Cover photo credit: Praveen Mohandas.
Fresh out of the Travel Photo Jaipur fest, we can only think travel and travel photography!
The fact that the summer holidays are just around the corner only adds to our desire to pick up our camera and set out to unravel the mysteries of the world; share them through our photographs.
Travel photography has more to it than just being good at your craft or capturing images of
sunsets and sunrises, or mountain peaks and ocean waves. A good travel photographer doesn’t just capture beautiful scenes, he tells the story of the place, showcases the culture and the lifestyle of the people through his photographs. Travel photographs should be able to tell the viewers what makes a particular place unique and should be able to able to motivate even the laziest person to plan a trip there.
But both these things – the traveling and the chronicling of the travel through photographs is easier said than done – specially if you’re an inexperienced traveler or inexperienced travel photographer or god forbid – both.
We’ve put together some tips and tricks to ensure that you make the most of your travels and capture some great shots.
Equipment – Since you are travelling, you cannot afford to take a lot of equipment/gear with you. But these are some of the things that you must take with you if you want to get some great shots – these can vary according to the extent of photography you are planning to do and/or duration of your stay.
- Your camera (goes without saying)
- Extra battery
- Set of basic lenses (zoom, wide angle, telephoto) and filters
- AC power strip
- Power adapters (in case of international travels)
- Laptop and portable hard drive
- Light weight tripod
- A sturdy bag to carry all this equipment
Technical Tips –Travel photography is usually a combination of two or more genres of photography – travel and nature photography, or travel and portrait photography, or travel and nighttime photography, etc. So, just keep the basics in mind – maintaining white balance, shooting in RAW mode, setting the right aperture, minimum use of special effects, and apply the techniques according to the kind (genre) of photograph you are taking.
Research – Before you set out on your travel, conduct extensive research of the place you are visiting. Try to avoid traveling during the tourist season as it will make it difficult to take good photographs. Find out the best time/season to visit the place – schedule your trip just before the start of or immediately after the end of the main tourist season – unless you want to take photographs of specific holidays or celebrations. Make a list of places that you would like to see and pre plan your daily activities.
Pack Smart – Since you already have a separate bag with camera equipment, try to limit your other stuff – pack clothes according to the weather and those that can be worn for more than a day, or ones that can be washed easily.
Choose a Hotel Near the Main Photography Location – A hotel near the main photography location is especially important if you are visiting scenic locales like hill stations and beaches – it is easier to take early morning and late evening photographs if the location is near your hotel.
Walk Around – Keep the first day to just study the place and the people. Walk around the town or take a ride around the city to get a feel of the place. If not already done, use this time to plan your itinerary. Try to find places that will showcase the history of the place but which may or may not be considered as main tourist spots. You can get this information by interacting with the hotel staff, taxi/cab drivers and tourist guides.
Photograph the Local – Try to get photographs of the local people (with their permission) in their natural surroundings, the local markets, food and food joints, transportation, artisans in their workshops, local wildlife and flowers all make for great photographs. These photographs also make for great photo-stories or essays.
Don’t be a Copycat – Try not to get influenced by
photographs you may have previously seen of the place or while you were doing your research. Get innovative and experiment with different camera angles and poses for your photographs. Your own interpretation and perspectives are always much better than recreating someone else’s.
Have Fun! – Travel is not travel if you don’t have any fun.
Follow these tips and your photographer’s instincts and click away.
Happy Traveling and Happy Clicking!