posted Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 5:57 AM EDT


Photographer Sheen Watkins argues that seeing iconic scenes (such as the Grand Canyon as seen below, for example) can impact our photographic eye, both intentionally and unintentionally, when we get to photograph it for ourselves. In an article discussing the pros and cons of photographing icons, Watkins offers tips for how to take unique images of scenes that many photographers have captured over the years.

There are some advantages to taking photos of known icons. Firstly, you get to travel to known locations. This means that there are a lot of resources available for you online to learn more about the location. Sure, many people have been there, but you can learn from these people and become a more efficient traveler and photographer. With these locations being iconic, they are also often accessible.

Some places are so iconic that people have seen them many times throughout their lives. This can actually be to your advantage with your own photos as people will easily relate to your work. Some viewers may even have been to the location themselves and your images a can bring back good memories for them.

There are cons as well, though. You can end up only capturing the easy or simple image of the iconic location, the one that everyone takes. You may be able to capture a beautiful image doing this, but it won’t be unique. Don’t let worrying about capturing the iconic image stop you from exploring and experimenting with different perspectives. Additionally, depending on the time of day and season, the iconic spot might be crowded. People might be going in and out of your frame or you may feel nervous about disrupting other photographers. In either case, your photography could suffer from working in a crowded location.


Inspirational places, inspirational people... life essentials Sunrise this morning with the squad.

A photo posted by Quin (@everchanginghorizon) on

To see the rest of the pros and cons of photographing icons and Sheen Watkins’ four recommendations on how to photograph an icon, check out the full article. To see her work, be sure to visit her website.

(Seen via Light Stalking. Index image by Tiffany Nguyen.)