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5 Questions To Ask When Photographing Landmarks

When photographing landmarks and other well-known places, it can be tricky to try and capture a shot that a million other people haven't got so we've got a few travel photography tips and tricks to help you out.

|  Landscape and Travel
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Mexico ruin
 
 
It's well-known in the photography community that you can go to certain locations and expect to see tripod holes in the floor where photographer after photographer has set-up to capture a popular shot so how can we, as photographers, do something a little bit different? We answer this question, and more, below. 

 

1. What Gear Do I Need? 

  1. Zoom lens - it's easier to carry just one lens
  2. Support - A support that's lightweight and compact is easier to carry and this could be a tripod or monopod, depending on your preference. 
  3. Camera bag - An everyday backpack which is strong, can carry various pieces of kit and is easy to access is perfect for this type of photography. A rucksack style distributes the weight of kit more evenly, which means you'll be more comfortable when walking for long periods of time. 

 

2. What Research Should I Do? 

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 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.

 

Mexico

 

3. 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.

 

4. When Should I Plan My Visit For? 

The problem with landmarks is they're popular with tourists so unless you want them in the 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 the 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. 

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 there so consider capturing them too if you want to work somewhere that's slightly less busy.

 

Durham

 

5. How Can I Be Different? 

Use your feet and take a walk around to find a 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 unique photo.

 

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