I've been to a lot of places around the world and had an opportunity to photograph many breathtaking scenes, friendly people, gorgeous architecture, and so forth.
But there are a few places I have yet to see and photograph that are high on my bucket list.
These photography paradises are widely varied and in every corner of the globe - Iceland, Namibia, and Thailand, to name a few.
But there's another place that's a must-visit for photographers, and it's not that far for those of us in the U.S.
That place is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
San Miguel de Allende is the Reigning "Best City in the World"
The quality of the light in San Miguel de Allende is so special ... so magical ... that it lends itself to great photography. - James Wilson
In 2017, Travel and Leisure named San Miguel de Allende as the best city in the world.
That's quite the honor - a first for this city - considering there are so many wonderful cities around the globe.
San Miguel de Allende beat out the likes of Kyoto, Florence, and Cape Town.
On top of that, San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest cities in Mexico. In fact, according to Lonely Planet, the city ranks "very high" in terms of safety and enjoyment.
That means you can enjoy a world-class experience in safety and comfort. What's not to like about that?
The Entire City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2008, UNESCO named San Miguel de Allende a World Heritage Site.
This designation was earned, in part, because the area is a melting pot of cultures - among them, Spanish, Creole, and American Indian influences.
The mixture of cultures led to the development of interesting and unique architecture, food, traditions, and customs that visitors can experience in the city as well as the adjoining countryside.
For photographers, that means opportunities to capture the detail and beauty of 17th-century cathedrals, brightly colored residences, incredible botanic gardens, and, of course, the many artisan shops that line the city streets.
You Can Hone Your Photography Skills in Many Areas
One of the primary reasons why I want to visit San Miguel de Allende is because there are so many different opportunities to take so many different types of photos.
As noted above, you can spend hours and hours (days, really...) exploring the city and photographing cityscapes and architecture.
One of the most gorgeous examples of architecture in the city is Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel, a 17th-century neo-Gothic church that looks like something straight out of a fairy tale.
There is also a liveliness and vibrancy about this place that's expressed in the gorgeous colors of the city's buildings.
Typical city streets are lined with beautiful buildings awash in bright, saturated colors that make for breathtaking architectural photos.
You can also develop an eye for street photography while in San Miguel de Allende.
The rich cultures and traditions there are fodder for beautiful portraits.
And with the incredible architecture to serve as the background, you have a winning combination for portraits that tell a story.
With many festivals in the city throughout the year, there are also many opportunities for photographers to capture the colors, textures, sights, and sounds of the city's unique celebrations.
Of course, you can also photograph typical, daily life scenes in the city's many parks, plazas, and other gathering places. Sometimes simplicity is the key to success!
Find Your Way With a Top-Notch Photography Workshop
I was doing a little research recently on the best photography workshops, and San Miguel Photography Workshops kept popping up.
After doing a little digging, I discovered what a gem that San Miguel de Allende really is, and this article is the result of those investigations.
One thing that I appreciate about San Miguel Photography Workshops is that they don't bog you down with a week of heavily scheduled classroom time.
Instead, group leaders James Wilson and Mark Hemmings take the group to different parts of the city and countryside to get real-world experience taking different kinds of photos.
Another benefit of exploring this incredible city as part of a photography tour is that you get to have close instruction with an expert photographer.
James and Mark are both pro's pros, and since they've been leading tours in San Miguel de Allende for eleven years, they know all the best spots to take their students for the ultimate photography experiences.
Speaking of students, these tours are limited to just 12 people, so you get plenty of one-on-one time with the instructors and you get to know other photography enthusiasts at the same time.
A final word about this workshop - it's packed to the brim with extras that you often don't get with photography tours.
You get accommodations at a private villa, all in-country transportation, and all dinners are provided as well.
You also get all the teaching materials that Mark and James present, that way you can keep learning and developing your skills long after you leave.
I know I'm gushing here, but that's just because I'm so blown away by the beauty of this area and the possibilities of photographing all the beauty.
If you want to explore one of the best photography paradises in the world, follow my lead over to San Miguel Photo Workshops.
Images in this article are by James Wilson and Mark Hemmings, and are used with permission.