5 Simple Tips For Shooting Large Wall Murals

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

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 and tourists in cities around the world go out of their way to find them. But, how do you make your pictures of wall murals unique?

Looking for iconic wall murals in Austin? Check out this blog from Swift Wellness a guide to famous murals on South Congress and their history. 

1. Use a Wide Angle Lens To Take Pictures Of Murals

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 gives flexibility in framing the shot; allowing you to include more surroundings and provide more detail. 

Some murals are large or in tight alleyways and 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. how to pose in front of a mural

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 poses in front of murals 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.

A large red parking sign was distracting in the Mr. Rogers mural photoshoot, but its hardly noticeable once Ashley stood in front of the sign. 

3. Get In Close To Capture The Details Of Cool Murals

"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 and focus on a particular aspect that means something to you or is interesting. The “Before I Die” wall mural off South Congress in Austin 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 In Mural Photography

As mentioned in some of the previous tips, you won’t be able to control the environment in any form of street art. 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 all the imperfections 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

  1. Canon 6D Mark II – $1,359
  2. Canon EF 50mm Lens – $125
  3. Canon EF 17-40mm Lens – $450

Author Bio

Author Bio Image

Delaney is a Business Analyst by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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2 Responses

  1. I liked how you mentioned that you should use unique angles when taking pictures of murals. My wife and I are wanting to travel to a new country and we were wondering how we could take good pictures fo the murals we see there. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should use unique perspectives to take pictures of murals.

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