Twist and Technique in Photographing Landmarks

Photographing popular landmarks needs a new twist and technique. I’m sure we’ve all seen the famous images of the Eifel Tower, Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt, New York Times Square, Petronas Tower, the Coloseum in Rome and many other landmarks on iconic postcards and tourism campaign materials.

The popularity of these images have embedded itself already on the minds of the people and has proven to be a bane of budding photographers as they tend to imitate the angles and leave their own creativity with still a lot to be desired. This shouldn’t be the case, for photographers wanting to make a name, learn to take risk and go against the flow of landmark photography. Create your own style and limit copying the famous landmark photographs. Here are some ways on how you could produce unique landmark images.

photographing landmarks
Image by Mark McLaughin

Forget the “Postcards” Shots

Let’s admit it. All those postcards shots of famous landmarks are awesome. So awesome almost everyone on the plane has seen it. There is no way why you should produce a similar shot. Find a different angle and concentrate on framing a unique image with more creative and appealing compositions. Always look for a new angle that hasn’t been abused by many postcards and tourism posters. Example of this is shooting through a tree branch or a reflection from a puddle of rain.

Focus on another Subject

Experiment by making the landmark the background object instead of it being the main subject. A ferry filled with people in the foreground of the Statue of Liberty, a camel carrying a woman in front of the Pyramids and a parked Volkswagen being dwarfed by the Eifel Tower on the background creates more drama and likely to catch people’s imagination and attention.


photographing landmarks
Image by: Alex Proimos

Focus on the Details

Do not always make the mistake of fitting the entire landmark on the whole frame. Zoom into some interesting details of a landmark. For example, the intricate reliefs’ carvings of Angkor Wat and it’s nearby temples in Cambodia create an interesting subject. Highlight some interesting detail of the landmark, which you think warrants attention from the viewers.

There’s Good Opportunity in Bad Weather

Photographers tend to think that a perfect blue sky and a sunny weather always create the ideal weather for landmark photography. This is not the case as skilled photographers have shown ways to present a great image in bad weather conditions. Cloudy skies can create a splendid shaft, puddles makes interesting reflections and snow swirls morphs into captivating shapes.

photographing landmarks
Image by Ehpien

Shoot Early to Avoid the Crowd

Try to get to the landmark you are shooting at a time when there is not much crowd yet. This avoids the problem of having too many of the so-called “photo-bombers” ruin the landmark shot for you. However, including other people on your photograph isn’t such a bad idea considering the next tip.

Include People

While a large crowd can prove to be much of a burden, including one or two stranger in your photograph can provide a good focal point and creates a more realistic and engaging photograph. Look out for a lovely couple strolling holding hands, a street busker performing or an innocent kid running around. These make a great focal point for landmark photography.

These are just some techniques on how to create visually stunning and engaging unique landmark photographs that steers away from the abundance of cliché postcard-style of most landmark photographs.

About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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