The Painted Ladies may very well be the most iconic view of San Francisco after the Golden Gate Bridge. They are a row of traditional houses near Alamo Square, which can be photographed with the city skyline in the background.
The Painted Ladies must have been photographed millions and millions of times. Every photographer in San Francisco surely has at least one great shot from this location.
I still felt compelled to go there. I still wanted to get my own image of the Painted Ladies. Sometimes I feel demotivated by iconic locations, because almost every angle has been photographed under any conditions. Unless you experience truly unique weather (and I am not talking about a fantastic sunset), your image will most likely not be original.
The first reason I went to the Painted Ladies is simply to see it with my own eyes. Pictures on the internet will never replace this. But I could have left my camera at this hotel you will say….
I wanted to photograph the Painted Ladies because I am always learning. What can I do to make my picture as good as the best ones I have seen out there?
Another reason that I photographed the Painted Ladies is that not everyone on Earth has seen a picture of these houses. And if sharing my image means at least one person gets to see it, then I think it is worth it!
Finally, visiting an iconic location forces you to look for new ideas and compositions. Ugo Cei recently wrote an excellent article on how to get original shots. A great read from a great photographer!
The reason why you want to shoot well-known locations such as the Painted Ladies does not matter. Just make sure that you make the most of it: visit during interesting weather conditions (storm, winter, etc…), find new ways to photograph and most importantly, have fun doing it!