digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

Get Inspired · Find Creativity · Seek Adventure

45 Inspiring Images of Mysterious and Exotic Morocco

Having just got back from my recent photography tour to exotic Morocco, I wanted to share some of my images with you.

Many of my friends travel vicariously through me, you may be the same. Or these images may inspire you to get out and come with us to Morocco on our next photo tour..

Gnawa musicians in Fes
Gnawa musicians in Fez

Either way I hope you enjoy these images of a magical place. Morocco is so very different than any other place I've visited. It's culturally diverse and is in stark contrast to the world most of us live in, it's interesting to see another way of life. I also found the country to have varied environmental zones, ones that I didn't expect to see like forests and mountains, even snow.

So when one thinks of Morocco you may imagine the Sahara desert, and centuries old cities. Yes of course it has those, but so much more. I hope you enjoy a view of this stunning and amazing country, and will consider visiting one day.

Casablanca Hassan II Mosque

This is the largest one in Morocco, and the third largest in the world (after two in Mecca). I can hold over 20,000 people inside for mass, and over 100,000 on the grounds outside. It's stunning!

We learned it was funded by voluntary, mandatory donations by all citizens – yes you read that right!

Morocco-750px-02

Morocco-750px-03
Fuji X-T1, Rokinon 8mm fisheye – 3 exposures blended using Merge to HDR in Lightroom.
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

The cats of Morocco

I think I have enough photos of cats to make an entire book. They are literally everywhere in Morocco. People do seem to care for them and have higher regard for them than they do dogs, which are considered dirty and not allowed indoors. Dogs are for herding sheep or goats, that's all. Our group calculated that if we got rid of all our luggage we could take 48 cats with us on our bus. We decided against it.

Morocco-750px-22
Tiny kittens inside the tombs in Marrakech
Morocco-750px-21
Cat inside a Berber tent
Morocco-750px-20
Cat in the Medina in Fez
Kitties-01
Cats of the pottery making shop

Ancient structures

Some of the cities in Morocco date back to the ninth century. As a Canadian that's almost unfathomable. Our country is barely 200 years old and we visited places and buildings that are over 1200 years old, it's incredible! So if you love to photograph texture and run down old things – this is a place you won't want to miss.

Morocco also has the world's oldest university (9th century – 859 AD) located in Fez.

Morocco-750px-35
Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou a Unesco world heritage site and filming location for many movies including Gladiator.
Morocco-750px-17
Overlooking the city of Fez – it's divided into the old and new cities. Old being the nearest walled city which is 9th century, and “new” being in the distance is 14th century.
Morocco-750px-11
Ruins of a privately owned palace in Fez, this place must have been amazing in its day and was a photographer's paradise.
Morocco-750px-10
The old Jewish quarter in Fez – there is a lot of history here.
Morocco-750px-09
You want texture, you got it!
Fes-01
Palace ruins in Fez.
Chefchouan-01
Chefchouen – 15th century, the blue city
Morocco-750px-06
Blue city , Chefchouen, at dusk or blue hour
Morocco-750px-05
Chefchouen – the blue city. There are many shades of blue and they have to repaint up to three times a year as the rain washes it away.
Morocco-750px-04
Just one of the many spectacular places we stayed. This is a riad in Chefchouen that just opened. Stunning doesn't even begin to do it justice.

The people of Morocco

Because of religious beliefs (they think if you take their photo you will steal their soul) it can be tricky to do people photography in Morocco. Although, sometimes you can get a photo if you tip the person. Our skilled guide handled most of that for us and we even had some models come pose for us one day in Fez.

Morocco-750px-12
Our local guide in Chefchouen – he was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his city and shared it with us.
Morocco-750px-13
Potter making a candlestick using his hands and kick wheel.
Morocco-750px-15
One of our models in Fez, she was shy and giggled a lot. This is my favorite image of her.
Morocco-750px-16
Our other two models – notice they wear the head scarves while the younger girl didn't. It's a choice there and not all women wear them. It depends on their family and upbringing.
Morocco-750px-18
Fellow we met at a roadside stop. I asked to take his photo and he agreed and we in turn provided him some Tylenol for his headache.
Morocco-750px-19
A young Berger girl we met on the road. She and two other women were gathering grasses and posed for us for a small tip – we also left them 1/2 of a very large watermelon we had purchased.

