The travel photographer FAQ’s
What is travel photography?
Well that depends on whose asking and whose answering because there is no right answer. Look it up on the net and you will find various opinions. My take is that it’s a collection of several genres like landscapes, street, culture, nature, wildlife, black and white, people and so on. Most would say that the shots are from your travels away from home. But that means if I take an image of a cultural activity in my town then it’s not a travel photo but if a visitor from New York takes it then it is. Maybe then its the use of said image………..! Maybe we’re just over-thinking this. So anyway this is a beginning of a new series of posts that aim to help anyone interested enough to take better photos on their travels. Here’s a black and white ‘travel’ photo.
How do I get good shots of the locals?
Good question. It really depends on where you are and what shot you are after. Begin with making sure that your camera is ready for an immediate click! This is essential. Nothing worse than loosing a shot because you weren’t prepared. So lens cap off, camera on and the right settings in place, usually a wide aperture i.e small f stop. If you are after candid shots of people just going about their business then a reasonable size zoom lens is handy and usually if you are far enough away you probably won’t need to ask permission. If you are going to try and get close up then it really is courteous to ask permission and then you may need to have a chat to make them feel comfortable. The trouble then is that they will pose which is often not what you want.I take an initial shot of them posing and then continue chatting and taking pictures which tends to yield more relaxed portraits. Beware of cultural sensitivities – in some countries there’s a believe that you are taking away a part of their soul.
Why do my photos of landscapes look ordinary?
Ever taken a photo of a beautiful scene and found that even after you thought it looked OK in the rear screen, once it was displayed on your computer at home it looked nothing like you remember it. Usually that’s caused by a rush of blood to the head that tricks you into believing you can capture the scene before you (usually a landscape). Most common faults are that everything is too small, too much sky, too much foreground, e.g. grass, or it just looks uninspiring. When composing a scene look to use the rule of thirds and place the horizon carefully away from the centre either high if the sky is uninteresting or blown out and the foreground has some points of interest like interesting rock formations or place it low if the sky is full of interesting cloud formations or colour. Make sure the horizon is straight and if you have the sun at your back watch out for your shadow. Finally play around with different positions and zoom in and out.
Here’s an interesting landscape