Like many bloggers, I have a serious inability to put down my camera. Being in new environments while travelling is the perfect opportunity to flex my photography skills on things other than self-timer outfit shots, food, and flatlays. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about travel photography over the years.
The best camera is the one you have and will use
A phone, a point and shoot, or a full frame DSLR – they’re all good options for taking photos, depending on what you’re comfortable with. There’s no point splashing out on a big fancy camera if it means it’s too heavy to carry every day or you’re too self conscious to use it.
Don’t stress about the landmarks
I’m rarely ever satisfied with my photos of famous landmarks or monuments. Firstly, those places are usually crawling with people, getting in the way. Secondly, it’s very likely that I’ve seen much better photos of the place already, which I feel like my own pictures can’t measure up to. So don’t be too concerned about getting the perfect shot – someone’s probably already taken the exact same photo. Snap a quick one to send to your mum and move on.
It’s in the details
One of the things I try to do is capture the atmosphere of a place at that specific moment in time. The smallest things contribute to that – the angle of the sunlight, paint peeling off a corner of the wall, reflections in a window. Some of the favourite photos I’ve taken come from noticing the details, because they represent my experience of a place, not just the place itself.
Don’t hold up traffic or get in people’s way just to take a shot. If you’re travelling with friends and everyone’s in a foul mood trying to work out where to go for lunch, it might not be the best time to stop for a photoshoot. And lastly, people are not animals in a zoo. If someone is going to be the main subject of your photo, particularly if they’re going to be identifiable, it’s nice to ask first.
Some places are not the best places to have your camera hanging off your shoulder while you walk around. It might be better to just take it out of your bag when you want to use it, or not flash it around at all. Trust your gut. It’s also a good idea to take note of your belongings (or ask a friend to) while your eye is glued to the viewfinder.
Don’t worry if you can’t get the picture you want
There are a lot of beautiful places and things in the world that can’t be replicated through a camera. Just enjoy being there and seeing it with your own eyes. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen in my life was when I was on a bus driving through the Guatemalan highlands – I didn’t even bother trying to get a photo through the window, because I knew it wouldn’t measure up to the real thing. Likewise, don’t beat yourself up if you miss the perfect photo op. Remember, even if you didn’t take a photo – it still happened.
Post-Processing: Rae Tashman