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Landmark Photography Tips

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Category: Landscape and Travel

Photographing Landmarks - Advice on photographing landmarks and other well known places.

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Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Gear:

Zoom lens – it's easier to carry just one lens
Tripod/Monopod – if you're heading off to another country you'll need a support that's lightweight and compact, such as those available in Manfrotto's 390 and 290 series. You'll find both monopods and tripods that are ideal tools for travelling in this range.

Technique:


Do your homework

Having a look through online photo galleries and in travel guides will give you an overall picture of how the landmark(s) you're planning on visiting have been captured before. You'll also be able to find out if there are any costs and the opening/closing times so you can plan your trip around the crowds of tourists that will no doubt flock to your photographic subject. When you arrive at your destination have a look around the tourist information office and the hotel gift shop (if it has one) as you'll find plenty of postcards that feature photos of landmarks and other important buildings which can be a great source for shooting ideas.

Is clichéd OK?

There are shots that every photographer and his dog have taken of well known landmarks but this doesn't mean you should avoid them. A good, postcard style shot of a landmark is something you should try and get early on in your trip then spend the rest of the hour, day or week looking for angles that mean the landmark is still recognisable but the shot you produce is slightly different to what someone would usually expect to see.

When to visit?

The problem with landmarks is they're popular with tourists so unless you want them in shot, you'll have to arrive early or stay late to avoid them. Of course, changing your angle or working a little closer to the structure will mean tourists become less of a problem. If it's a really busy day, including them in shot can add an extra element of interest. Particularly if you use a slightly slower shutter speed to blur their movement around the bottom of the structure you're photographing. Just remember to carry your tripod as you will need it if you plan on playing with slower shutter speeds. Panoramas can work particularly well in busy places too. For more tips on shooting panoramas take a look at our previous article: Panoramas. Having a tripod head specifically designed for shooting panoramas will help you capture photos which are accurate and easy-to-stitch. Manfrotto have various panoramic heads including the 300N panoramic rotation unit.

There's probably a couple of local landmarks that may not be as popular with the tourists but are important to the people who live their so consider capturing them too if you want to work somewhere that's slightly less busy.


Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Dare to be different

Use your feet and take a walk around to find a more unique take on the landmark you're photographing. How does it look from underneath? Can you crouch down and shoot up? Or climb some steps or a hill that's close by to give you a little more elevation. Working from a slightly higher angle can help reduce the convergence you get when shooting tall structures too. When you've finished with the front of the structure have you ever considered photographing it from the back? No? Well not many tourists do either so you'll be able to capture a more unique photo.

Nuts, bolts, rust and patterns the structure's metal/brickwork create will make interesting close up shots while pools of water will give you a reflective surface to include in your shots. This can mean shooting a wide shot where the structure and its reflection are in frame or try cropping in so you only capture what's reflected in the water. The ripples on the surface of a lake or even a puddle can help produce a more abstract shot of an over-photographed landmark.

Find the tripod to suit your needs at www.manfrotto.co.uk.

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