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After a bit more than one year that I am shooting portraits in Mauritius (mainly weddings, but others too), I have build up this list for you – 12 great if not the best locations to shoot portraits in Mauritius. This is not an exhaustive list as there are so many other great locations in Mauritius, but those 12 are among my favorite. Most of the pics here have been shot by me, but some also have been shot by my friend Khatleen Minerve, a Mauritian amateur photographer, just to prove that those locations are really nice and inspirational.

1. Port-Louis la Citadelle

La Citadelle of Port-Louis offers nice settings to shoot portraits. First, the views on the capital are amazing from there. The walls of the building itself are in old stones / bricks, displaying interesting perspectives. Finally, it’s easy to find bird’s eye views on your model, or in opposite some low-angle views. In summary, that’s a very interesting place for portraiture.

I know this is not a human portrait … but to me, it’s like a portrait of the sun (and it was taken from La Citadelle 😉 )

2. Cap Malheureux

Cap Malheureux is certainly one the most famous touristic spot in Mauritius, thanks to it’s charming little church with red roof close to the lagoon, with views on the North islands. This makes of this place THE romantic place of Mauritius, where a lot of couples want to get married. For us photographers, this is also a great place to shoot portraits (and not just landscapes), by including the church, the islands … in the composition of our images.

3. Pamplemousses Gardens

Pamplemousses gardens also are a touristic must-see in Mauritius. This is such a luxurious garden and there are so many wonderful places to take portraits … It also shows Mauritius from another point of view: the insides of the island which are luxurious green. Among my fave places in the garden are a beautiful alley with royal palmtrees, the pond with giant waterlilies, the castle of Pierre Poivre …

4. Labourdonnais Castle

Recently opened after a few years of restoration, Labourdonnais Castle  is now a very interesting museum, where you can also have a great lunch and stroll in their wonderful fruit tree garden. Labourdonnais is also very famous for its rhum and its fruit pastes. Labourdonnais castle is a typical colonial house, one of the few still standing in Mauritius, where we can make wonderful images.

5. Le Morne

Le Morne is a mountain on a peninsula in the south-western part of Mauritius. It is well known as it got its UNESCO patrimony status some years ago, as a symbol for the fight against slavery. It offers wonderful beaches with great views on the mountain, amazing panoramas of the island from its top and a great spot for kite-surfers. All in all, a fantastic place for portraiture !

6. The peer of Hilton Hotel in Wolmar

This will be the only hotel listed here, and, although it is not my favorite hotel to take wedding images, the Hilton Hotel in Wolmar has got without a doubt the most beautiful peer of Mauritius. Built in wood, with no boats to it, it is located in the western coast where sunsets are the greatest. It also offers splendid views on Le Morne and the whole West coast. A pure moment of romanticism.

7. La Roche qui Pleure

A quite unusual place to take portraits, La Roche qui Pleure is located in the Southern coast of Mauritius, where there are no coral reefs and thus no lagoon. The ocean there is very strong and crashes its huge waves against grey/black cliffs. This place is also very windy, which can help for portraiture (hairs, dress …) and for dramatic effects.

8. The beach at Pointe d’Esny

Without any doubts the most beautiful beach of Mauritius ! Not well-known, even by Mauritians themselves, as it is not an easy-to-access beach; but what a beach !! An incredibly blue and wide lagoon not far from Blue Bay, a long white sand beach, very few tourists, some small islands, wonderful mountains with evocative names in the backgrounds (Lion Mountain …): this is the best place for a shooting at the beach.

9. Ruins of Balaclava

For those who likes old stones in a luxurious natural garden, the ruins of Balaclava will be the perfect setting. There are some stairs, some “windows”, a water wheel … helping for nice compositions. Just above the ruins, the Chateau Mon Plaisir offers a nice colonial complement to the ruins. I like taking portraits there.

10. The rocky coast of Calodyne

In the North-East of Mauritius, close to Grand-Gaube, there are several beaches with dark rocks and vegetation growing up in the lagoon itself. The views on the North islands are wonderful from there (Gunner’s Coin, Snake island, Rond island …). Inserting a silhouette in this beautiful landscape makes great images; using the contrast of the dark rocks with the colorful or white dresses of your model is also very catchy.

11. The shady alley to Alexandra Falls

In Mauritius, I found quite a lot of great alleys for my portraiture. The one leading to Alexandra Falls is one of my preferred one. It looks like a tunnel of light, quite shady up to the end where you see the light arising. The perspectives are fantastic, the shady light very soft for your model, the colors very natural for the skin of your model (light green and brown from the trees). I really recommend this place.

12. The sugar cane fields (almost everywhere in Mauritius)

Most preferably when they are in flower, the sugar cane fields make wonderful foreground or background sceneries for portraiture. There are nice alleys in the fields, that disclose some interesting mountain profiles. The fields also appear like a wall of vegetation compared to the model – you can use that in your compositions. You can also ask your models to play a hiding game in the canes themselves … Depending on the light, you can get amazing effects when the flowers look like snow in contra-light. You can achieve lots of nice portraits in a sugar cane field !

I hope you appreciate that list and you will have some nice ideas for your portraits 🙂

Cheers !

All images are subject to copyrights and cannot be used without the written consent of their respective author, Julien Venner or Khatleen Minerve.


October 2011
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