Photos are an evocative way to capture where you have been and what you have seen, and to come home with treasured memories for later on.
For those living away from family and friends, photos are a way to share life and experiences either online via social media or through more traditional prints and albums.
As a tangible medium, printed albums allow you to share photos in a more personal way: face-to-face with family and friends so that the interaction and story-telling becomes an experience in itself. They also make a thoughtful gift idea to take with you or leave behind, so it is worthwhile investing some time into taking great photographs 🙂
A) BEFORE LEAVING FOR YOUR TRIP:
1) Choose the Right Equipment
Before you leave, consider which camera equipment is most suited to your type of holiday. If you anticipate a lot of outdoor activities like hiking or canoeing, it makes sense to take a small rugged camera instead of your SLR.
Get to know the weather conditions and seasons, is it damp all the time or do you need water or sand protection?
With many modern travelers relying solely on their smartphone camera, it is advised to check the storage capacity and bring an external battery charge pack for extended trips. The key is to be comfortable with what you are carrying and confident it can do the job, so you can focus on the photography and the experience.
2) Travel Light
Don’t take your entire house with you. (Tips for who carrying SLR: Pack only two lenses. One zoom and one prime lens. This is extremely important tip if you plan to do some hiking or trekking).
3) Do Your Research
Don’t leave it to chance and learn as much as you can about the place you are about to travel. The more you know, the more “intelligent” your images will be.
4) Learn Your Craft
Don’t waste your expensive traveling time on learning how to operate that new camera, lens or flash. Do your homework at home.
5) Choice the Right Lodging
Staying on the center of town, or having a room with wonderful views can create a lot of great photo opportunities.
B) AT THE DESTINATION
1) Get up Early
The best light to capture most kinds of subjects is in the golden hours- one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset (depend off course on where you are on the globe). So get up early to get that amazing photo opportunities, while all the other tourists are still asleep.
2) Capture Your Journey
I know this sounds silly but, if you don’t have your camera you can’t capture amazing moments that just magically happen or appear right in front of you. This is one of the reasons mobile phone photography is so great, your camera is always in your pocket.
Sometimes the trip to a location can be just as interesting as the destination itself. Shoot images that tell the story of how you got to your vacation destination. Shoot the local fruits in a farmers market or fishing nets on a boat dock or even trinkets in tourist shops that have the name of the destination. Small detail shots help to remind you of what you saw and tell your viewer a little about the location. Seeking out these details will open your eyes to discovering more about the environment around you.
3) The Best Lightning
It is widely acknowledged the best natural lighting occurs around sunrise and sunset, when the light is soft, warm and flattering. An added bonus is there are usually no crowds to contend with.
This is a great strategy to plan your day; get out early to shoot landmarks and scenery, spend the middle of the day visiting indoor museums, galleries or shopping, and head out again before sunset for more quality photography.
Check out the areas that you plan to shoot at during the day and set time aside to go back when the lighting is great (sunrise and sunset for example). Ask around, information desks and hotel staff can be a source on the best places to shoot. Try different scenes so you get a great overview of the place you visited.
Of course there is every chance of cloudy, overcast conditions where sun position is irrelevant. Don’t despair; these even-lighting conditions are perfect for nature photography (such as close-ups of flowers), portraiture, moody street spaces and black and white photography.
4) Get Inspired
Watch the portfolio of other photographers in order to get new ideas and get inspiration. Also, If you perceive yourself as an artist, you must acknowledge the work of other artists. Do not underestimate inspiration: visit art galleries, attend some photography lectures, listen to classical music, read good books.
5) Don’t Try to Get it All in Once
Don’t try to see everything on your limited time. It is much smarter to get a better understanding about each place you visit on your journey. Slow things down, and your images will get better.
6) Feel the Place
Photography is not only about visual inspiration. Try the local food, smell local markets and hear local music, this will help you to better understand the story of the place.
7) Find a Fixer
Talk to locals and seek their advice on great photo opportunities in their own country.
Including photographs of the local people and their culture brings life to the story, however it is important to respect the local customs in regards to public photography, and ask for permission prior to taking photos. Use the international language of a smile, while gesturing to your camera; if they return the smile, go for it, and if they do not, respect their wishes and put the camera away.
