Ever wanted to improve your skills and take more personal and arty pictures ?
When you travel it’s almost mandatory to take pictures, first of all for your own memories, then to share with your friends and family and nowadays to shine on social media ! In fact in some of the most famous cities of the world like Paris, Roma, New York or others it can be really difficult to get original pictures of some of the highlights. I mean, what can you do as a photographer when you’re facing the Eiffel Tower or the Fontana di Trevi and when millions of people already took pictures of it, in every angle possible ? As a photographer and a city guide living in paris I often face that issue, feeling less inspired by the iconic monuments of Paris while everybody else in the world is dreaming about facing them !
Of course I’m not talking about getting a nice selfie of you in front of the Arc of Triomphe or getting one of those classical postcard type photography to give a realistic memory of the visit of the monument. I’m talking about trying to be creative and succeeding on having pictures with a more arty vibe, something personal and sometimes even abstract.
So here are few of my exercices, little tips I apply to myself when I need to take pictures close to a landmark, for example here the Louvre courtyard.
1 – Explore around
When you first face the monument, you can take a full frame picture like the one on top, getting the entire scenery, that’s most of the time also the spot where all the crowd will be located so it’s almost impossible to get the picture of the monument without people on it. It’s ok though, this picture is most of the time to make sure you’ll have a efficient souvenir of the place, then usually you can take few selfies and videos for the next reels to be done on instagram and now time to dig in ! First you want to get every part of the building, start the exploration, walk around , get away from the main attraction and you’ll start to see less people but still beautiful parts of the monument. It’s also a way for you to find new angles to shoot the Pyramide for example rather than just face it or to let her be suggested in your photography rather than directly shawn.
2 – Zoom in, look for details
The first picture on top can be considered as flat actually, the Pyramide is of course the subject but there is way too much informations around to be a strong picture. What I do most of the time is trying to isolate parts of the building, getting some interesting details, zooming in the perspective. Plus if I had to make a serie of all the pictures I took during this afternoon at the Louvre, it will be adding a lot more rhythm in the reading, giving an impression of the actual eye of someone digging further and further in the architecture of the monument. Compostion will be also a big part of this exercice as you’ll have to try to get in your frame some convergence lines to help the reader getting your directions.
3 – Find characters
In busy areas like those touristic spots there is always something going on, and more important amazing characters to look after for your photography. Take time, settle down in one spot and look at the people, try to spot some amazing outfitts, a colourful detail, a gesture, a way of walking, all those informations can be offering an amazing set up to get an authentic picture and to express your emotions, the Louvre then will not be the main subject anymore but more be like an impresssive background, an infinite playground for your stories to be written.
4 – Let it be blurry
I know what you think, the first thing you learn when you start photography is that a good picture is a sharp one. But if you really think about it I’m pretty sure a lot of pictures you like, or get touched by, famous ones or sometimes accidents you made yourself are the ones wich are not technically perfect.
In this busy areas where you try to avoid the crowd what about turning on your speed mode and focus on the movement ? Depending on the settings of the speed limit you’ll be able to turn the people into some mysterious shades, ghosts, or dancing bodies plus it will be adding an extra atmosphere or dynamic in your photography !
5 – Trust yourself
There is no such thing as a bad picture it’s always at least a way to express yourself ! So don’t be shy, try out, experiment, the only thing you risk is to get a bit of fun !
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Article written by Audrey