BUFFALO, N.Y. — From the waterfront, to the downtown murals and the architecture, Buffalo is full of places that make for great photo backdrop. 2 On Your Side's Lauren Hall went around town with Ryan Kell, the professional photographer behind Seek Axiom, to get his quick tips on how to capture great photos at some of the city's most Instagram-able locations.
When taking photos at the waterfront, Kell says to look for places that have leading lines, or lines in photos that point to the subject. The Skyway, the railings along the boardwalk, and the bridges over the canals are great examples of leading lines.
"A leading line is exactly what it sounds like. It's a line in your composition that points directly to what you want to focus on in your photo," Kell said. "It just gives something for our eye to follow throughout the whole thing. It creates more of a story, so you start at one point, ending at the subject."
The bridges are a good spot to have some fun and be active in your photos. Dancing or jumping can give the photographer good opportunities to capture natural movement.
"GREETINGS FROM BUFFALO" MURAL:
The "Greetings from Buffalo" mural on Ellicott Street is a popular picture spot for obvious reasons. It's bright, colorful, and celebrates the city. Kell says this is a great place to take a picture with an iPhone, because if you're using a professional camera you would need a wide lens to get it all in the shot.
"With this mural in particular, I recommend doing landscape to really give it that postcard feel because that's what the mural is trying to depict," Kell says.
"NOODLE IN THE NORTHERN LIGHTS" MURAL
This mural by Jessie and Katey, commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 2016, can be challenging to get a picture of because it sits on such a busy street, the block of Tupper between Main and Pearl.
If you don't have the patience to dodge traffic to get a shot from across the way, Ryan suggests having the subject walk right along the wall while the photographer stands on the same section of the sidewalk.
"LOOKIN' GOOD" MURAL:
The colorful "Looking Good" mural on Hertel is the work of Casey Milbrand, the same artist as "Greetings from Buffalo" downtown. Kell says it's a great place to work on the rule of thirds, by placing your subject along the guidelines that pop up on your iPhone when it's in camera mode to divide the screen into three parts.
Since "Lookin Good" is located across from the Churn ice cream shop, it's also a good spot to bring in an ice cream cone with bright sprinkles as a delicious prop. However, if you're going to hold food in your pictures, Kell says not to eat it until you're done to avoid spills!
ALBRIGHT-KNOX ART GALLERY:
Just like Canalside, the back of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery facing Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park has many opportunities to utilize leading lines in your photos, with the stairs and columns. Also like Canalside, shooting in direct sunlight here can cause some challenges. That's why Ryan suggests facing away from the camera or wearing sunglasses in the photo, to minimize shots where you might be squinting. The architecture featuring so many strong lines also lends itself well to a posing in a powerful stance, as seen in the photo above.
Another technique you can work on at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is capturing movement in your photos. By stepping your feet apart and swaying back and forth while the photographer takes multiple photos, it gives the illusion that you're naturally walking through the shot.
The new murals on "Hertel Alley," behind the avenue by Colvin, provide a fun backdrop for pictures and are also a draw for neighbors wanting to check them out.
The Buffalo on a yellow background is particularly satisfying for a social media picture here.