Are Cliché Photos at Iconic Locations Worth Making?

Hop on Instagram or the like, and you will find plenty of nearly identical photos of famous locations, often to the point that it would be essentially impossible to create an image of such a place that would actually stand out from the crowd. So, is it even worth taking the time and putting in the effort and resources to make such images? This excellent video essay discusses the topic and offers some worthwhile advice. 

Coming to you from aows, this great video essay discusses the topic of the value of photographing iconic locations. Certainly, I think if you are trying to make images of such locations for the purposes of selling prints or making money some other way, you should think twice, as it can be tremendously difficult or impossible to create work that will stand out from the thousands of similar images out there. However, if you are simply going for the enjoyment of experiencing such a grand or dramatic location or for your own creative growth and edification, then certainly, you should go. After all, there is a reason such places are so popular in the first place. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Here's a question what IS NOT "Cliche" when it comes to photography?


Great shots, bad luck with the batteries :) Stayed in Etretat for a couple of days some years ago (Played golf above the big Arch.. But its a beautiful spot for shooting long exposures

I do like what aows (Adrian) is doing and follow his YouTube and Instagram. As someone who lives in London (UK), I know only too well the problems with photographing in a city that has been over photographed. This is why I try to challenge myself and not head to the same spots where even very accomplished photographers go to all the time.

The world needs more photographs of the Grand Canyon & Sedona, AZ.

My mom was an oil paint artist. And the paintings that sold were those taken at "iconic" locations that had been done a million times. Do you want to eat?