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Wall murals are a colorful and elaborate form of street art that captures the character of any city. They can be a time capsule of current events or an iconic landmark. In a collaborative effort with my good friend Ashley at Swift Wellness, we are teaming up to show you the best murals in Austin, Texas and how to get great photos. Head over to Swift Wellness to discover the history and nearby attractions for 10 Must Visit Austin Murals and Street Art on South Congress, then come back and keep reading for tips on photographing Austin’s most popular graffiti art.

1. USE A WIDE ANGLE LENS

Vintage wide shot of Willie For President including neighboring window.
Photographer: Delaney | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 1 | Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
Willie for President Wall mural on South Congress in Austin, Texas - Swift Wellness
Photographer: Ashley | Camera: Canon 6D Mark II | Lens: Canon 50mm
The best lens for photographing large murals is a wide-angle lens which fits more into a single frame than other lenses and is a must have for your camera bag. The extra field of view it provides gives you more flexibility in how you frame the shot, allowing you to include more surroundings and provide more detail. Some murals are so large that a wide-angle lens is necessary just to capture the full work of art in one photo!

Notice the difference in the above images; with a wider lens, I was able to include the neighboring wall and create a more vintage feel. Meanwhile, Ashley utilized tip #4 and used a unique angle to create a different vibe. Hopefully, Willie sees these awesome photos and asks us to manage his presidential marketing campaign. A girl can dream, can’t she?

2. Pose Strategically

Woman in a white shirt and a Canon camera posting in front of the Mr. Rogers wall mural on South Congress
Photographer: Delaney | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 1 | Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
Woman in white shirt jumping in front of a large wall mural with a cat wearing a bandana
Photographer: Delaney | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 1 | Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm

Using the right pose in mural photography can give you more control over the unattractive elements in the photo such as trash and street signs. Hide distractions by standing in front of it, or interact with the surroundings to make it a fun addition to the photo instead of unsightly.

3. Get In CLose

"see the world" life goal on the before I die wall mural 
Photographer: Delaney | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 1 | Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
See my friend succeed written in pink chalk on the Before I Die Wall Mural on South Congress In Austin, Texas
Photographer: Ashley | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 2 | Lens: Canon EF 50mm

You may be fighting a sea of people for an opportunity to take a picture of popular murals. One way to avoid crowds ruining your photos is to get in close; focus on a particular aspect that means something to you or is particularly interesting. The “Before I Die” wall is a great mural to focus on a small part without taking away from the overall appeal of the piece.

4. Try Different Angles

Love From Austin Unique Angle
Photographer: Delaney | Camera: Canon 6D Mark 1 | Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm
Love from Austin Mural
Photographer: Ashley | Camera: Canon 6D Mark II | Lens: Canon 50mm

While a perfectly centered shot has it’s place; using different angles gives a unique perspective that leads to one of a kind photos. Using different angles can also hide trash, get around people, circumvent a narrow focal length, and add creative flare.

5. Embrace the Moment

As mentioned in some of the previous tips, with any form of street photography you won’t be able to control the environment. There will always be people, trash, harsh shadows, chipped paint, and street signs. You name it, and it’ll be in the way. The trick to great street art photography is to look for ways to embrace it and make it part of the photo.

Using these techniques and applying our own personal shooting styles, Ashley and I photographed the same subjects but with very different results. So get out there, go shoot, and create something special.

Equipment Used

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Wall Mural Pin

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