One of the biggest challenges as a photographer these days is capturing unique photographs of places and landmarks that have already been photographed millions of times. Whilst there is no doubt that it is becoming increasingly difficult to capture unique photos, with a little bit of research, planning and creativity you will be able to capture photos that are different. So here are 6 tips on how to capture unique travel photos that will stand out against the crowd.
Go to undiscovered places
The most obvious answer on how to capture unique photos is to go to places that other people don’t go to as much. For example, trying to photograph the Eiffel Tower in a new way is going to be much more difficult than capturing unique photos of a destination which is off the beaten path. Despite all of the travelling and Instagram photos that exist these days, there are still pockets of places in the world where they are simply not as popular for tourists and photographers to go to. Sometimes this is because these places require a lot of effort to get to (a waterfall that requires a four-hour hike is going to more secluded than one that is next to a big car park). At other times you have to be specially trained to be able to get to some of these places. But there are also places that are simply local to you that you will know and have a far better knowledge of than the masses. So always be on the lookout for potential places that are not the regular well-known photo spots that you can capture photos of.
Find a different view
Another option for capturing unique photos of already well-photographed places is to try and find a new view or somewhere that will give you a different angle to what you already know and have seen. This may not be as difficult as you may think because even in big cities there are often places that are simply not as well known as the usual popular spots. The other benefit of photographing in cities is that there are always new places opening up offering rooftop views of the city. So there are always potential unique places. But granted they won’t stay unique for long.
Even in the wilderness photographing well-known natural landmarks do offer the opportunity for unique photos. Often the most popular and easy to photograph viewpoints are simply the ones that are most accessible for the masses. So if you’re willing to work hard and put the extra effort needed into a shoot you may be able to find other locations that you can hike to for a completely different view and perspective of what everyone else sees.
Try to photograph people
The best way to capture completely unique photos is to try and include people in your shots. Whether that is to make the person central to the actual photo or to use them as a point of interest in a bigger scene. The thing about photographing people is that every single person is unique and so capturing photos of people straight away gives you the added advantage of a unique look, style and even feeling that a person could portray. If you want to take things further and give yourself even more unique photos you could aim to photograph festivals, events and carnivals that are often steeped in history and tradition. Whether it’s a religious festival or carnival these events offer fantastic opportunities for unique photos.
Develop your own style
Over time you will notice that most photographers will develop their own style. Often this is what makes their photos unique to the ones from other people. In fact, you could send two photographers to the same location and they would probably come back with different results. So one way to make your photos unique from other peoples is to develop your own style. Once people become familiar with your style, as soon as they look at your photos they will immediately be able to tell yours apart from other peoples. This is something that will happen naturally over time as you develop your own way of working and your own preferences in what and how to photograph things. A good exercise is to look at a selection of your photos And see if there is a common style that runs through them. If there is, then that is your own style that has started to develop.
Go at the “wrong” time
Okay so there isn’t necessarily a completely wrong time to go somewhere but there is a time which isn’t the usual time that most people will photograph a scene. For example, if you look at beach photos the vast majority of the time you will see them basking in beautiful blue skies and golden sunshine. But photograph a beach in stormy weather or in winter when it is snowing and it will give you a completely different photo. Even the most well-known of sites can be photographed completely differently when there are different conditions happening at the scene. So always be on a look-out for those “wrong” times where the conditions might transpire to give you completly unique photos.
Art direct your shots
Art directing is a term that is used quite frequently in the world of advertising. This is when the photographer is briefed on exactly how the creative team who has come up with the advert wants the photo to look. This may even involve the creative team sketching out what they want for the photographer to follow. Art directing your shots is another way that you can attempt to give your photos some uniqueness. For example, photograph a normal street scene and you will probably end up with photos that look just like everyone else’s. But now get a colleague to drive a red campervan in that street and suddenly you have a completely different and unique photo. Clearly this isn’t always feasible but sometimes there is the opportunity to use people you are travelling with or even friends and family to be able to do this for you. The key is to make it look natural But if you can do that it will give you a completely unique photo.
Capturing photographs which are unique isn’t easy these days. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. With a little bit of research and hard work and some out of the box thinking, there are still opportunities out there to be able to capture unique photos. That includes already well photograph places. The 6 tips above should help you on your way to being able to capture unique photos.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.