Side note: we learned that the term Berber comes from the word Barbarian, which is what these people were referred to as. They are still nomadic and travel with the seasons, living in large waterproof tents made of camel hair.

People-02
Fish seller in the market in Fez, and girl grinding argon nuts to make argon oil.
People-01
Fellow we tipped to take his photo, and a grab shot of a young student I got from inside a shop.

Other critters of Morocco

Morocco-750px-31
We stopped to see monkeys at one place near a forest.
Morocco-750px-32
We were incredibly lucky to see these men and horses all decked out for a local festival. Very spirited animals!
Morocco-750px-33
The detail on the horse's rig was amazing.
Morocco-750px-34
Found some of these guys in a pond in a garden oasis inside the chaos that is Marrakech.
Morocco-750px-27
Gotta have some dromedaries in the desert.
Morocco-750px-07
We even encountered the rare Canadian Photographer in the wild! I said he was “outstanding in his field” and got groans on the bus.

The Sahara

One of the most spectacular places we visited, and listed among many of our tour group's favorites was the Sahara desert. We stayed at the edge of the desert in an Auberge and were able to take a sunrise walk and sunset camel ride out over the dunes. Some opted for ATVs (quads) in the afternoon too.

It's a magical place like no other. I'll let these images speak for themselves.

We arrived in a sand storm and saw literally nothing!
We arrived in a sand storm and saw literally nothing! Our view of the 4×4 in front of us on the road to the Auberge.
Morocco-750px-24
The sand changed color – before the sun came over the horizon it was almost pink.
Morocco-750px-25
After the sunrise it was golden yellow, even orange sometimes.
Morocco-750px-28
Our camel guide walked these guys around for us so we could photograph them and shadows – that's how we roll on my tours!
Morocco-750px-26
Our camel leaders and our tour guide Abdelmalek (second from the left). The blue men of the desert.
Morocco-750px-29
We even learned how to tie our head scarves into a turban similar to this. We needed it as you'll see coming up . . .
Morocco-750px-08
Carol rocks the turban look!
Another wind storm on the horizon had us hightailing it back pronto!
Another wind storm on the horizon had us hightailing it back pronto!
Even with a storm looming the desert is a beautiful place.
Even with a storm looming the desert is a beautiful place. The light, shadows, and textures are something you need to see with your own eyes.
Morocco-750px-30
Night photography in the desert, shot from my patio at the auberge – 3 images, light painted, combined using layers in PS.

Things you might see in the market in Marrakech

The square and market in Marrakech is one of the highlights of the city, not to be missed. We took sunset in from a rooftop cafe and watched much of the action safely from above.

Morocco-750px-37
Spices and beans
Morocco-750px-36
Djemaa El-Fna square – the square of death, where they used to do the public executions. Now a Unesco Masterpiece site and hubbub of activity nightly.

Marrakech-night-market
Just a few things you might see in the square in Marrakech, day or night.

  • Top row: Man with dozens of eggs on motorbike rides through the Souk, man with ostrich eggs, man with monkeys.
  • Middle row: Boxing match taking bets, boxing match underway, mint tea – lots of mint tea!
  • Bottom row: One of the many foods stalls at night, cobras, man with snakes

I hope you enjoyed seeing these images and considering joining me next year.

Cheers,
Darlene-1-250x130.png

You are here: Photography Tips » 45 Inspiring Images of Mysterious and Exotic Morocco

lightroom alternative photo editing software

Black Friday Coupon Code for Luminar

Use the code DIGITALPHOTOMENTOR to receive $10 off your purchase, until Wed Nov 29.

  • DavidR8

    Oh my… these as stunning images Darlene. Everyone of them!

  • Carol Tompkins

    The trip was amazing, your photos are spectacular. Morocco was an adventure, and your photos brought back every wonderful experience.

