Travel photography is a desirable area for many people, and as a bonus, there is the opportunity to publish your work. Successful travel photography comes from interesting places and thorough planning. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and what equipment you will need to meet your objectives. Here are some tips to help you get the images you want.
Having an interest in your subject matter is vital. Making travel photographs just because you are there will not help you make interesting photos. Also, if you are considering writing about your experience you will need to consider documenting in detail your subject material. One or two general photographs will not be enough for a documentary manuscript for publication. Consider all aspects of the subject material and make sure you record all aspects.
Never put off a shot or subject till tomorrow. The opportunity may not be there, and neither might the photographer. Traveling always imposes unknowns and these are mainly issues with travel arrangements. Take the shots anyway and return if possible.
Respect other people’s cultures and religions, and if in doubt, ask. Never take the shot unless you know its acceptable practice. This can be a very sensitive area with many cultures. Never intrude into places of prayer or private areas. Always ask permission to take photos, most times you will get an OK, but be prepared for a no. Be discreet and always polite or it will only be more difficult for the next photographer or the next time you return.
Do not photograph military or government installations or even in airports. These days its an issue and security will spot you and possibly haul you off for questioning. Anybody in military clothing and police should also be avoided in countries where there is political unrest; you do not want to end up a prisoner while on holiday.
Try selecting an interesting location and wait for the excitement to come to you. Sit back and observe what is happening around you before shooting. Get comfortable with your immediate environment first and observe the details.
Professional photographers clean their cameras and lenses every day when returning to their hotel or base accommodation. This is even more important if you use an SLR and changing lenses. This is also a good time to sort your day’s photography into appropriate folders on your notebook or portable storage device. It is also a good time to do your captions while the experience is still fresh in your memory.
Carry your camera at all times; compacts are very portable and there is no excuse to not have a camera. You do not forget the photograph that you missed and the image will still be in your head when you get home.
Read up on your destination before you arrive. Knowledge of local customs, features, and interesting events is helpful and does not detract from the exhilaration of first impressions when you arrive. Your first stop should be to buy some local postcards to help you choose what to photograph if you do not already have a completed list.
Remember, travel photographs do not have to be the greatest images, but they do have to be interesting. If you are interested in publishing your work its worth thinking about a writing course so you can put words to your images.