Join us for a photographic countdown to the most recorded place on earth—plus, tips from our photo editors for breaking the mold if you so choose.
25 Most Photographed Places on Earth
Cornell researchers analyzed 35 million Flickr photos and discovered that we all shoot the same places—from the same angles. Join us for a photographic countdown to the most recorded place on earth—plus, tips from our photo editors for breaking the mold if you so choose.
Tip: Capture the vibe. Sometimes it helps to set your sights on the action of a place rather than its overall beauty. Here, focus on the fluttering pigeons that famously fill the plaza, and the feel of the place will be more evident than it could be in any wide-angle shot.
20th Most Photographed City: Madrid, Spain
Landmark: Plaza Mayor.
The 17th-century principal square is classic Madrid—symmetrical, historic, and abuzz with activity as it's host to cafés, street artists, and various hawkers.
Standard shot: A view across the square taken from the southeast corner.
Tip: Cozy up to something. In a sprawling square, highlight a specific detail—such as this statue in the Plaza Mayor—and shoot it from below, creating a silhouette framed by an expansive sky.
19th Most Photographed City: Vancouver, B.C.
Landmark: Granville Island.
From industrial wasteland to urban-redevelopment success story, this city island is now home to various colorful and creative attractions, from a sprawling public market and the Adventure Zone (a playground for kids) to theater productions and art exhibits. How to capture the vibe in one great shot?
Standard shot: A long shot of the skyline from the harbor.
Tip: Find some color. Look for an out-of-the-ordinary corner to focus on, and then, if you have a compact camera, choose a setting that accentuates the colorful hues of the canvas before you, such as "landscape" for a garden or, if appropriate, "night." On Granville Island, for example, explore the docks and capture the lights at night.
18th Most Photographed City: Milan, Italy
Landmark: Duomo di Milano.
Commissioned in 1386, this soaring, pink-tinged, gargantuan Gothic cathedral (with a capacity of 40,000) has enough spires and statues to humble even the most experienced photographer.
Standard shot: A skyward photo of the cathedral from the front.
Tip: Get past overwhelming façades. Zoom in on visually interesting lines and sculptures, as this photographer did, turning a collection of spires into an arresting graphic image.
17th Most Photographed City: Toronto, Ont.
Landmark: CN Tower.
Toronto's center of telecommunications (its broadcast tower serves 16 Canadian TV and radio stations) is also a skyline star and tourist favorite. Its glass-walled elevator zooms riders to an observation deck in less than one minute, but a look up at the tower from below is pretty thrilling, too.
Standard shot: A vertigo-inducing angle shot from below.
Tip: Get some exposure. Achieving a colorful shot at night is tricky. Use a slow shutter speed, which increases exposure, and a tripod to eliminate blur, and skip the flash to make the lights in your skyline glow. This photographer captured Toronto and its iconic tower from Ward's Island (part of the Toronto Islands), across the Inner Harbor.
16th Most Photographed City: Florence, Italy
Landmark: Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore).
Filippo Brunelleschi's masterpiece—today, the world's third-largest church—was built from 1296 into the 1400s. Its striking red-tiled dome and colorful façade of pink, green, and white are photo-worthy, indeed.
Standard shot: The stunning façade.
Tip: Capture it all. Juxtapose a section of the landmark building with a view of the city (or other contextual elements) by shooting out from within the icon itself.
15th Most Photographed City: Las Vegas
Landmark: Paris Las Vegas hotel.
Part of the Strip for a dozen years already, this French theme park of a resort—and especially its Eiffel Tower reproduction—is still a big hit with shutterbugs.
Standard shot: A full frontal of the Paris Las Vegas.
Tip: Go away. Sometimes it helps to get some perspective. In this case, you can cross Las Vegas Boulevard and go up into Paris's neighbor, the Bellagio, to get an elevated shot of the hotel spectacle.
14th Most Photographed City: Berlin, Germany
Landmark: Brandenburg Gate.
Representing the lofty idea of peace and standing 82 feet high, this 18th-century sandstone landmark—Germany's most well-known—can easily make shutterbugs feel like they should fall in line.
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