There's nothing quite like visiting new places or revisiting those that you love. Capturing the character of those places and their people in images is a rewarding experience in its own right and can be a lucrative one, too. To really make the most of it, though, you need to do more than just show up and start snapping. In this article, I'll be sharing some tips with you that should immediately add impact, and thereby, value to your travel photos.
Think About Why You're Going
What was it that made you choose this destination? Sand and sun? Interesting culture? The people of the area? Maybe it's a business trip and you didn't choose the locale. If that's the case, finding out what interests you in the area will make your trip more enjoyable and put you in the right places for the photos you'll enjoy taking. In either case, a little research before you go will help motivate you and find the places you'll want to shoot.
Research the Place and its People.
There are plenty of resources online and in the “real” world. Use those you have access to and do some discovering and planning. Don't forget to study customs and culture, too. That little bit of effort may save you some embarrassment as well as give you a whole new slant on your images.
Don't Just See. Feel.
Capturing the essence of any scene is a matter of conveying emotion. When you raise your camera to take a shot, consider why you're taking it. What are you feeling at that moment? There should be a specific motivation for every shot, which will translate into what you want viewers to feel. Keeping that in mind will help you go beyond simply recording what you see and give your images more emotional appeal.
While you're at it, engage all your senses when preparing to take the shot. Is it cold? What are you hearing? Are there particular aromas in the air? What would the bark of that tree feel like? Using all your sensory faculties will give you wonderful clues as to what should be the focal point of your shots and what should be included to round out the experience.
Pay Attention to Your First Impressions
When you arrive, pay attention to the things you notice first and what your reaction was to them. If you can't shoot them right away, or need to wait for better lighting, etc. take notes and plan to return for those shots.
Photograph the People
Including the locals going about their daily lives in your travel shots is a great way to give life to your images. Posed portraits of merchants, business people, children and others that represent the area can be just as effective as candid shots, so don't hesitate to ask some of them to let you take their picture. Note that this is one of those areas where knowing the local customs is important; don't assume that it's alright before you start shooting.
Don't forget that in places where photos of people won't get you into trouble, you may have the opportunity to make some money with those impromptu portraits. With a KeepSnap account, you can leave your card and let your subjects check out the photos online after you've processed and uploaded them. They can download any they like directly from your gallery after paying a fee that you set. Find out how easy it is to get started here:
Get off of Main Street
The real character of a location is often off the beaten path. Take the time to discover what's on the side streets. Mingle with the locals instead of following the tour. Not only will you often find more unique subjects, you're more likely to find yourself in sync with the spirit of the place and enjoy the experience more.
Take Time to Have Fun
Don't forget to put the camera away occasionally and just enjoy yourself. Take in a show. Enjoy a good meal. Learn to surf. Immerse yourself in the reasons to be where you are and make the experience memorable. Your photos will be all the better for the time you spend enjoying what a destination has to offer.