Landmark Photography - Mount Rushmore

Landmark Photography

One vacation highlight for travelers is visiting historical landmarks and monuments. Every country has historical sites, parks, and buildings available to the public for visiting. When traveling you are bound to pass or visit several, or at least one, famous landmark. As a photographer, your friends are probably expecting you to come home with a least one fabulous shot of that landmark.

Popular American Landmarks

  • Empire State Building
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Grand Canyon
  • Hoover Dam
  • The National Mall (Washington DC)
  • Niagra Falls
  • Old Faithful
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Yosemite National Park

Landmark Photography Tips

So how do you personally look at these famous and well-known landmarks in a fresh and new way This may be a little challenging, especially when your landmark is a more popularly photographed place. Perspective is not the only way to add more to your famous landmark photography. Here are a few suggestions to get you started towards your own personalized outlook on a famous landmark:

  • Take your focus away from the landmark. Have it in the picture but not what makes the picture.
  • Look for a way to take a picture of the landmark through a reflection. The more unique the object it is reflecting off of, the more you can individualize your shot.
  • Like the phrase “less is more” you can experiment with taking pictures without taking in the whole of the landmark. Just make sure you get enough of the landmark for it to be identified.
  • Try a combination of different “new look” ideas to create your own freshness.

Take a few experimental shots and see how you can create a different look to an already famous landmark. You don’t always have to take the straightforward approach, especially when you are endeavoring to take unique pictures of a famous, often photographed place, building, or monument, or other landmark. After all, it wouldn’t be a landmark if it wasn’t recognizable.



Find a Different Angle or Perspective

Instead of taking your shots from the same location as other tourists, find a different location or angle for a unique perspective. Look for reflections in water, or opportunities to shoot through trees or shrubs. Shoot in both portrait and landscape formats, and instead of keeping your images level, don’t be afraid to tilt your camera.

Washington Monument
Washington Monument by Rob Young
Flower in United States Botanic Garden with US Capitol building in the background.
United States Botanic Garden by Richard Ricciardi
The view straight up one of the two marble staircases in the Supreme Court building.
Supreme Court of the United States by Phil Roeder

Shoot at Sunset

Try taking your shots at sunset and look for unique silhouettes.

Washington monument at sunset
Monument by Nicolas Suzor

Experiment with Depth of Field

Use a shallow depth of field to draw the viewer’s attention to your primary subject.

The Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC
Ghost Soldiers by Don McCullough

Look for High Contrast Opportunities in Bad Weather

Lincoln memorial with dark clouds in the background
Incoming Storm by Daniel Dionne

1 COMMENT

  1. The idea of making the landmark NOT the subject yet included is good. Another example is using the landmark in a forced perspective shot. Who hasn’t seen a photo of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with someone positioned in such a way that it looks like they are pushing on it?

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