Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Travel Photography: 10 Simple Yet Practical Tips

Travel photography is something we all get excited about. Sometimes we take a bunch of photos and come back to realize that our 500-something photos didn’t really capture the spirit of our travels. To ensure that this won’t happen to you (again), here are some quick tips.

1.) Do a pack run-through

You’ve probably thought about what you’re going to pack on your vacation in terms of clothing and toiletries. However, what about your camera, lenses and accessories? Think about where you’re going and what you want to shoot. Would it be convenient for you to carry around a DSLR with a few lenses? If you’re primarily shooting landscape, maybe a wide-angle lens would suffice? Or maybe you would just like to stick to a simple point-and-shoot camera?
Also, don’t forget the little things. Like extra battery, additional memory cards, chargers and camera cleaning products.

2.) Getting there is half the fun

You begin traveling the moment you step out that door. So start snapping away your journey to the airport; touching down at your destination and being utterly confused; being tightly packed on a bumpy bus ride; the disappointment when your hotel doesn’t look like the picture on the brochure.

3.) It’s ok to be cliched

As photographers, we tend to want to take a photo that’s different. However, trying to frame every one of your travel photos to be ‘unique’ will either get you extremely frustrated, have you snapping up only 30 photos, or both. It’s fine to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower front-on, or the illusion that your friend’s pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

4.) It won’t be mundane one year from now

Like cliched photos, it’s also fine to take less than stunning subjects. The confusing currencies, the weird and wonderful signs, what you see while staring out the window. Don’t delete the ‘boring’ photos! They might seem mundane a few seconds after you’ve taken them. But you’d look back on them a year from now and realize just how well they’ve documented your travels.

5.) People spot

You can learn a lot about a country from looking at its people. The way they dress, how they walk, how they talk, the way they treat others, their emotions etc.

6.) Shoot before you eat

We’re the type that gets extremely excited about traveling because we get to try new kinds of foods and dishes. And trust us, others get excited about that too. My friends couldn’t care less about the tourist sites but were more interested to see what I had for lunch and dinner!

7.) Be creative, use props

The souvenirs and postcards you purchase, use them as props in your next photo. It’s a sure way to get you thinking out of the box and produce some interesting photos.

8.) Take notes

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it still doesn’t express how you really feel. Excitement? Culture shocked? Home sick? Carry a small notebook around and just jot down a few sentences when you feel over-whelmed to do so, along with the image number.
A lot of cameras now allow you to even dictate a short speech over your photo.

9.) Ditch your friends and go solo (for a while)

Friends who aren’t photographers have a hard time understanding how you can spend a few minutes on one subject. Or why obscure objects might interest you more than monumental buildings. That is why you need to have a few hours or even a day to yourself where you can roam around freely and not feel rushed or pushed into taking photos.
I often like to revisit a favorite spot and see beyond the famous landmarks and sites.

10.) Put yourself in the photo

As photographers, we often forget to put ourselves in front of the camera. Don’t just shoot a self-portrait with your arms stretched out in front of you (yes, I’ve done that plenty of times too). Give your camera to a trusting-looking passerby and get them to a photo of you. Even if you’re carrying a complicated DSLR, just simply switch it to the Auto mode.

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