Travel Photography – Seek out the unusual

Last weekend I went to Washington DC with my local camera club and, as some of the attendees were new to DC, we mainly covered the popular sites that I have visited many times before. So how to take something new that I could upload to my stock portfolio? The answer for me was to seek out the unusual view of those places that have been covered in thousands of images already. While not many of my readers will visit Washington, you can apply the same thinking when next you visit a tourist destination – by all means get the standard pictures, especially if the lighting is great, but look for something that provides a buyer with a different slant. Remember that buyers are looking for something a bit different to those postcard images as well.

My first was the White House – security is all the rage these days with fence climbers scaling the metal fencing and so a focus on the new enlarged security cordon and the sign could be used next time there is an incident there:

The background is out of focus to increase the prominence of the sign. Next we walked along the Mall to 

the Federal Reserve. Often in the news, but security is tighter there as well:

And Washington in summer is very busy with tourists – even the bikes for rent are gone:

A bit of the beaten track is Albert Einstein – plenty of copy space and with lighting that focuses on the statue. This one will be editorial:

Sticking with the editorial theme, everyone knows this statue but getting tourists taking photos of it is a bit different:

President Lincoln is next. Most views are from the front – a side view has some interest as he looks out onto the Mall:

After walking 8 miles we were ready for a break, but getting back to DC in the evening is always worthwhile. Here is a reflection of the Washington Monument at sunset in the windows of the new African American Museum:

And then a view from the reflecting pool in front of the museum:

Finally, after an early start at 4am for the sunset over the city (which was OK but nothing special), a different take on the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington Cemetery. This could be used for more military type purposes (I hope!).

From that first day, I ended up with 45 images to submit to the agencies, including some “arty” ones for Fine Art America:

Not bad from a city that I know well and have photographed many times before.


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Cool! I’d love to visit D.C.

Do your friends from the photo club also submit to stock agencies?

Well, next time you are in the USA, I’ll give you a tour. I’m very reasonable on fees!
No – there are a few portrait and wedding shooters, but no other stock photographers. Small club though – 20 people normally at the meetings.

How did you post processed the “arty” one for Fine Art America? Did you use nik collection or something else? Good work btw.

    Thanks! I might do a blog post about this, but basically I took 5 hand held shots 1 stop apart and processed those in Photomatix Pro HDR software to bring out the texture in the bronze. I then opened in Photoshop and used Nik Silver Efex for the black and white conversion. I then went back to Photoshop and used a point light from the lighting effects filter to light up the face and darken the background. I think I also painted back some of the light on the heads of the figures in the background to make then stand out a bit from the background.

Steve, very good points, particularly in that one cannot hope to compete with the local photographers for those best conditions. Since you might not get the ideal conditions on a short term trip, looking at things from a different angle might give you an edge.

Yes, I was pleased with the results. I’ve actually got 60 images that I am submitting. I got some rejections from SS about property releases (of the Washington Monument of all things!!). I think their reviewer must have heard that the lighting of the Eiffel tower is copyrighted and so the floodlit monument should be the same…

They are beautiful photos – Thank you for sharing what you were trying to capture – i like this way of learning


One of your best posts. I would call many of your example shots here as “detail” shots. Sometimes, and particularly this time, you can tell a picture story with great detail shots. You did this very well this time.

My only problem is that I do not know which one I think is best.


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