You could spend an entire year photographing New Mexico and still just scratch the surface. New Mexico remains close to its historical Mexican roots, which means that the art, architecture, and food are unique to the state. (In contrast, Utah is not known for any particular food, other than green jello.)
As always, I strongly recommend that you buy Laurent Martres' book, Photographing the Southwest: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of Colorado/New Mexico, Volume 3, Second Edition. It is the single best source of photographic information on the many locations in NM. Available at Amazon.
I also highly recommend Cheyenne Rouse's guides to the Southwest. While much shorter that Martres' book, Cheyenne provides more info on the locations she spotlights.
New Mexico magazine is available by subscription and electronically. Well worth it if you're planning on spending time there.
Abiquiu is a tiny village a few miles from two of New Mexico’s legendary spots: Plaza Blanca and Bode’s General Store.
Bandelier NM National Park Website: Bandelier National Monument
View the dwellings built into cliff-sides. Bandelier gets very busy in warm weather and the NPS buses in visitors. You can drive there and park in colder weather.
Chaco Canyon Culture NM: National Park Web Site
Washboard roads make this an adventure, but very popular with photographers.
Shiprock: Shiprock Information
Shiprock is a magnificent site; you can see it from many miles away, and it’s well worth the trip for photographers. See my post on photographing Shiprock.
Taos Pueblo: Information
Another memorable destination. See my post on photographing this pueblo.
Santuario de Chimayo
Albuquerque is strategically placed in central New Mexico. ABQ airport is a modern, mid-sized facility that is easily navigated and not far from the interstate and city center.
Highways in New Mexico are well-maintained; however, some of the locations are accessible only via unpaved or unimproved roads. I recommend an SUV for its clearance if going off-road or in the winter: northern NM can get plenty of snow. Watch the weather—it once took me all day to get from Aztec to Taos on snow-packed roads. There was little-to-no cell coverage and while there was almost no traffic, it was not a fun trip.
Things to Do
My New Mexico roots go back to at least the 1850s, my parents lived there, and my wife and I were married at the base of Shiprock. Other than the culture, photography and the scenery, we have found that the food is the best thing about New Mexico. Green chili everything, sopapillas, carne adovada, tamales, posole and green chili cheeseburgers, it’s all here and you need to try it.
Soak up the culture and history: New Mexico Magazine is probably the best source of information to get a full feel for the state.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Held every October, this is a must-experience event for photographers. Everything you need to know is here.