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How to Photograph Travel Icons With Success


With far-reaching places more accessible than ever, many more people are traveling around the world. Seeing the many pictures people post of popular landmarks on social media, it seems everyone has traveled to the same places. Amongst some great shots of the famous travel icons that are frequently shared, there are many below average shots. So how should you photograph travel icons successfully? Here are some useful travel photography tips to help you return with better shots.

Photograph Travel Icons

Taj Mahal, India


To photograph travel icons well, start by doing a bit of research to identify some of the world’s famous sights.

Some of the most popular places include the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Houses of Parliament and the Grand Canyon.

During your research, think about when and where you want to go and the best times of day to visit. Some of the top travel sights in the world are only open during certain hours, so do your research and time your visit accordingly.

Explore on foot

One way to get around on your travels is to explore on foot. What are the benefits of doing so?

A benefit of walking around is that it is more enjoyable than being confined to a vehicle. You may also come across things to photograph that you wouldn’t see from a car.

Exploring on foot is a great way to photograph travel icons as you have the ability to move around freely and can change your perspective with ease. By exploring on foot, you can find other interesting points of view to shoot. For example, you can shoot at ground level or find a higher elevation to shoot from.

Image: Blue Mosque, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Turkey

Use a tripod

If there are too many people at your chosen sight, there are other ways to photograph travel icons, such as using a tripod and doing long exposures to blur people out of the shots entirely. You may need to use a neutral density (ND) filter to slow your exposure down in bright conditions.

Other benefits of using a tripod besides blurring people out are that it will help to minimize the risk of movement in your shots and allow extra light to enter the frame making your pictures brighter than if you were taking pictures by hand. It also helps to take the weight off your shoulders if you carry a heavy camera bag and allows you to return to a place and replicate shots at different times of the day.

If you do use a tripod to photograph travel icons, be aware that certain travel locations, such as the Taj Mahal, won’t allow you to bring in a tripod, so consider this when planning your trip.

Capture the moment

Photograph Travel Icons

Iguazu Falls, South America

Capturing the moment is about choosing when to shoot and anticipating the right moment to press the shutter button to get a great image.

The best time to capture the moment and make an image stand out is at a decisive moment. This could either be the instant something interesting happens or a sequence of events that occur quickly – that disappears in the blink of an eye.

A fleeting occasion could be some dramatic light hitting the side of a well-known building, a rainbow suddenly appearing and adding drama to the background of a travel icon or when the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) appear and dance in the night sky before the moment fades.

Whatever moment you want to capture, think about how you could present your travel icon at the decisive moment.

Look for new angles

Research the travel icon on social media and see how most photos represent it. Then look for new angles to photograph travel icons successfully and capture the sight uniquely. Consider what makes the icon so special and change your composition to capture the most exciting parts.

Image: Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India


To photograph travel icons well, try telling the story of the icon through wide shots, details shots, and both interior and exterior images. This can add interest to your pictures and show a famous landmark in a new light.


In summary, to photograph travel icons well, do your research and plan ahead. Think about where and when you want to go. Bringing a tripod can be useful for shooting longer exposures and to create more blur in your shots. Try capturing a new angle and shoot a variety of pictures to tell a story of a familiar landmark including a wide-angle and close-up shots.

With these tips, get out and capture a travel icon near you or during your next holiday. Share your pictures with us below and any tips you have for photographing travel icons well?

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Jeremy Flint
Jeremy Flint

Jeremy Flint is an award-winning photographer and writer, specialising in travel, landscape and location photography and is known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. Jeremy has won awards including the National Geographic Traveller Grand Prize and the Association of Photographers Discovery Award, besides being commended in Outdoor Photographer of the Year. He has also been a finalist in the Travel Photographer of the year and British Photography Awards several times. He has been commissioned by commercial and editorial clients worldwide including National Geographic Traveller, Country Life, Discover Britain, USA National Parks and Visit Britain and has travelled extensively to over 65 countries.

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