Is It Worth Photographing Popular or Classic Scenes?

Hop on Instagram and search for any popular location, and you will find thousands upon thousands of very similar photos, so much so that you might wonder if there is ever a point in spending the time, money, and effort it takes to shoot such places. This thought-provoking video discusses whether it is worth photographing the classic scenes or if you should spend your time and energy trying to be more creative in other places.

Coming to you from Chris Sale, this great video discusses whether it is worth photographing classic scenes or not. Personally, I think it can be worth photographing such scenes as long as you adjust your expectations of what will come from the images. When I went to Paris back in 2013, I took a ton of gear with me and lugged it around the city because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I took all the obvious tourist photos: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, etc. My images were certainly nothing special compared to the millions of similar photos out there, but the experience of having shot them and having those memories is special to me. Check out the video above for Sale's full thoughts. 

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David Pavlich's picture

So we should leave our cameras home when we visit the Grand Canyon or the Golden Gate Bridge or The Arches? That's just silly. Most of us can't afford to travel to the uncharted areas to photograph rare scenes. Sure, if I had a boatload of extra dinars, I'd find some out of the way places, but that's not in the budget.

So I'm relegated to shooting what I can drive to in a few hours and I'm here to tell you, it's all been photographed before.

derek j's picture

some of us like taking and having our own pictures, without caring what others have done

jim hughes's picture

I'm talking to a concrete contractor and a landscape guy. Our plan is to create a national chain of replicas of Antelope Canyon. For a $5 admission, any photographer can get the photo of a lifetime.

Charles Mercier's picture

Yes. Then you can compare your photos to the greatest ones to show yourself where you stand. Take it as a challenge!

But we should all know that great photos are all about time and timing, so my answer is not etched in stone.


I have to say that I like the third picture in non-classic form better. Thanks for the video.

Mark Houston's picture

Shoot happy...

John Ellingson's picture

I used to find myself taking the same photograph taken thousands and thousands of times before. Sure the scene is beautiful and we like beauty. I've been taking photographs for about 70 or my 78 years. I'm still learning. However, when I either plan a shoot for a sight with famous scenes in I ask my self if I have anything to contribute to the work done by others before me? My answer is almost always no. My recent visits to the Grand Canyon have been to try and photograph all of the beauty that others may have missed. There will be details overlooked. My recent trips to the canyon have not been done to look down into the canyon, but closer to my feet or even looking away from the canyon. I have found wonderful wildlife, etc. that I had previously missed on the many previous trips.

Timothy Gasper's picture

It's always worth photographing these places. If not just yourself. In addition to shooting the same-old same-old, look for new angles, tighten up a scene, isolate, etc, etc. Look for something out of the ordinary or even create something. These places are here for a reason. To awaken our senses and touch our hearts and souls and also that they might open up our minds to see something new, something beyond what is initially there. That is a part of their inspiration, a hint to us to 'find something'.