Iconic Images


Yesterday on social media I put up a photo which I think is quite an iconic image of San Francisco. I have seen many many similar images. It is one of the Bay Bridge at night.


There is no doubt that many people have taken this image. Even when I was getting this there were lots of other photographers as well. Who wouldn’t want to get a shot like this?

It is going to be like this in any city where you have places that will give the photographer a beautiful image. These are the iconic images of photography, and whether we want to admit it or not, most of us want them in our collections.

I couldn’t help myself when I was away I had to get many photos of these iconic places. There is no point, I think, not wanting to, but I also knew that I would have accept that my images may not be original.

Even in my home town there are images that everyone, or most, have that I knew I wanted as well.


The light trails around Flinders Street Station is very iconic image. Most Melbourne based photographers are going to have an image like this.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting these images. I wouldn’t put them into competitions or anything like that, but I like that I have them. It can still be a challenge trying to get something different, but in the end, you end up with what others have. I think that is fine.

I hope you try and take photos of iconic places, as well as ones that aren’t so well known. One of the problems with travelling is that you often only know, or are aware of, the places that everyone else takes images of. Whereas, one of the benefits of getting to know where you live is that you can take photos of places that people visiting won’t be aware of. I like that part.

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  1. I believe in making images of iconic places no matter how many times the composition has been made. Especially if you are shooting when the light is absolutely amazing or if it is a location you may not visit again such as traveling to another country.

    1. I do too Tamara, I think it is one of those things we couldn’t help doing. I don’t mind wanting to imitate really outstanding work. Thanks.

  2. Another iconic shot is the Horse Shoe Bend in the Grand Canyon. I see at least one of Horse Shoe Bend everyday. I tend to see iconic as that truly one of a kind shot of common scene (like the Bay Bridge or Horse Shoe Bend) that makes it different from everybody else’s.

    1. I know what you mean, still I wouldn’t mind getting that shot myself, maybe one day. I tend to think of those shots as unique, very different to what anyone else has. Or maybe it is iconic shots of places where the place is truly iconic. Interesting. Thanks David.

  3. I had the same problem when we visited Niagara Falls in 2013. I told my husband that I diidn’t know how to shoot it so it would be different. I had accepted that I would get the same look of the Horseshoe Falls. Once we got there, I realized that those iconic images had to be aerial shots because you couldn’t get close enough to get a decent picture because of the wind and spray. I ended up shooting from Goat Island, getting all 3 Falls in the shot. I love that image. When taking a picture that has been shot a million times, it’s still your image and takes on a different and personal feeling.

    1. That is great that you got one that you loved, and I have to say for me the photos bring back the memory of being there. I look through my photos of the US and it is like, oh yeah, that was a great day, I had forgotten that. Your last sentence really is true. Thanks Anne.

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