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Everyone likes to consider themselves a photographer, some more than others, especially since the era of the digital camera (myself included). Next time you’re taking your perfect holiday photo, consider that you are most likely standing in the very spot where thousands of people have stood in order to take the exact same photograph that you’re now attempting.

A study done by a group of scientists in Cornell has revealed that among the 35 million geotagged photographs on Flickr, the majority of popular landmarks have their picture taken from the same place and angle by photographers. Even more surprising is the fact that some iconic places receive more love from happy-snappy holiday makers than others.

Top 5 most photographed destinations in Europe

By Walker (Flickr)

To photograph the Eiffel Tower from below, turn your camera to add some interest. Image by Walker (Flickr)

Check out Walker’s photostream on Flickr

Eiffel Tower, Paris

If you think of France, the Eiffel tower is generally the first landmark mentioned, and is reputed to be the most photographed edifice in Europe! Being the tallest building in Paris, you won’t fail to spot it regardless of where you are. The two most common angles include shots taken from the square and those taken while standing below it.

Make it memorable: Take your photograph of the tower while on it, or try your hand at arty shots while sipping coffee at a nearby café.


A side view of Notre Dame in Paris. Image by proudnorthern (Flickr)

Check out proudnorthern’s photostream on Flickr

Notre Dame, Paris

Completed in 1345, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a good example of classic Gothic architecture. Though not traditionally beautiful, the hand-crafted stone gargoyles are well worth a closer look, as are the stained glass windows. Photographers usually try to capture the entire building, especially the Western Façade, from the bridge over the Seine River.

For a different approach: Take your shot from within the flower garden, using the fragrant blooms and vines to form a ‘frame’. If you don’t get the picture you wanted, at least you had the chance to stop and smell the roses.

Trafalgar Square and Fountain with the National Gallery in the background. Image by ell brown (Flickr)

Check out ell brown’s photostream on Flickr

Trafalgar Square, London

Located in the heart of London, Trafalgar Square is the second most photographed landmark in the world, after the Eiffel Tower. Since the Middle Ages it has been a meeting place, and is still popular for Christmas Celebrations and New Year’s Eve parties. The tall column in the centre is called Nelson’s Column. The most photographed angles for it are ones with the National Gallery and Fountain.

Make your shots unique: Try and capture people moving up the stairs, while standing below the column.

A unique shot of Big Ben through the London Eye. By JP (Flickr)

A unique shot of Big Ben through the London Eye. By JP (Flickr)

 Check out JP’s photostream on Flickr

Big Ben, London

The London Clock Tower, that has been affectionately nicknamed Big Ben, is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. It is often used in popular media to depict things set in London, and has a plaque on the inside clock wall which reads: “All through this hour, Lord be my guide, And by Thy power, No foot shall slide”. Popular pictures of it are taken from the base, pointing the lens up; or from a distance, trying to encompass the whole.

Stand out by: Trying to get a picture of it framed by the surrounding buildings.


Edinburgh Castle. Image by Jordan S Hatcher (Flickr)

Check out Jordan S Hatcher’s photostream on Flickr

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

The towering hillside fortress, which is an iconic landmark of Edinburgh, has been inhabited since the 9th century and has seen many conflicts, wars, and treasons since its creation. It houses the Scottish crown jewels, was the historical seat of Scottish Kings, and from the battlements you can get lovely panoramic shots of the city. Some of the more common photos of it include the view from the courtyard looking up to the castle, a side view of the castle on the hilltop, St. Margaret’s Chapel, and the Portcullis Gate.

Make your photo memorable: By capturing it from the tower looking into the courtyard.

Top 5 Photographed Destinations in North America

New York's yellow taxis are most often photographed along Times Square. By Roseanna McBain

New York City, New York

Affectionately referred to as ‘the Big Apple’, New York City is the most photographed destination in the world! Rightly so, as the hustle and bustle of the city creates an energizing atmosphere, regardless of what time of day it is, urging you to go out exploring. The most common photos taken of New York are from Times Square, Central Park and the Empire States Building.

Make your photo stand out: By taking it while going over the Brooklyn bridge.


The Empire State Building as seen from below. By b00nj (Flickr)

Check out boonj’s photostream on Flickr

Empire State Building, New York

The Empire State Building is the second tallest building in New York City is the 102-story skyscraper. Completed in 1931, it held the record for being the tallest skyscraper in New York, losing the title in 1972 to the North Tower of the twin World Trade Centres, before regaining it after the devastating 9/11 attacks, and then losing it once again on April 30, 2012, to the One World Trade Centre, which is still under construction. Common photographs of it include shots taken below it looking up, and those taken while across town, capturing the whole building.

Be unique by: Taking a photo while on top looking down.


A photo of the Liberty Bell taken at an angle, with Independance Hall behind. By SaijaLehto (Flickr)

Check out SaijaLehto’s photostream on Flickr

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

One of the oldest symbols of American hope and independence is the Liberty Bell, which can be seen in Pennsylvania. It has a proverb inscribed on it, “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” as well as a hairline crack in the bell. Today it hangs from an elm yoke in the Liberty Bell Centre, across from its original home at Independence Hall. The most common photographs of the Liberty Bell are close-up shots taken with Independence Hall in the background.

Consider: Taking your shot from a distance, or from the side.


One of the more common images of the Golden Gate Bridge from the shore. By Pet_r (Flickr)

Check out Pet_r’s photostream on Flickr

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Considered to be the most photographed landmark in America, as well as the most photographed bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge in California is something worth marvelling at. Completed in 1937 to replace the ferry system, this suspension bridge is 67.1 metres above the water, and holds six lanes of pedestrians and vehicles. Its official colour is an orange vermillion and the hue is maintained by a team of 38 painters who touch it up when required with an acrylic topcoat. The most common photographs of it are from the shore line.

Bridge the gap: Try taking a photograph while moving across it, or capture it while going below it on a hired boat.

The Washington monument as seen from the Lincoln Memorial. By Delaywaves (CC)

Washington Monument, Washington

This world famous obelisk is not only a marvel because of the craftsmanship that went into creating it, but because no other monument has come close to exceeding its height; those which have, are not made entirely of stone. The most common photographs of it include those taken from the Lincoln memorial across the reflection pool; taken when it’s lit up at night; and of the top 3/4ths of it. It was damaged in an earthquake in 2011 and is currently closed to the public.

Stay tuned because next week we’ve got the top ten most photographed landmarks and destinations across Asia and South America. Have you seen any of the above monuments or destinations?


Creative Common’s image courtesy of Delaywaves


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  • Shelley Swart

    Awesome images and info!! Keep up the good work keeping us informed!

  • You go girl!! Proud of you, keep up the good work!! 🙂

  • I’m not surprised that Eiffel Tower, Paris is included at the top 5 most photographed destinations in Europe. Aside that it’s my favorite, It’s definitely one of the most romantic and beautiful places to visit and to photograph. Great post and images. Keep it up!

  • Rebecca Pistiner

    Love it!

  • Great list Roseanna! I have only been to London and currently planning to visit Paris on new year eve. Can’t wait for it 😉

  • jack

    All destinations are best places, I would like to add one more place Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is also a best destination for photography. You can capture the most magical water falling views, apart from this Fallsview Niagara Falls hotel also provide you falls view rooms you can admire the waterfall views from your hotel room.