Photography is not about the camera. It’s not even about the beautiful images we create. It is about telling powerful stories. Photography is a tool for creating awareness and understanding across cultures, communities, and countries; a tool to make sense of our commonalities in the world we share.
Here are some rules you must follow to improve your travel photography.
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Say Hello
Learn how to say “Hello” in the local Language, and greet the locals when taking their photo.
6. Get Inspired
Watch the portfolio of other photographers in order to get new ideas and get inspiration. 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.
7. 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.
8. Find a Fixer
Talk to locals and seek their advice on great photo opportunities in their own country.
9. Travel Light
Don’t take your entire house with you. Just take with you only two lenses: One zoom and one prime lens. This is extremely important tip if you plan to do some hiking or trekking.
10. Get off the Beaten Path
Tell your viewers something fresh and new. Share your own point of view of the place. You will be able to do so, only after following tip number 2 and 6.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Leave the Camera Behind Sometimes
Don’t spend your entire trip looking through the lens. Enjoy your time just traveling and enjoying the ride.
14. 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.
15. 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 vantage point overlooking the entire city or town.
16. Stop with the Excuses
“Well, if I had an expensive camera and lenses like you have” or “If someone would pay me to travel”, or “but, you have so much time on each destination”.
All of those, are excuses we often hear from travel photographers. Excuses they tell themselves to answer the question of “Why can’t I get Strong images?”
Yes, equipment is important and it certainly makes life easier. But don’t forget the camera is just an instrument. A “pipe” which captures your vision and thoughts. Do not cry over the equipment you don’t own. spend the time and money to learn photography, reading books about it and travel as much as you can.
17. Find Yourself a Master
The best way to learn (anything) is by watching a master working on his craft. Try to find a photographer which you can accompany as his assistant. It is true that most travel photographers like to travel alone. But it doesn’t have to be a travel photographer. Most of your knowledge about using light, could come from a great fashion photographer, whom you would have served as an assistant for a while.
18. “Exotic” can be found Anywhere
No matter where you live in the world: New York, the Middle East, small village in France or an exotic location in India. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
Follow photographer Kavya Rastogi’s Travel Stories at his web profiles on the links below.