taking the obligatory tourist photo is always a bit of a doubled edged sword. on the one side you know the same photo exists a million times. but then I don’t just take photos for others. and some of these obligatory photos are obligatory for a reason — they are photos of what is actually beautiful. one way to approach those kind of photos is to maybe try to take them in a different way (and I certainly didn’t do that with the above photo of the painted ladies) but in one way the obligatory tourist photo can, especially for the still learning amateur (a category I would place myself in), be quite interesting. because it provides a situation where you know how a shot should look like and you can then play around to create it. it is in a way like using a recipe of a great chef and cooking it at home. you might have eaten at the chef’s restaurant and know how it should taste, the cookbook might have a photo, so you know how it should look like. but you still have to cook it yourself, and in the process you will likely learn a lot. and I think in a way it is the same with the obligatory tourist photo. look at how some of the better photographers have taken it (what time of day, what angle, what did they include, what did they exclude …) and then practice.