Photo tip: Reflection pictures are often best when precisely symmetrical, so this is one time when it’s perfectly OK to break the “rule of thirds.” Put the horizon in the exact middle of the frame to capture the elegance of the Taj Mahal’s Mughal architecture.

Taj Mahal, India

Photo tip: Reflection pictures are often best when precisely symmetrical, so this is one time when it’s perfectly OK to break the “rule of thirds.” Put the horizon in the exact middle of the frame to capture the elegance of the Taj Mahal’s Mughal architecture.
Photograph by Jim Richardson

How to photograph 10 iconic places

A National Geographic photographer shares his tips for depicting the beauty of his most beloved destinations.

Like iron filings drawn to a magnet, we can’t resist the pull of the world’s most iconic places—their mystery, their splendor, their improbable but undeniable place in history.

Any attempt to list such places will always be arbitrary. But after photographing more than 50 stories for National Geographic, I find the exercise has something more to do with understanding both ourselves and the world. Just as going there and taking the pictures was a deeply rich experience, so too is the simple act of asking which ones—and why?

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