Through the Instagram app alone, an estimated 5 million photos are loaded onto the Internet a day. And though many are undoubtedly funny cat pictures or other banal subjects—to the aggravation of McSweeney’s Katherine Markovich, who wrote an open letter to people who take pictures with Instagram—many are tourist and vacation shots.
Toronto photographer Tim Fraser has some tips for taking better architectural photographs, on par with Esto’s best, but his advice can be boiled down to the following: set up a tripod and be patient. “Align it at your most desired angle, then wait and watch, as a scene unfolds in all its order or chaos,” he wrote for The Globe and Mail.
If patience isn’t your virtue, Fraser also recommends finding creative angles through a wide-angle lens, a long-angle shot, or even from a Cesna, at $200 and up.
And if you try at first, but struggle to succeed, just remember: Frank Lloyd Wright’s photographer Pedro Guerrero was 22, without a photography degree, and didn’t even know who Wright was when he started his career. If Guerrero could do it for the best on instinct and trial-and-error, so can you. “Force yourself to think differently, see differently, and above all, explore,” Fraser says. At least you’ll have better tourist shots of the Parthenon than the guy next to you.
High-tech smartphones and inexpensive camera gear mean that anyone has a shot at making it into National Geographic’s Your Shot feature. Make it a summer goal to populate the section with arch photos.