Creative Ways to Shoot a Familiar Place


Unless you are well-traveled, there’s a pretty good chance that you are going to be shooting the same places over and over again. Here are some ways you can mix it up and make those same places fun when you shoot at them next.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Most of us do it – we shoot the same places over and over again. Maybe it’s our way to work and back, maybe it’s the town we live in, or a favorite place we go to walk and shoot. Either way, sometimes you have to change your shooting style and gear to find a fresh, creative take on capturing familiar spots.

I have had to do this many times for some of the places I hike at and shoot. But these ideas are applicable to mostly any other situation you’d find yourself in again and want to make your photos interesting.

I thought I would discuss some of the ways I personally do this and how you can use it in your life, too. But mostly I hope to inspire someone out there to take a shot they might not have taken previously.

I hike at a great wilderness hiking spot here in town called Turkey Mountain pretty regularly. I almost always carry some cameras and shoot while I hike. So I’ve seen it all a lot of times. To keep it interesting, I’ve tried most of these techniques there and I think each brings something different to the party. One of the easiest is just to bring a few different cameras with you.

Try Different Cameras

We all have a few cameras we love and use all the time. But there are so many options, so why not try something different? I like to carry at least two or three with me. If you normally carry your LC-A+, try carrying your Sprocket Rocket or your Yashica Electro 35. Maybe pick up an old box camera and shoot with it.

Every camera brings its own unique way of doing things. And each one makes you take a moment to really think about the shot. I find this especially true with TLRs. I think it’s how they focus and aim that make me really work for each shot. Sometimes, this distraction can help you shoot differently or creatively.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Try Different Kinds of Film

We all know how much of a difference a change in film can make. That is why I like to keep an assortment with me for any purpose. When I am going somewhere I’ve been to before, I try to take some films I’ve not used there. These can be new or expired, just grab whatever sounds fun and stick it into your bag before you head out.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Change Your Focal Length

It doesn’t have to be several cameras – you can carry a wide lens and a portrait lens. Whatever works for you. Try to keep the cameras in the same film type, like all 35mm or all 120, and avoid similar cameras so you have options. I like my 40mm and my 15mm in M-mount format for my Voigtlander Bessa R4A. I mostly use the 15mm, but I keep that 40mm with me because I never know when I might want to switch it up.

I know the last time I shot the Lomography Petzval on my Nikon FE, it was a huge difference to me from what I was used to on that camera. I had previously mostly shot with a Nikon 50mm lens, and we’re talking 85mm vs. my normal 50mm on the FE. So it’s a challenge but it makes me approach shots differently, which is the point here.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Get Even Closer

Macro and close-up photos are always fun. Some cameras like the LC-Wide thrive when shot close-up to things, but you can use any kind of macro or similar lens to get creative when shooting some place familiar. Don’t be afraid to get as close as you can, or add on some close up filters so you can really get close.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Doubles Are Always Fun

Just mix it up a little. A slight change in your habits and you can open new worlds. Try some mirrored doubles or whatever kind you wish.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Look Up!

There is a lot to be seen if you look up – buildings, treetops, the sun, and more. So don’t be afraid to aim up for some of your shots. I am a huge fan of trees or buildings backlit by the sun. But if it’s to be seen above you, it’s probably worth photographing.

Credits: alienmeatsack

And of Course, Look Down

Sure, our feet are down there but so are a lot of other interesting things. So feel free to aim your camera down at things below you, too.

Credits: alienmeatsack

Layer It On, Get Crazy

When you are truly running out of new and creative ways to shoot the same locations, layer up the techniques above or just go nuts and see what you might get!

Credits: alienmeatsack

These are just a few fun ways to mix it up. When it comes to shooting in the same places, I have been there, done that. So I have tried to make these familiar locations fun each time I shoot them by changing what I use or how I shoot. I hope you find some new ways to spice up your familiar shooting locations, too!

Lomo On!

Credits: alienmeatsack

See also:

written by Robn Kester on 2015-03-17 #gear #tutorials #nature #fun #hiking #film #macro #redscale #angle #lens #expired-film #creative #tipster #field-of-view #familiar #regular-contributor #turkey-mountain #creative-ways-to


  1. pan_dre
    pan_dre ·

    Another great tipster @alienmeatsack!! Different Cameras can definitely bring out a different vibe or different characteristics in a place.

  2. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    My favorite is to go at different times of the day. If you're taking pictures in the city, you can always get great pictures at nighttime - especially at festivals, around Christmastime, etc. Also, try to go at different seasons - fall/spring, winter, & summer all look completely different.

  3. waynejordan
    waynejordan ·

    Something you also tend to use, and that I've heard before: if you're stuck, take a photo of yourself in the shot. Easier to do with a camera that has a timer, if you want to really get into the scene. But good ideas!

  4. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @pan_dre Thanks! I know I missed some techniques but I think I covered enough points to make my point. :D

    @jvujnovi That is also a great way to mix up a familiar place! I haven't been to TM late after dark, it's a bit scary then, or I'd probably have done so. But you're right, night and day can literally make a night and day difference in a shot of the same places!

    @waynejordan Yes, I do include myself in my shots regularly, lol. I actually do it to document what I look like and my general visual state, but it also connects me to the roll of shots so it feels more personal then say 24 shots of trees. The one thing I have not done is the Timer. I think because manuy of my cameras don't have them, or they are the one part that is broken. But I definitely think that is a good idea. I bet there's a entire technique to shooting shots like that, getting far away from the camera and not looking like you just run and turned. :D

  5. alexkon
    alexkon ·

    An excellent guide to exit from creative crisis!

  6. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @alexkon Thank you. I hope it inspires a few folks to do something they might not have in a place that has become too familiar.

  7. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Good ideas here! I use some of them, but you have inspired me to try others - thanks.

  8. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @bsdunek I am glad you found it useful!

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