  • Wow! Beautiful set of images, Darlene. Although I loved them, the ones with Rokinon, sand and wind storn and finally “Djemaa El-Fna square” are my personal favorites. I am sure you had a great time out there.

    I would suggest you, if I may, to put “Djemaa El-Fna square” image in some travel photography contest. It will come out as a winner for sure. 🙂

    Regards
    Anshul Sukhwal

  • Darko Vidovic

    Beautiful photos, and here are some of my impressions from a trip in 2010:

    http://www.vidovic.info/krajevicountries/marokomorocco/

  • kerry

    Fantastic shots Darlene! Many thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks wanna come next time?

      • kerry

        Would love to
        What cost?

        • Not sure yet, need to do itinerary for 2017 – may be adding 2 days. It will be around $4400 US for 10-12 people booked, and $3900 for less than 9 people.

  • Patti Suzi’sMom Jarrett

    Enjoyed seeing these!

  • Lily Sawyer

    Stunning images Darlene! Made me feel I was there although I know nothing compares to being actuatlly there in person. Thank you!

  • Nitish

    wonderful ! all images are mind-blowing.

  • Terry Titmarsh

    Such beautiful photos with lots of emotion.

    • Thanks so much Terry. I love to capture people when I travel and it was one of the hardest places to do that. People don’t like to be photographed.

  • Jorge Myslinski Filho

    Gorgeous photograph of a young girl Berger and lovely shade chosen. By chance you can tell how to get that tone?
    Many thanks and greetings.
    Jorge Myslinski Filho

    • Thanks, sure. It’s a simple split tone in Lightroom, that’s it. So b/w conversion first then split tone.

  • كولار

    I am from Morocco i like the article and the photos, it’s the first time i make a comment in your site, i learned a lot of things regarding photography and i am grateful to you in this, i like really your articles you are my favourite teacher, but i want to make a remark, you said ” Because of religious beliefs (they think if you take their photo you will steal their soul)” that’s not true at all, may be someone said that to you because he didn’t want to be photographed, filmed by a stranger and said that so you will figure out he gently refused your request but sadly you misinterpreted this, people reading the article will think we believe in that joke. But thank you of your good works, i always appreciate.

    • Sorry if that is incorrect but yes that is what we were told by our guide there in Morocco. That some of the older people, Berbers and the more rural especially do believe that. If he has said that to us to make it simpler then I apologize. What do you think is the real reason then? Because I find it harder to photograph people in Morocco than any other country.

      • كولار

        I don’t know about berbers but they are muslims too so i’m not sure they will believe in that but the guide knows people better than me. You may have noticed that people here are very nice to tourists and always give them time to help them and answering their questions and even taking photos with them especially the ones who aren’t shy and want to be exposed so it’s not that hard, you just need to choose the right category of people who will enjoy taking pictures and show off…

        I know little about other cultures like Canada or Usa but i find it normal that lot of people avoid taking photos, they may feel uncomfortable (like me) to let a stranger do a photo of him, why should they pose for someone to do a photo ? Is this normal in your country ? everybody asked to pose for a photo is accepting and doesn’t ask you why ? When i travel to new places i make picture of nature, public places, historic buildings and animals.

        • Yes it is normal in any place to have a mix of people that don’t mind having their photo taken and those who do. But the percent in Morocco that do NOT want it is much higher. I have been to Canada, USA, Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua, Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain and England. None of those have the same number of people that refuse to have a photo taken. Most in fact are the opposite. People in Turkey loved having photos taken, same in Cuba and other latin countries. So I’m not sure what to say.

Next Post:

Previous Post:

Featured Photography Special

4 Weeks to Better Photography

An online
photography class for beginners


Join the Photo Community

10 Photography Challenges

Participate in monthly photography challenges. Join our very interactive community, participate in challenges each month that help you stretch and grow. Learn new skills and make your photos "pop".

More Articles Here

All my past photography articles here.

We publish regularly, so if you'd like to posts sent directly to your inbox, just put your name and email into the big orange box at the top of this page.

Adobe Training

Learn how to use Lightroom
Learn how to use Photoshop