“What I would do,” I explain to Richard, a workshop participant, “is capture a variety of angles. Try walking completely around the Moai statue and shooting every perspective.”
I’m teaching a photo workshop with Photo Quest Adventures on Easter Island, and we’re spending our first day exploring. Fighting jet lag and turning on the creative genes is the challenge of the day. Our goal is simple: produce a nice travel portfolio of our trip.
“Shoot the obvious iconic landmarks,” I continue to tell Richard, “but always stay aware of your intuition and the subtle moments. And look for interesting light.”
Almost every photographer takes travel images. From short weekend getaways to weeks abroad in exotic locations, photographers are snapping away during their travels. When we get home, we make friends and family suffer through agonizing slideshows showing us in front of every statue, building and vista—not good. True, you’ve taken some nice snapshots and recorded some good memories. These are fun scrapbook images you’ll cherish down the road.
How about keeping your slideshow audience on the edge of their seats with graphic, punchy images? Capturing dynamic travel images takes work and planning, but in the end, you create a strong mix of shots that not only records your travels, but also keeps your friends and family engrossed. Take your travel photography to the next level by trying some of these techniques.
RESEARCH THE LOCATION
To maximize your photo opportunities, research the destination you’re visiting before you leave home. What are the iconic landmarks, and when is the best time to photograph them? Since I often travel with my family, I get up early in the morning to photograph an area. The light is better, the streets are sleepy, and I’m not disrupting a family vacation for photography.
Are there any festivals? Road races? Farmer’s markets? I research my destination to find out what notable features are in the area. Why do people visit this location? International trips add a new layer of planning and organization to capture strong travel images. Language barriers and cultural differences may present unique challenges in “getting the shot.” Be respectful, and ask for permission to photograph people. A simple gesture to your camera will tell someone you want to take their picture.