Famous landmarks are often the busiest and most photographed places in the world. But they are that busy and photographed for a reason. Often this is because they are impressive buildings, works or art or even natural phenomena. For any travel photographer they are an absolute must from a destination. Although it can seem difficult, capturing unique and stylish photos of famous landmarks is possible with some hard work. Follow these simple tips to capture better landmark photos.
The thing I always find staggering at these landmarks is the number of people who turn up, take a few photos and then head off. Not only are they not experiencing the landmark but they are also not allowing themselves enough time to do their photos justice. The first thing you should do at any landmark is just walk around and get a feel for the place. Whilst walking around have a think about viewpoint and scenes that could be photogenic. Off course you should have your camera ready in case a situation arises that you don’t want to miss, but this should be about you finding good spots from which you can photograph.
Once you’ve got a good feel about the place you can begin to compose your image, think about the light and start photographing.
Include The Crowd
You usually have to accept, that landmarks are going to be teeming with tourists. There is no way around this unless you arrive really early in the morning and are lucky enough to have few visitors or are prepared to be patient and wait for gaps in the flow of traffic. So rather than fighting it, sometimes it’s better to make the tourists a part of the composition. After all, the tourists are a big part of the story of landmarks. The other advantage of featuring people is that it can make your images unique and stand out from the crowd. Everyone has seen enough photographs of the famous landmarks around the world so to really stand out you need to show something different.
Use A Tripod
If you want to photograph your landmark from the outside, then it is likely that it would look best with a soft golden light in the early hours of the morning or late afternoon with some landmarks being great for photographing at night. If you are planning on photographing in any of these conditions (i.e. low light) you will require a tripod to avoid camera shake. But using a tripod will also allow you the opportunity to add creative effects into the photo such as movement from people and vehicles which will usually look great against the famous landmark.
Do Your Research
You’ll find it difficult to find a famous landmark that hasn’t been photographed from every angle thousands of times. So to capture unique photos, you need to understand what already exists out there. Before photographing a landmark you should spend time researching it but also research potential new ways and places you can photograph it from. All you need to do is simply type the landmark into Google and you’ll have thousands of results. Not only will this give you a better chance of capturing a unique photo, but by learning more about it and its history you may find that you appreciate it more when you see it.
Isolate A Small Part
Sometimes the best photos of famous landmarks are the ones which are not the obvious photos that capture the whole place. A small frame of a landmark can sometimes show people a completely new way of looking at it. A way that is often missed by the naked eye. Your research will play a big part in the arming you with the knowledge of important parts of the landmark. But the key is to really study and observe every corner of the landmark so that you can isolate a small part whilst still conveying the main message.
Capture The Experience
It is easy to be overawed by the magnificence of the landmark before you. But sometimes the real story is happening all around the landmark itself. Whether that is by tourists gasping in awe or locals simply going about their everyday lives without a care of what is in front of them. So every now and again look away from the landmark and look for moments that can help tell a completely different story.
Rules Are Not There To Be Broken
Whilst most of these landmarks have no problem with photography, you should still be aware of any rules in place. Often some of these places allow photography on the outside but not inside. If that’s case, observe the rules and don’t break them.
Landmarks are rightly some of the most photographed places in the world and often very difficult to photograph well. After all any photo is competing with thousands and sometimes millions before it not mention the hordes of crowds who you often have to consider. But to capture unique and stunning photos of these landmarks is not impossible. It will just take research, perseverance and commitment to fulfill.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. Dreamstime.