The future smart cities vision can be developed through leveraging the potentials of Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies. WSN is a resource constrained network where network nodes are tiny devices that are run on battery power. Diverse types of applications such as environmental and habitual monitoring, detection, and tracking, use WSNs. The invention of new network protocols, the establishment of new models for communications, and testing the available solutions in real world environment are some of the current research issues in WSNs. Main challenges in such networks include energy conservation in an efficient way, dealing with variable channel capacity, and the resource constrained nature of such networks. The design of architecture for such networks has a vital role in solving the issues to some extent, i.e., the cross layer design approach is an architectural technique that offers the interaction of different layers together to enhance the performance, minimize the energy consumption, enhance the network life time, and provide Quality of Service (QoS) in real time communications. These are some of the current areas where cross-layer design approaches are being used. This paper presents different types of cross-layer design techniques in wireless multimedia sensor networks. Using such architectural techniques, different state of the art cross-layer optimization approaches are discussed while giving the reader an insight on prominent challenges and issues along with future directions.