When you’re on vacation somewhere with famous landmarks or stunning beaches, it’s tempting to try to capture images that look like they could be postcards, which is really cool. You can also take a different approach to your travel photos and create images that illustrate your personal adventures, memories, and stories with a few helpful tips.
Be creative and capture a photo story by shooting images in an intriguing sequence. Take the first shot from a wide angle, say of a farmer’s market in the street to establish the scene. Then take closer shots of the fruits, vegetables, and baked goods for sale, customers paying for their wares, and any other interesting characters that come into the scene. This type of photo story makes your album more interesting and can even serve as montage when you hang the photos on your walls at home.
Everyone knows those classic shots of the family standing in front of landmarks and while they have their place, they can become boring to pose for and take. Avoid them and opt for action shots instead. Photograph your children trying a new kind of food in Italy or your spouse playing a game with the locals in Spain. Shots that include your family actually interacting with their surroundings feel more natural and serve as reminders of the fun you had together.
When you’re visiting a famous landmark such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, avoid taking the traditional postcard-style photo people have taken countless times. Instead, use a different perspective and photograph the architecture of the landmark, any patterns you see within it, the play of light and shadow in the sunlight and anything else that intrigues you. Tell a story about the landmark with your photos so it’s much more than a structure in a static postcard shot.
A fun way to approach your travel photos is to pick themes for your shots each day. When you’re visiting somewhere full of history and architectural details such as Rome, Italy, it can feel overwhelming when you think about all the landmarks you want to capture. By breaking your daily shoots down into themes, you can focus on one area at a time and capture unique images instead of random shots of whatever catches your eye. Don’t be afraid to stray outside your theme if you find something interesting on the street while you’re busy shooting architecture.
People and details
Add depth to your photos by taking shots of store signs in the native language, names and prices of wares at the farmer’s market, and city street signs. Include the human element of your location by photographing local residents instead of crowds of tourists. Work on your street photography skills by capturing people walking their dogs, children playing, friends gathered talking, or people at a café chatting about the day. You might not see anything interesting at first, but if you’re patient, a story will unfold before your eyes.
The temptation to pack several lenses and more than one camera can be very strong when you’re heading to an exciting destination, but it’s better to travel light. By having only one camera and one lens, you avoid the risk of missing the perfect shot while you’re switching lenses and you won’t become exhausted by hauling a heavy camera bag around. Instead of using a long lens for zoom, use your feet to bring you closer to the subject and to immerse yourself in the exciting scenes around you.
Advice from a professional photographer
Professional photographer, Richard Silver, provided these tips for travel photography:
As a travel Photographer I always do my research before I go on any trip. I look for iconic historical architecture, modern buildings, churches and any unique structures. I also love to photograph libraries.
A useful app that I have is Magic Hour which tells you when the sun sets and rises.
For my series “Time Slice” I find this app to be most helpful in deciding what time to go shoot.
When you’re shooting travel photos, allow your senses to guide you and take the time to frame up a shot thoughtfully before pressing the shutter. Once you’ve returned home from your adventures, have Baboo Digital develop, enlarge, frame, and mount your favorite images for display, just like Richard Silver.