There are so many things to photograph when travelling, from the architecture to the parks to the cobblestone lanes, that it can be almost overwhelming to know where to go to get the best shots. We've done the research and found the best vantage points for capturing the most photogenic sights in Paris, New York and London.
London: The Shard building is the best place for birdseye London views. Not only are the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and boats meandering down the Thames in full view, but the Gherkin building, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral can also be seen. There are great views from the Monument building too, but it has a wire fence that will obscure your photos, and the London Eye has a tendency to create reflections in photos (especially at night). Vertigo 42 Champagne Bar in the 42 Tower also has an incredible city view that you can enjoy while having a cocktail. When photographing other London sights, such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, most people go to the Westminster Bridge, but a river cruise is an even better option, because it will make it possible for you to float alongside these buildings and get an interesting shot looking up.
New York: Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Centre has a wraparound deck that makes it possible to see all of New York, including Central Park and the George Washington Bridge. Some people prefer to go to the top of the Empire State building, but you'll be able to get great photos of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building if you go to the Top of the Rock. It's stunning at sunset. If you're planning on going to a rooftop bar, don't forget to take your camera. Bars such as The Metropolitan Museum Roof Garden Café & Martini Bar and 230 Fifth on Fifth Avenue have beautiful sweeping views of Manhattan, too.
Paris: If you want to visit the Basilica Sacre de Coeur, then you should also take advantage of the view from the top of the stairs and in the dome, because it has a 360 degree vista that overlooks all of Paris, being on the highest hill in the city. Notre Dame has a great outlook over Paris, with the Seine river, bridges and golden spire of the Hotel des Invalides all visible in the distance. Also, not everyone knows that you can actually stand on top of the Arc de Triomphe and look down at the 12 bustling avenues that circle around it, including the Champs Elysees, the main drag in Paris, which runs all the way to the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. The top of Arc de Triomphe is also the best place to be for the Bastille Day parade and fireworks in July. You can see the Eiffel Tower from almost any high point in the city while sightseeing – it will always feature somewhere in the skyline, but there are certain areas where you can go to get a less touristy view, such as the Pont de BirHakeim and Passerelle Debilly bridges, if you want to include the Seine River in the photo.
New York: Broadway, Greenwich Village and Chinatown are some of the districts known for having a
collection of colourful characters to photograph, but you could almost stand on any street corner and get a good street shot. Technically Central Park is not the street, but the number of people spread out and sunning themselves on the grass in summer says a lot about the New York apartment lifestyle. You might be able to include some iconic buildings like the Plaza Hotel in the background if you're in the right spot.
Paris: To capture coffee-sipping Parisians under cafe umbrellas and crepe street vendors, visit the Latin Quarter, SaintGermandesPres or Montmartre areas, in the 5th, 6th and 18th arrondissements. The Rue de la Bucherie and Rue SaintSeverin are particularly good streets for villagestyle
London: There’s no better place to go in London for street photography than the Portobello Road Markets on Saturdays in Notting Hill. From to the multicoloured rainbow houses to the secondhand stalls, it’s full of great photo opportunities. Kings Cross Station is another great spot for photographing people on the move, and Harry Potter fans can duck over to the fictional Platform 9 and ¾ that has become a tourist photo spot.
Paris: Night time in Paris is awash with light from the Eiffel Tower light show that happens every hour. You'll get a great photo of it from the Champ de Mars Gardens, or the Trocadero Gardens. The Lourve courtyard also has a magic quality after dusk that is worth capturing. If you stand on The Champs Elysees, looking towards the Arc de Triomphe, you can use techniques to shoot car light trails and get motion blur, too. If you're visiting Paris at Christmas, you'll find it's beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights at that time of year.
New York: Times Square is a vibrant place for night photography, with lights from cars, billboards and skyscrapers that a photo taken during the day just won't do justice to. If you can also take photos looking down at it from one of the nearby hotel buildings, you'll get an even better perspective of the hub of activity it's known for being. If you want to capture the night time reflections of the city lights in the Hudson River, position yourself on the Staten Island ferry, and snap the Statue of Liberty at the same time. Finally, the South Street Seaport is a less crowded location for taking photos of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge at night, so you don't have to make you way to the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, if you’d prefer to stay in Manhattan.
London: Piccadilly Circus is London’s version of Times Square, but the classic architecture, red
telephone booths and quaint lamp posts give it a different look altogether. You could also capture evening slow motion misty shots of the water fountains in Trafalgar Square, as well as double decker buses whizzing by. You might even like to use long exposures on your camera to blur the bright coloured lights of the London Eye to create a hazy effect, which you can photograph while standing on the Hungerford Bridge.
This article was contributed by Brooke Tasovac from Photoh. If you're interested in learning more about travel photography, Photoh offers dedicated travel photography workshops in locations across Australia.