Shoot Outside the Postcard

Buenos Aires-based photographer Jerry Nelson shares his top tips for better snaps

metropolitan cathedral interior

Metropolitan Cathedral Interior

Welcome to Buenos Aires.  Home of the Casa Rosada, Plaza de Mayo, Metropolitan Cathedral and a bunch of other potentially iconic photographs.

How many times have you stood in front of a world famous landmark and realized that every possible shot that could be taken has already been taken by one of the thousands of tourists that have stood in that spot before you? You are on a once-in-a-lifetime trip and your goal should not be to bring back images that look like the postcards at the hotel or – worse yet – the pictures that are goofy and don’t do anything but scream, “An amateur took me!”

So when you visit the Casa Rosada don’t try to capture the palm tree to frame the photo with and for Pete’s sake, do NOT have someone pose with the Obelisk as if they’re holding it up.

Here’s some things to keep in mind when you’re photographing a famous landmark in Buenos Aires.  Relax, you can use the tips when you return home to keep taking better images than your friends.

1.  Get the cliche shot out of the way.

Title Test

The May Pyramid in Plaza de Mayo

Go ahead take the shot of the Casa Rosada with the palm tree.  You won’t feel right unless you do, so go ahead and take the picture.  Got the shot?  Okay, now think of some different ways you could capture the image and add your OWN iconic slant to the same subject. Look for the buildings reflection in windows or a puddle if it just rained. Include the local architecture, shoot it as a silhouette.  There is really no limiit to what you can do when you are looking for different ways to see.

2.  Practice at home.

Every town and city has its own iconic landmarks. While it may not be a art deco building, it doesn’t matter. Maybe there’s a statue, a church steeple heck, even a grain elevator.  Get your camera and to out to see it for the first time again. Work the scene and find a creative way to frame it.

3.  Don’t forget people.

Be sure to include people in your frame. They can add interest and movement to otherwise stale postcard type shots. People work especially well by adding a sense of scale when you’re shooting large buildings.

Plaza de Mayo is the epicenter for protests and demonstrations in Buenos Aires

Plaza de Mayo is the epicenter for protests and demonstrations in Buenos Aires

4.  Practice.

The more you practice the quicker your eye will become at spotting those interesting shots when you visit a new place. Your images will never be boring again!



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