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9 ideas for making unique pictures in well-known locations


Just a few years in the past, analysis from Panoramio—Google’s outdated geo-located tagging, photo-sharing web site—revealed the world’s most photographed cities. Their findings? New York was probably the most photographed metropolis, with probably the most photographed spot being the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Second place went to Rome, with the highest spot being the Roman Catholic church Trinità dei Monti. Then got here Barcelona and Park Güell, identified for the architectural works of Antonio Gaudí.

Some locations have been photographed time and again, by skilled photographers and vacationers alike. In response to analysis launched by Sony Cellular a number of years later, probably the most Instagrammed landmarks on the earth are The Eiffel Tower, Huge Ben, the Louvre, the Empire State Constructing, and the Burj Khalifa. Does that imply you possibly can’t create an unique {photograph} in these locations? After all, you possibly can. You simply should get a bit extra artistic. Listed here are our greatest ideas for profiting from a much-photographed locale.

Collect inspiration

Step one in taking a novel {photograph} is knowing what others have finished earlier than you. You may discover some recurring compositions and motifs, so begin eager about how one can combine it up and enhance upon the “normal” shot. Google Maps could be a nice useful resource for planning your compositions.

From there, pull some pictures you like, both from social media, 500px, or magazines. Then contemplate methods of mixing what you admire about them to create one thing new. Possibly one shot has seasonal cherry blossoms, whereas one other was taken from a novel vantage level. Combine and match components you want for a shot that’s totally your individual.



Strive a distinct time of day (or night time)

One of many easiest methods to combine up your images is thru lighting. Whereas most individuals purpose to {photograph} well-known locations across the dawn or sundown—and you must {photograph} in the course of the golden hour—you aren’t restricted to those instances alone. You possibly can attempt the blue hour round twilight and even shoot into the night time (with permission). Daniel Cheong, for instance, was in a position to seize this gorgeous laser present on the Burj Khalifa.

Evening shoots are additionally preferrred if you wish to seize these long-exposure mild path pictures, that are notably standard in cities with excessive site visitors. That’s what Carmine Chiriacò did when photographing the lights close to the Colosseum, utilizing a three-second publicity.


lights near Colosseum by Carmine Chiriacò on 500px.com

(In the event you do go for the golden hour, it may pay to get up very early, whereas everybody else is asleep.)

Change your vantage level

Most well-known landmarks have a “normal” viewing spot, whether or not it’s a scenic overlook or an remark deck. Whereas these locations can supply breathtaking views, they’re usually crowded, and so they’ve been photographed many instances earlier than.

As a substitute, do your analysis to discover a totally different spot. It might be a hilltop simply outdoors the town or a non-public space identified solely to locals. Put together for a hike, and convey snacks. In cities, you may need to request permission to entry a rooftop lounge or resort balcony, nevertheless it’s price it for the distinctive perspective and think about.


Sunshine by Alisdair Miller on 500px.com

Experiment with totally different lenses (or a lens ball)

Bringing a number of totally different lens decisions can encourage you to combine up your views and deal with new components that you simply’d in any other case overlook. When photographing Huge Ben in London, Alisdair Miller used a tilt-shift lens to create this dreamy impact.

If you wish to take it a step additional, you possibly can even convey a lens ball, a preferred device for refraction. Ryan Millier took this strategy when photographing the Eiffel Tower, leading to a one-of-a-kind shot. You possibly can try our ideas for shooting with a crystal ball here.


The world is upside down lately. by Ryan Millier on 500px.com

Get shifting

Relatedly, it may be tempting to face in a single place—often, the place different photographers have stood—get your shot, and transfer on. However usually, it’s a extra rewarding expertise to spend extra time at your location and provides your self the liberty to maneuver round and discover.

What when you circled and confronted the “mistaken” manner? Possibly you step again, far behind everybody else, to seize extra context, otherwise you step in entrance for an summary, close-up element shot. It helps to pack mild, carrying solely the necessities, so you possibly can stroll round as a lot as you’d like.


San Fran. by ANDRÉ JOSSELIN on 500px.com

Strive layering

If you break up your pictures into layers—background, foreground, and center floor—new alternatives come up. Hold a watch out for pure “frames” or foreground components to assist information your composition. When photographing the Golden Gate Bridge, for instance, André Josselin shot by means of a fence, permitting its contours to fall fantastically out of focus so our consideration remained, at the beginning, on the bridge itself.


 by Derek Chen on 500px.com

Go to in the course of the low season

Everybody visits Santorini in the summertime, whereas they’re extra more likely to go to Lake Tahoe in winter. Photographing a location on the low season will be dangerous, as you’re more likely to miss a number of the iconic components that outline the house (for example, the cherry blossoms in Washington within the spring, or the colourful Coney Island boardwalk in summer time). However when you do your analysis and select the best location, that danger can repay in the long term. It was at Coney Island a number of years in the past that Derek Chen captured this completely minimal {photograph} of an empty seaside, blanketed in snow.

Lean into “unhealthy” climate

Most vacationer postcards function pictures taken on clear, sunny days, however wet afternoons or stormy skies may give your work a novel emotional undercurrent. Foggy mornings are good for moody, ethereal pictures. Costume correctly and shield your gear, and don’t be afraid to embrace the sudden.


Taj Mahal ... by mohammed abdo on 500px.com

Incorporate individuals or their silhouettes

Basically, you need to keep away from crowds, however a single particular person or silhouette can breathe life into an in any other case static scene. In the event you’re working with a mannequin, you possibly can direct them a bit and take your time taking pictures. In the event you’re a road photographer, then again, the very best strategy is to search out your composition and wait as individuals move.

Ultimately, the best particular person will enter your body on the proper second. When photographing the Taj Mahal, Mohammed Ali Abdo has included human figures on quite a few events, together with this image, the place the blue of the particular person’s clothes contrasts completely with the orange mild of the solar bouncing across the house.

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