Photographing Unusual Places

 photo-11Not Your Usual Places

Every now and again we tend to get in a rut, like writers block but with our cameras.  You’ve photographed everything in your house and within a 20 mile radius and you’re just looking for something new and close by.  Now, I would argue that you never run out of things to photograph near by if we learn new ways of looking at our world but that’s another article entirely.  Here is a challenge you can try even when you’re out with friends.

Leave your big DSLR at home because you’re going to want to be inconspicuous, you’ll want to grab your smallest camera or even your camera phone.  Start to look at your ordinary everyday activities and think about the places where you’d never even think of taking a photograph (not the bathroom).  Now take a photograph there!

Places like movie theaters, opera houses, bars, restaurants, museums, malls, clubs, and coffee houses are great for discrete shots of ornate decorations and craftsmanship.  Try to respect people’s privacy and turn off your flash, the photograph a the top of the page was in a movie theater with an iPhone without flash (hence the noise due to high ISO).


Taking photographs with my cell phone is not my absolute favorite thing to do, but it does open my mind up to other possibilities for when I have my DSLR in hand.  Try to train yourself to look for repeating patterns and leading lines, things that you’ll look for when photographing landscapes with your best camera.  You’ll face different challenges during this exercise, instead of worrying about your shutter speed and aperture you’ll need to be aware of what automatic adjustments your camera makes and what it’s limitations are (for instance: the iPhone is not a strong camera in low light).


  • Taking low light photographs on any camera is a challenge – more so on a cheap, small camera
  • Smaller cheaper cameras don’t have image stabilization so pictures can be prone to blur (Lumia 920 is the exception)
  • Cameras without manual settings can be a challenge in any setting other than a perfectly bright sunny day
  • Most small cameras don’t have the ability to create bokeh (artistic blur in the background of your image)
  • There are a reason why you don’t take your DSLR to some places, there just doesn’t seem to be anything interesting to photograph… That’s the challenge though, finding something where there normally isn’t something to find.

So see what you can do and then submit your best images to PhotolisticLife where we will post them in the Photo Journal Challenge for all to see.  Good Luck!

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