3 Tips For Creating Unique Photos in ‘Over-Photographed’ Places

Written by: Nicole Chan

You went. You saw. You Conquered. And you tried to get a good photo to prove it. But sometimes when you’ve seen something a hundred times, your photos might feel stale, or you might not even be very excited to share them with the world. Here Nicole shares some simple tips for stepping up your tourist photo game, when everyone and their mother (and grandmother and that random guy with an iPad) are taking them too.

1. What is interesting to you?

During my most recent trip on a expedition to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, I had devised up a plan. I would use Pixel Shift on my Sony A7R III so that I could create magnificent wide landscape images of the cave. I did that. I slapped my camera on a tripod. I took multiple exposures. I did everything that I had planned.

After I was done, I found myself gravitating towards photographing the people – the other cavers on my trip, the cave guide expert, and the porters. When I went to post-process my images, those were the ones that I was most excited to finish first. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened to me. I traveled to Nepal to photograph mountains during sunrise and the beautiful temples. I spent most of my time photographing the family that ran my farm stay and their neighbors. Even my husband, Jason, deviates from his plan. When we traveled to Peru, he was most excited to create that iconic photo of Machu Pichhu with Huyana Picchu in the back. However, he ended up with a hilarious collection of closeup alpaca portraits.

Follow what you’re interested in. Let yourself deviate from what you’re “supposed” to photograph. Being creative in what you photograph is all part of the fun!

1. High, Low, Wide, Tight

Even when you’re in a location that is over-photographed, there is always opportunity to put your own creative personal spin to it. I like to keep in mind: High, Low, Wide, Tight.

  • High: Physically move your body. Climb to a different vantage point. Fly a drone (legally, of course) to get an aerial perspective. Use a monopod and a remote control to get your camera to a higher spot!
  • Low: Crawl under stuff. Shoot from above. Lay on the ground.
  • Wide: Go ultra wide. Show what the entire scene looks like.
  • Tight: Get in close or frame in tighter. Show details that add to the story.

3. Enlist Local help

Think about the secrets that you know in your hometown. Imagine the access that locals have because of their connections and familiarity of their area. I like using TripAdvisor or the forums to ask for a local guide that can get me to be where I want to be at a certain time.

Post card perfect images are great, but if you’re hoping for something a little bit more fun to show your friends when you get home, try these tips, and see the world through a new lens (no pun intended…ok maybe it was intended)


About the author:


Nicole is a Boston commercial and lifestyle photographer, specializing in colorful and authentic story-telling images.

She left a corporate career to follow her photography passion. Her previous life in management consulting got her addicted to excel and thinking in bullet points. This addiction still lives on.

You can usually find her with her Siberian Husky, Sledder. She’s always on the search for sushi, fried chicken, and dark chocolate.

Find her on her website

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