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.
Standard shot: Straight on.
Tip: Break the rules. Shoot directly into the sun as it sets to create a compelling silhouette.
13th Most Photographed City: San Diego, Calif.
Landmark: Balboa Park.
Set aside as a public space in 1868, this 1,200-acre park has undergone many stages of development and beautification. Today, it's home to theaters, activity centers, landscaped gardens, and at least a dozen museums, with more than its fair share of photo-worthy landscapes.
Standard shot: A zoomed-out focus on the tower of the California Building.
Tip: Try fresh angles. This unusual composition, including just the tip of the ornate California Building, fills the frame with the vibrant blue sky as reflected in this body of water.
12th Most Photographed City: Barcelona, Spain
Landmark: Sagrada Família.
It's hard to know exactly where to point your lens at Gaudí's elaborately ornate, multitowered Gothic cathedral, which couldn't possibly be captured all in a single frame.
Standard shot: From the front entrance, looking up.
Tip: Zoom in. Avoid the standard, straight-on shot (and, in this case, unattractive scaffolding) to zoom in on the ornate details, such as the basilica's steeples.
11th Most Photographed City: Boston
Landmark: Fenway Park.
Boston tourists love snapping photos of this classic ball field, which is the site of All-Star games, a World Series win, and historic moments ranging from a record Mickey Mantle home run to a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Standard shot: Far, wide.
Tip: Seize the moment. Preset your camera on its rapid-fire, or "sports," setting—but, when the big moment happens, look to the stands instead of the field for inspiration. When you see something animated, such as a fan waving his arms in the air, you'll be ready to snap multiple shots, capturing the silhouette (and the energy of the crowd) against the backdrop of the field.
10th Most Photographed City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Landmark: Dam Square.
Created in the 13th century as a dam around the Amstel River, this expansive plaza is now flooded with street performers and tourists (and pigeons). It's hard to capture the frenzied feeling in a wide shot.
Standard shot: Wide, with buildings and lots of space.
Tip: Try keeping other people in the frame. There's a natural temptation to shy away from shooting photos of strangers, but including people can give viewers a contextual clue about the relative size of the subject you're photographing. Plus families and groups of travelers can make a space seem more alive. Here, the photographer has used the plaza as a backdrop to capture its local talent.
9th Most Photographed City: Rome, Italy
This ancient site is filled with the ghosts of dueling gladiators, tormented prisoners, and slaughtered animals, contained, centuries after the fact, within a stunning framework of Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic columns. It's a gorgeous dichotomy indeed, and it's hard to not want to capture it all.
Standard shot: The structure, in its entirety.
Tip: Take advantage of a natural "frame." The archways at Rome's Colosseum give shape to the photo. Shooting through windows, courtyards, doorways, and other openings can create an appealing inside/outside dynamic.
8th Most Photographed City: Seattle
Landmark: Space Needle.
What began as the symbol of the World's Fair in 1962 has now become the symbol of this supercool city. The 360-degree view from the top is expansive, taking in sights from the Puget Sound to Mount Rainier.
Standard shot: From directly below.
Tip: Create a mirror image. Reflective surfaces are common in urban areas. For a unique take on a classic monument, look around for how an object might be mirrored in a car window, a building's glass front, or the surface of a fountain.
7th Most Photographed City: Washington, D.C.
Landmark: Lincoln Memorial.
This marble memorial to the 16th president—featuring Ionic columns, oil-paint murals, and a 120-ton statue of Abe himself—is a striking part of the National Mall.
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