Here is a series of tips for making travel photographs that leave their mark. Find out how professionals approach this increasingly popular and sought-after photographic genre.
It is useless to deny it, travel photography is a much loved photographic genre. In recent years it has been enjoying growing success, as demonstrated by the increasing number of Instagram profiles dedicated exclusively to travel photography. At the same time, we are witnessing a renewal of this particular photographic genre, as photographers are no longer limited to simply photographing landscapes (whether natural or urban) to tell the places.
Instead, there is a renewed interest in telling stories, cultures, habits, inserting details or people in the context to reinforce concepts and communicate lifestyles.
Not just personal photos to add to your portfolio or social profile, but professional photos designed for communication and advertising. Yes, in fact, even companies are constantly looking for travel photographs. Photographs that tell stories and are inspirational, to promote their products/services around the world. Here, travel photography also becomes a profit opportunity that should not be underestimated.
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPH: BEFORE LEAVING
Identifying the places even before leaving is the best way to arrive prepared at your destination and photograph memorable moments and places. Certainly, when you visit a famous place such as a city or a natural attraction, you will know the points to visit, the ones that make it recognizable. But the more hidden ones? A great way to know your destination in advance is certainly Google.
Just do a search to find a lot of material about it or use services like Google Earth that allow you to explore the places you prefer.
Another very interesting system is to do a search on Instagram by typing hashtags related to the place you are about to visit. This allows you, not only to find ideas and inspiration but also to understand the best shooting points and new compositional ideas. You will not have to copy the work of other photographers, be creative and you will certainly get an excellent result.
DON’T FORGET THE DISCLAIMERS
Whether you are a professional photographer or a simple enthusiast, if you photograph clearly recognizable people and you do not have a release, the use of your photographs will be severely limited. It is therefore good to be ready for anything by bringing copies with you to be signed by any improvised models. If you prefer, you can also make digital copies saved on your smartphone with you. Remember that if you intend to sell your photographs or use them to promote yourself, a release is a prerequisite, not only for people but also for properties.
PREPARE YOUR EQUIPMENT
This is an important moment. What to put in the photo backpack? what to bring with you so as not to find yourself unprepared for good opportunities? Apart from the obvious, one important thing is to have a good supply of batteries or a good Powerbank.
If you spend whole days out taking pictures, you may not have time and time to recharge your batteries. If you plan to shoot early in the morning or in the evening at sunset you will need a tripod, which is essential in cases of low light. Another thing not to forget is to empty all memory cards or consider buying new ones if you don’t have enough.
Being out and about photographing you will often find yourself changing lenses, constantly handling the camera in traffic or surrounded by nature. You may end up with a dirty sensor or lenses. That’s why even a cleaning kit is one of those accessories that cannot be missing in your photographic backpack.
DURING THE TRIP
CREATE A REPORTAGE
Your photographs have the unique ability to tell stories about people and places. The first thing you need to do is get in tune with the place you are visiting. Get to know people, interact, get carried away by local events. The human component is what allows a photograph to tell rather than describe. This is the basis for travel photography.
Imagine walking into a local market. Capture as much detail as possible and take wide-angle photos of the streets, capture people on the move daily (with permission of course) and even the smallest details. Try to give continuity to your production. Only in this way will the creation of a story through your images be truly effective. Not only that, it’s a great way to fully experience a destination.
CHOOSE THE BEST MOMENTS
Regardless of the destination, you have chosen for your next photographic adventure, there are better times than others to photograph. Getting up early in the morning can help you take better photographs. First, you can take advantage of the wonderful morning light. Another advantage you will have is being able to reach and photograph the most popular tourist spots, at a time when there is still none.
If you are unlucky and find people even early in the morning. You can try to remove them from the scene by taking a long exposure. Using a photographic tripod and if necessary an ND filter, to further stretch the exposure beyond 10 seconds, you can make the movement of people make them invisible in the frame (of course we are talking about a few people and no crowds).
A great choice is also to wait for the sunset. Or the blue hour to take very impressive photographs during your travels. For photos in these particular moments, I recommend careful planning. The perfect light lasts a few minutes and you risk missing the moment if you are not prepared. But if you want to get great quality results, when there is little light, you will need to use good quality equipment.
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: LOCAL FOOD AND DRINKS
A great way to document local culture is to research and photograph typical local food and drink. Telling stories about the traditional food of the place can be fascinating and satisfying. A typical subject could be street food which can tell a lot about the history and traditions of a place.
Shoot food preparation scenes and moments of sharing, which are the most communicative and emotional ones. Even the details of the food placed on the counters or on a table can be excellent ideas for the creation of photographs that can give continuity to a photographic report.