Should You Avoid Photographing Popular Locations?

One of the side effects of the proliferation of cameras and the Internet is that certain locations have been photographed in just about every possible way from every possible angle. Does that mean they're not worth shooting anymore? This great video explores the place of such locations for photographers. 

Coming to you from Nigel Danson, this great video talks about popular photo locations and if we should spend time shooting them. I think a lot of this question depends on what you shoot. For example, if you're a landscape photographer, you may desire to find lesser-known spots to create more unique imagery, whereas if you're an engagement photographer, there's no doubt a lot of your clients will want to shoot at the same locations. Nonetheless, I personally don't think that just because a location is popular that it doesn't hold some value. As mentioned, your clients may wish to shoot there, but even if you're shooting for yourself, simply practicing the process of creating a compelling image is still beneficial, and more so, there still may be commercial viability depending on what you're shooting. What are your thoughts? Do you still shoot popular spots? Let me know in the comments! 

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Anonymous's picture

Definitely not. Shooting for yourself, its good to shoot your own interpretation of a popular place.

Kyle Medina's picture

"its good to shoot your own interoperation of a popular place"

So, yes?

Anonymous's picture

🤣ma spelling is rubbish interpretation 😁no popular location different vantage point different view point. Take for example Glencoe Buachille etive mor everyone that ventures to Glencoe feels the need to photograph that mountain. You could sell tickets for the prime spot there. But it always throws up something different whether its the light, the time of year its a box ticked for your own personal portfolio. Or in your own head could I have taken a better image or challenging yourself to take better than your previous go.👍

Timothy Turner's picture

This subject has been discussed before, and my comment then was the same as it is now, I have been to the same locations often, and I always find a new perspective. It is also a good way to practice your technique since being a familiar place you don't have to search for the best vantage point, you can spend more time perfecting exposure.

Michael Holst's picture

Even if a place has been shot to death, it has value to me. I live in an extremely boring location for photography which constantly leaves me feeling uninspired. When I travel I often go to the places I've seen on my phone or on the web to shoot and while I find it difficult at times to shoot a unique perspective, it lets me walk in the shoes of the photographers that inspire me to get a better understanding of how to better my own work. After seeing their work, visiting the location and connecting the dots I can map out my own process to making something beautiful and unique. I compare it to music in the sense that to become a good piano player you first learn to play the work of the greats and then once you've become confident in their work you develop your own.

Mike Kelley's picture

There is a time and a place for shooting the same subjects - for practice, for another 'notch in the belt' of locations to have seen (many of them are stunning in real life) or for relaxation. But if you want to be considered a top professional in any genre, finding and photographing new and unique locations is the way to do it. Anyone can just go on google and copy something that's been done before, but finding something new is what seriously impresses me. It all depends on your goals with your photography - is it something you do for a hobby, for fun? Or for professional means?

Lee Stirling's picture

I don't always relish the idea of shooting super-popular subjects. They're popular spots for a reason and that generally means more people to contend with when setting-up and framing your shots. I consider that part of the challenge. Even if locations are popular, doesn't mean they aren't new to me. If I go to Paris once in my life, I'm still going to take photos of the Eiffel Tower because I'm there in person and it's a beautiful subject. I'm not a professional photographer so my images are like memories for me and will always take me back to the time and place when I captured that photograph, even if the location is a popular one. There are popular photography locations near where I live. But I like to visit them over and over at different times of day, different times of year, or in different weather conditions to capture them in a variety of ways. I like that challenge too.

Pedro Quintela's picture

I think it always will be great to visit those areas for some reasons:

1. You have already more knowledge and can plan things much better;
2. In a personal level it will force you (if you´re like me) to try harder to achieve the level of those shots you think are the best on that location;
3. We have all dream locations and it sincerely is great for our mind
4. Helps getting you exposure on the social media, because people love also places that are familiar
5. It will unleash you to find subsequently new locations since those are done

I hope that those points make sense, some days I can´t write things as I wish and they become unintelligible.

Finally thanks for the video and your thoughts, Nigel.

Joe Black's picture

Loved the post. Thank you.