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- National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Travel Photography
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- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
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- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
Digital photography is an accepted part of the travel or vacation experience because people want a record of where they’ve been, whom they’ve met and what they’ve done. Digital cameras are so automatic, however, that it’s easy to fall into the typical tourist behavior of shooting and bringing home the classic snapshot images of famous places and popular attractions. Those snapshots may remind you of your travels, but others will find them boring simply because they’ve seen hundreds of others exactly like them. This two-part PhotographyTalk.com article presents the 6 tips that will help you avoid the common, and find the amazing travel photos that are waiting for you. (Read Part 1 for tips 1, 2 and 3.)
You can’t expect to capture those different, or even rare, travel images unless you’re prepared to be a bold photographer. Separating yourself from the pack of snapshot-taking tourists is only the first step. If you can take it, then you may be ready to become a truly proactive participant in your photography, instead of a passive recorder. What this means is that you may have to be willing to take a few risks, but certainly not any physical risks to yourself or others.
Maybe, you’ve framed an interesting, colorful, local person from a distance with your telephoto lens. You’ve taken a great shot, but as soon as you release the shutter, the person sees you and doesn’t appear happy. It’s very unlikely he or she will respond with any sort of violence, but you must have fashioned a “policy” for yourself of just how much risk you’ll take to capture an excellent photo. Being bold could also be defined as shooting in a place where “technically” you shouldn’t be. These PhotographyTalk.com articles will also help you understand this concept.
Part of separating yourself from the herd of tourists is to find the paths less traveled. Often that is as simple as visiting the areas where the locals live, work, play and relax. With so many “man-made, corporate-owned” attractions, communicating with and following the locals are more likely to result in you taking photos of what truly defines that place. Everyday life, especially in a place where people live quite differently than you, is typically much better subject matter than what the tourists are photographing. Plus, the experiences you take home will be much deeper and meaningful because in taking pictures of people and their lives you are making connections with humans and not just inanimate objects, as wonderful as the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, etc. might be.
Even if you’ve been able to follow the tips in this two-part PhotographyTalk.com article, and your results prove it, don’t hesitate to take a break from photography for a day or half-day during your travels. If you focus solely on experiencing the place and its people for a time, you are likely to discover photo opportunities that will still be there tomorrow or later in the day. You may also wish you had brought your camera with you because you see scenes or subjects that you’d love to capture. Don’t feel too bad; you can’t shoot everything. Those shots you missed today is an indication that there are good images to take in that area every day, so tomorrow you’ll have a totally new palette from which to work.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Dominika Komarnicki
You may also want to read the PhotographyTalk.com article, Photography Tip—Why a Cruise Vacation and Serious Photography Don’t Mix, for another interesting perspective on this topic.