Remember to get pictures of yourself while on vacation, especially when travelling alone. Aside from the notorious ‘selfie’ shots or asking a kind passerby, try creative reflections using building windows or mirrors.
9) Get off the Beaten Path
All knows that you will find monks more in religious places like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia. Tell your viewers something fresh and new. Share your own point of view of the place.
10) Travel Slow
If time allows you, always choice to travel by train or bus over flying. As it will allow you to have better interactions with the locals.
11) Keep it Natural
One of the most important and influential photographers of all time, Henri Cartier Bresson- Never ever used flash in his photography. A practice he saw as “impolite…like going to a concert with a pistol in your hand.” Try to learn how to use and enjoy the benefits of natural light before you buy that expensive flash or reflector.
12) Get Higher
Every good travel photo series must have at list is one bird’s eye view of the place (Being referred sometimes as the “establish shot”). Find yourself a vintage point overlooking the entire city or town.
13) “Exotic” can be found Anywhere
No matter where you live in the world: New York, the Middle East or a small village in France. Try to see the beauty of the place you live in. if you will find the beauty of that place and bring within your images, people will follow.
14) Don’t stop Traveling
A good travel photographer must keep is portfolio alive. Keep on traveling, and as the last tip mentioned: you don’t have to travel to far and exotic places to do so. As it is very easy to travel to India and get “good” travel photography. Try to bring the beauty of your own local town. Travel to the nearest market or attend the next festival as a way to keep your craft improving.
15) Leave the Camera Behind Sometimes
Don’t spend your entire trip looking through the lens. Enjoy your time just traveling and enjoying the ride.
16) Be Human
Treat your subject as well as you can. Don’t shoot people from a far distance, don’t shot people who don’t want to get snapped. If you promise to send their photos, please do so. This will ensure that the photographer that will come after you will be received with a smile. And don’t forget, sometimes it is best to just leave the camera behind and enjoy the ride.
C) FINAL STEP
The final step when you return home is to select and edit the best photos. A nice selection of prints is more satisfying than a digital mess.
The reason most people hate looking at family vacation pictures is because there are too many bad ones to look through. Only show your absolute best images to your audience. It has been said that the biggest difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is that the professional only shows their best work whereas an amateur shows everything.
9 basic tips useful to anyone traveling anywhere include:
1) Take plenty of pictures. You don’t want to return home and try to describe a wonderful scene or event that you could have photographed if you had planned to shoot generously.
2) If you are planning to share your adventures while you’re on the road, send your most representative pictures to friends and family by email or upload them to a photo-sharing website. Be selective, though, and don’t overdo it. People will enjoy seeing two or three great pictures much more than 30 or 40 shots of everything you encountered.
3) If you are traveling in a group, each member should bring their own camera, even when one person has agreed to take on the role of principal photographer. You would be surprised at how individuals see photographic subjects in different ways.
4) When photographing an exciting or funny event, take the time every now and then to shoot behind you or beside you to show the reaction of others.
5) When using a digital camera, take the time to review the shots you took that day, and delete those that are unsuitable.
6) Be sure to take along plenty of film or several digital media cards. It’s frustrating to come upon a must-photograph scene, and discover that you’re out of film or your cards are all full.
7) Bring your battery charger along on your trip. Although you can usually charge batteries while they are in your camera, a separate charger permits you to use a second set of batteries while the first is being recharged.
8) If you are undecided about whether to take a picture of an interesting scene that has caught your attention, just take it. You can always toss it out later if you don’t like it. But, it’s usually difficult to return at a later time to find the same circumstances.
9) The same principle applies to photographs that you think may not turn out. It may seem too dark or too cloudy, for instance, or your subject may be in deep shade or moving quickly. But, go ahead and take the shot anyway. You will sometimes amaze yourself by how a tricky shot turns out better than you expected. Also, many photographs that have minor problems can be saved using digital editing software or in the darkroom. And, if it simply doesn’t work, you know what to do…toss it out.
Note: All images used in this article are subject to copyright.