Part 4 – Landmarks
Some of the most iconic and recognisable forms of travel photography would have to be famous landmarks e.g. Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Pyramid of Giza etc. These are the kind of shots that you’ll always find on postcards and tourism posters, which also mean that they’re far and away the most popular things to photograph in a country. This unfortunately means that your work is really cut out for you to ever get your shots noticed and hopefully published.
The first thing that I’d say is that you should just go ahead and get the same shot that you’ve seen on all the postcards but try to make sure that you’re shooting in the best conditions, be aware of how the light affects it at different times of the day. There’s no point in travelling all that way to just rush through and not get the best shot possible. I always try to take the same shot at different times throughout the day so that you get the most out of the light and colours. Sunrise and sunset, and the hours before and after (blue and golden) offer up some very photogenic natural light if the weather permits. However, shooting during the midday sun generally doesn’t work too well as the light and shadows are too harsh.
Now that you’ve got the “famous” shot you should try to put your own mark on it. Get creative with your angles and perspective, you can really emphasise the size of a building or statue by getting closer and shooting a wide angle shot upwards. The reverse would also be true but it can be quite difficult to find a location overlooking a landmark.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a landmark (or have the opportunity to travel to the same location multiple times) you should try to take the same shots in different seasons and weather conditions. You’ll find that there are much fewer shots of these famous landmarks in the less desirable shooting conditions such as rain and snow so you’ll have more chance of standing out from the crowd.
You don’t always have to include the entire landmark in your shot, sometimes they are so recognisable that you can get away with some more detailed shots. This is especially true of somewhere such as the Sydney Opera House, the shell-like roof is one of the most recognisable in the world and just focussing on the detail on the roof alone make for a more abstract kind of shot. You will be able to find that you can recognise a lot of landmarks from quite small details so why not pick up on these and create some more abstract shots.
The landmark doesn’t even have to be the main focus in your shot, this photograph focuses on the street light on the bridge but your eye still picks up on the familiar shape of the Eiffel Tower in the background which instantly makes you think of Paris and France. It’s nice to have the viewer become more involved in your shot by making them think a little rather than making things too obvious.
Described by past clients as professional, unique, exceptional and inspiring, UK based award winning photographer Kimberley Coole is available for assignment or commission both locally and internationally, specialising in travel photography.
Kimberley is also a member of X-Rite’s prestigious Coloratti group, a guest blogger for Manfrotto Imagine More, a Manfrotto Ambassador, and a multi-image finalist for the prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2012 plus a category winner for the Eyes on Asia Awards 2013.