Facebook Pixel The 16 Most Photogenic Everyday Objects, Part Two

The 16 Most Photogenic Everyday Objects, Part Two

In part 1, I spoke about 16 of my favorite everyday objects to include in photographs.  These objects won’t always make a photo, but when included they will almost always make the scene more photogenic.

The purpose of these lists is to help add some inspiration for the next time you walk out the door to photograph. There is beauty to capture around every corner and sometimes it is the simple things that make the most interesting images.

What’s on your list of most photogenic everyday objects?

1. Smoke

Find some roadwork and wait for magic to happen. This is an easy way to create an image with a cinematic feel.

Bike Messenger and Smoke

Bike Messenger and Smoke

2. Restaurant interiors

Many people get caught up in photographing their food and forget what is truly interesting, the restaurant itself. I find the long time, no-frill, and historical restaurants to be the most photogenic, but of course there are exceptions to every rule.

Big Nicks Diner

Big Nicks Diner

Big Nicks Diner

Big Nicks Diner

3. Things that are disappearing

One of the most important aspects of photography is its ability to document and encapsulate the past. In addition to taking photos when you travel, use the camera to document and remember your life at home. Capture the simple things that you take for granted, because one day you will suddenly find them gone. The above photos are from my favorite restaurant growing up, Big Nicks, which went out of business in 2013.

If you are going to photograph your food, why don’t you capture your favorite meal from growing up? I present to you all the port cheddar burger and waffle fries with honey mustard from the late Big Nicks.

Big Nicks Port Cheddar Burger

4. Grafitti

Graffiti from Manhattan Bridge

Graffiti from Manhattan Bridge

5. Interesting hair styles

I prefer to capture people from the front whenever possible, but combining a unique hairstyle from the back with an interesting background behind it can create a very graphic image.

Loisaida Street Fair, Lower East Side

Loisaida Street Fair, Lower East Side NYC

6. Muted and worn colors

Don’t let instagram filters fool you. Muted and subtle colors can be much more striking and beautiful than highly saturated images.

Gowanus Wall

Gowanus Wall

7. Things in threes

The number three is the most glorious number in photography. Objects and people in threes always seem to look good in an image. Why? I think it comes down to the triangle. Three objects will create a triangle shape within an image, which gives the eyes a clear route to move around the image, making it feel more balanced.

As a sidenote, the number three also works when displaying your images. Three images with similar content placed next to each other will help to enhance each individual image. For street photography, a single candid image of a stranger on your wall can look out of place, while three of these images next to each other can work very well.

Chinatown Chefs

Chinatown Chefs

8. Bikes

East Village Bikes

East Village Bikes, NYC

9. Tiny details

If your images do not feel graphic enough, then get in closer. It’s surprising how many stories can be told through the tiniest of details.

Prospect Park, Summer

Prospect Park, Summer

10. Shops and shop windows

Shop windows might seem boring now, but they will age the quickest as fashions and times change. Sometimes the images that seem the least interesting now will be the most interesting in the future. Look at the images of Walker Evans of Eugène Atget for reference.

SoHo Shop Window

SoHo Shop Window

11. Neon signs

Massage Parlor, Chinatown

Massage Parlor, Chinatown

12. Old cars

When possible, try to put together a scene and capture the background in addition to the car.

Old Car

13. Tattoos

And tattoo parlors.  Don’t be afraid, go in there!

Tattoo Parlor

Tattoo Parlor

14. Dogs

Man’s best friend, except in this case.

Black Sunshine and Dog

Black Sunshine and Dog

Even burly truck drivers like dogs.

Truck Driver and Dog

Truck Driver and Dog

15. Trash

This one is meant to stir the pot a little bit.  No, this is probably not going on my wall (my wife won’t let me), but that does not mean it is not interesting and photogenic.  It is colorful, graphic, diverse and poignant. There are a litany of brands represented: Arizona Iced Tea, Snapple, Starbucks, American Eagle, Marlboro, Guess, and Armani, among others.  Just because it’s not the type of image that is fit for a wall does not mean it can’t be beautiful.  Also, in 50 years this image might have some historical interest when many of these brands are out of business.

SoHo Trash

SoHo Trash

16. Fashion trends

The beauty of walking the same areas over and over with a camera is that you are more aware of and able to witness things as they change. Just as you want to photograph things that are disappearing, you also want to capture what is replacing them. New fashion trends are the most obvious ways of capturing times changing.

This last summer in SoHo saw the rise of people wearing shirts with animals that looked exactly like them. So yeah… that’s a strange new trend that makes for a very fun photo series.

Urban Tiger, SoHo

Urban Tiger, SoHo

Urban Tiger, SoHo

Urban Tiger, SoHo

Rottweiler Shirt, SoHo

Rottweiler Shirt, SoHo

Urban Tiger, 2 Train

Urban Tiger, 2 Train

What things that are “ordinary” do you like to photograph?

More ideas for photography close to home: 

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James Maher
James Maher

is a professional photographer based in New York, whose primary passion is documenting the personalities and stories of the city. If you are planning a trip to NYC, he is offering his new guide free to DPS readers, titled The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide.
James also runs New York Photography Tours and Street Photography Workshops and is the author of the e-book, The Essentials of Street Photography.