Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stop Taking Boring Travel Photos


Why is it that most travel photos are mind-numbingly boring?

If you've ever seen the TV show The Simpson, you've probably seen the characters of Patty and Selma.  They really enjoy travel, and they really want to show their photos. 


The other Simpson characters dread these photo slideshows, because the photos are  dreadful.  Sound familiar?

Though I'm not a great photographer, I have had the opportunity to take a lot of photographs from all over the world, and I've tried to learn from my mistakes.  Hopefully these tips will help you avoid them all together.

Get the Required Shots, But Add a Twist


I'm pretty sure that everyone who goes to Paris is required by law to take a shot of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Seine River.  These shots are the ones say "Hey, I was really there!"  But, unless you do something different, these are also the shots that people will skip over quickly.
My photo of the Eiffel Tower. Not bad, but not great.

To add a twist, take the shot from another angle. Get high, get low, get near, get far, but don't be boring.

Finding a way to show off the scale of your subject, like this photo, is a good way to add a twist.



Placing a famous landmark in the background can force the viewer to do a double take.

But Don't Forget the Hidden Gems


But you should also research some of the ‘hidden gems’ in the location you will visit. One of the best tips for great travel photography is to know as much about the location you are visiting before you leave.

Some of the best photos are of hidden gems you'll have to hunt for.

There are many web sites that are dedicated to novice traveler reviews and photography, so you can get some tips on some of the best places to enjoy while you are there. Making sure that you go to memorable locations will ensure that you return home with incredible pictures and memories of your trip.

Take Note of Local Customs And Traditions


You should also study some of the customs and traditions of the location you are visiting. Some of the best photographs can be taken during ceremonies or special occasions that are specific to your travel destination.  

I took the photo below while in the Republic of Georgia during their Independence Day parade a few years back. The men were happy to pose for the photograph, though it did take a few attempts to communicate what I wanted.

Native Dress in the Republic of Georgia

Many experienced photographers express that this is one of the best tips for great travel photography because customs and traditions are specific to the site you are visiting and the memories are irreplaceable. If you take photographs of these special events, you will wind up with unique photographs that show the true experience of your trip and the people you encountered.

 

Don't Forget the People


Make sure to get some photographs of the people you are traveling with and the people you encounter along the way. Many people make the mistake of just photographing scenery, and then they return home disappointed that they forgot to take photos of themselves at incredible sites or their family members or friends enjoying the trip.  

Don't forget to take pictures of your travel companions.

Traveling is one of the most rewarding gifts that we can give ourselves and the memories can last a lifetime. To help remember those moments and to share your experiences with others, use these tips for great travel photography to ensure that you take photos that will help you relive the magic of your trip throughout your life.