the afternoon when the temps cool down a bit.”
Instagram Tip: Instagram’s Juno filter is a good one for making those wall colors really pop.
This sprawling, art deco–inspired space right on Miami Beach, with its lines and curves and funky artwork, is a must on any traveler’s to-do list. “We love getting a drink at the Faena bar, which has all the ‘Little Mermaid’ vibes and is such a cool spot to snap photos,” Ana shares.
“Don’t miss the columns by the bar covered in colorful shells. Best time for photos is right before sunset; you’ll catch the perfect glimmer that will make your rosé look just perfect.” Ana’s other favorite place in the Faena is the spa (of course!), where “the interiors are just divine.”
Instagram Tip: Shooting outside in bright sun can be tricky depending on the time of day, so meter (e.g., tap on the screen) the sky portion of the frame so as to avoid an overexposed shot. Using an Instagram filter like Clarendon can help bring out the blue even more, creating a sharp contrast between all that white comprising the Faena’s exterior.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
Love the MoMA in New York? You’ll definitely want to spend some time perusing the exhibits at Perez Art Museum Miami, which Ana calls “one of the most beautiful museums architectonically.”
To sweeten the deal, it’s located by the water and boasts an oceanfront restaurant. “This museum is a great way to have a break from the beach and catch up on some art exhibitions,” she says. “My favorite photos are always from the greenery and hanging planters on the outside by the main entrance. The architecture of this museum is simply stunning — it’s hard to take a bad photo!”
Instagram Tip: If a museum’s interiors feel dark, you can help enhance an image with lackluster color by upping the brightness, then increasing the saturation ever so slightly in Instagram.
Beach scenes always win big on the ‘Gram, and South Beach may very well be the most colorful stretch of waterfront real estate you’ve ever seen, between the brightly striped umbrellas and the charming little lifeguard huts, which will make you want to recreate your own snap that could have come straight out of a movie.
“The best time for photos is in the morning before the beach gets too crowded,” Ana advises. “Drone shots are always beautiful in South Beach if you have one.”
Instagram Tip: Want something better than your standard beach shot? Crouch down low and capture an alternate angle instead of shooting at eye level. Use the Juno filter in Instagram to create a sharper contrast between the white of the sand and the blue of the ocean.
Collins Avenue is to South Beach what Rodeo Drive is to Beverly Hills: that one iconic street you can’t visit the city without strolling. It’s not only a busy shopping district, but an architectural marvel brimming with edgy shops, boutique hotels and, of course, some of the city’s most impressive art deco creations.
“I love The Webster building, which is also a design store,” Ana says. “They have the cutest vintage cars parked in front, which make for a perfect backdrop for photos.”
Instagram Tip: If you want to photograph a street scene, it’s best to arrive early, before the shops open and cars block the building facades. If, worst case scenario, you need to remove an object that clutters the frame, you can easily do so in post-processing by using the app Touch Retouch.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Upon arrival at this hidden gem of a garden, “you will feel transported to an Italian Villa,” Ana says of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. “The gardens were designed based on Italian Renaissance gardens and are an absolute dream, a must-visit while in Miami.”
Housed in former estate, the museum contains more than 70 rooms of distinctive architectural interiors decorated with numerous antiques, with an emphasis on 15th- through early 19th-century European decorative art and furnishings. Vizcaya’s open-air courtyard is one of Ana’s favorite spots for capturing the century-old villa.
Instagram Tip: Ana uses the app A Color Story to edit all her photos for Instagram, citing the pastel hues of the Flashes of Delight and Seasons packs as perfect for editing outdoor scenes like these gardens.