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The great thing about travel photography is that it's an opportunity to create lasting memories of the different sights, smells, ambiance, and character of the places we visit.
It's also an opportunity to capture different cultures and traditions in a form that is much more everlasting than our memories.
But taking photos of these things and creating photos of these things are different.
Taking a photo simply documents what you saw at a particular time. But creating a photo helps bring back those sights and smells and the character of the people and places you visited.
Here's how to take better travel photos and create something that's more than just an image on a screen.
Think About the "Why" of Your Trip
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One of the keys to creating meaningful and memorable travel photos is to focus on the "why" of your trip.
After all, there's a reason you choose to travel to the places you travel to, so tapping into that reason should serve as the inspiration for your photos.
For example, if you're traveling to Hawaii with your spouse because that's where you got married, your photos will have a much different look, feel, and meaning than photos you take on your guy trip with your college buddies.
The former might have a lot of warm colors that are indicative of love, plenty of sunset on the beach shots, and portraits of your significant other.
The latter, meanwhile, might focus more on fun or silliness and be more about the process of the fishing trip.
The point is that every trip has a purpose, and tapping into that purpose will help you create images that have much more meaning.
Research Your Destination Backward and Forward
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A mistake that many photographers make when they travel is merely sticking to the "hot spots" or touristy spots while on their trip.
And while some destinations might necessitate this for safety reasons, by and large, when you travel, getting off the beaten path will help you find more ways to make more meaningful photos.
This starts by researching your destinations in great detail.
Do research online. Ask other photographers for advice regarding where you should go with your camera. Read travel brochures and books. Get input from the locals.
Start your research early, well before you even book your trip, and don't stop asking questions and seeking out interesting people, places, and things to photograph once you're at your destination.
Tap Into Your Feelings
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One of the great challenges of creating photographs is doing so in a way that helps the viewer feel the same thing you did when you took the photo.
That's why it's so important for you to tap into those feelings and recognize how a place or an experience effects you in the moment - and capture that feeling with your camera.
You can create photos that evoke feelings by thinking of a few specific things.
First, where do your eyes go first when you come upon a new scene? Find that "it factor" that grabbed your attention and make sure that it's prominent in your photos so it grabs the viewer's attention as well.
Then, zero in on things like smells or how the air feels or the way people move about the scene.
Again, using these first impressions and experiences as fuel for your travel photography fire will help you tap into the things that made visiting the area so special, and also help you capture images of those things so others can experience it as well.
Take Lots of Photos (and Lots of Different Kinds, Too)
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What might help you create a wealth of meaningful travel photos the most is to simply have your camera at all times, make photography a priority, and take lots of photos of lots of different things.
It's not like there won't be a wide range of subjects to photograph, either, so taking lots of photos of lots of different things is actually quite an easy task when you're traveling.
Not every photographer is great at photographing every kind of subject, and that's okay.
The point when you're traveling is to give different genres - like landscapes, portraits, architecture, and street photography - a try.
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Something that will help you tackle these different kinds of photography is being prepared with the right gear.
Obviously you need a good camera and a couple of lenses. A lightweight yet solid travel tripod is a good idea to have as well.
I also strongly suggest that travel photographers load up on lens filters that will help them create better and more varied types of photos.
When I travel, I always have my Formatt-Hitech Travel Filter Kit with me because it has the most popular types of lens filters that help me create better photos.
That includes two ND filters for creating beautiful long exposures of landscapes and cityscapes.
Also included is a soft edge graduated ND filter for managing bright skies when photographing landscapes, and if you get the 100mm kit, you also get a polarizing filter to help reduce glare off of non-metallic surfaces and boost the contrast in the sky.
And since this kit was designed with the help of master travel photographer Elia Locardi, you know that combined with Formatt-Hitech's reputation for making the best filters on the market that you're getting a top-notch travel photography kit.
Taking great travel photos isn't just about gear and it's not just about finding those off-the-beaten-path places.
Instead, creating a portfolio of beautiful, memorable images requires that you think about why you chose to visit this place, to dive deep into research of the locations you visit, and to consider how those places make you feel, too.
If you can do all that, I think you'll find that your photos have much more to say!