Wednesday, 4 September 2013

What to Do When the Scene before you has been "Shot to Death?"

eiffel tower
Photo by: Alexandre Duret-Lutz

One question photographers ask themselves when they are standing in front of any tourist landmark that’s been shot to death is; how to portray it in a different way?

You believe you’ve seen the scene in front of you featured in many postcards, presumably shot from every single angle possible. Yes that’s true I sincerely believe there doesn’t exist a magic angle from which popular tourist locations like the Eiffel tower or the golden gate bridge has not yet been shot. So how do we achieve it, we know it’s been shot to death, but as creative photographers we know we simply can’t come back with just an ordinary view that every other person with a point and shoot would have been able to capture with little or no effort.

golden gate bridge
Photo by: Romain Guy

So how do you show a popular tourist landmark in a different way? If you look to photography books for answers you’ll find its not much help as every single book will state “Shoot it from a different angle” as the obvious answer. But since we know there are no more unique angles left of our subject; we should explore what other options are there for us.

Since we know the landscape does not change look for changes in the atmosphere or weather; try shooting the scene in conditions when nobody else would want to shoot. Shoot it during rain, during a storm, when covered in snow, or when you have a fantastic sky. Got a tripod and an ND Filter, look up, is there wind and are the clouds moving? why not do a slow shutter and capture movement in clouds with other elements in the scene remaining still (The same technique could be used to vanish people from the scene). Chances are you’d get a shot that’s different than what you see every day. Also come back at night and shoot the scene as lit only by moon light.

Also try shooting from a very difficult vantage point, a point that’s difficult to get to, which is too risky, etc, e.g. climbing a hill overhanging your landscape, from the roof of a skyscraper or shooting it from an aircraft or perhaps a hot air balloon. Chances are you’ll be pretty much shooting it all alone…. Got the point… yes it’s worth a shot.