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 for guide to famous murals on South Congress and their history and; keep reading for tips on photographing Austin’s most popular graffiti murals.
1. Use a Wide Angle Lens To Take Pictures Of Murals
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 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. how to pose in front of a mural
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
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
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 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.