When we think about traveling and trying to get the best photos possible, it turns out that we spend most of the time getting in our own way. We need to step out from behind the curtain and look at things a little differently to start capturing the moments. This will not be a list of all the gear that you need to have to take photos, nor will it be about settings. We all have the equipment, and you can only use what you have, so this is to help you get in the right frame of mind to start shooting better shots.
Get In The Moment
When we travel, we can overthink the process and miss out on moments because we were too busy fiddling with gear. We need to get in the moment that we are to appreciate it and present it to people. If you are in a crowded city, then get in that moment and see what you can find. People are running late for work, having lunch in the park, or even racing to catch the bus. These are all things that make the city that we are visiting tick. We can always go to the most popular place like a market place to find those moments that make for great pictures. So stop and take it in because the moments are around you and not in your camera bag.
When we are taking photos of people, it is always great to set up that shot and get that clean, crisp image to capture that moment. Have you ever thought of getting more candid when you are out and shooting in the world? We often mistake candid for bad because we aren’t in control of what is going on. However, it proves to give insight to the people in the area that you are visiting because it is them in the particular moment. If you are a street photographer, then you can appreciate the unscripted moments that make for a great image. Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect, and being able to capture candid moments will make you a better photographer.
Focus On The Interesting
You may think about this one and think, well, that isn’t an excellent tip. However, when we are focusing on the interesting, we open a new world of possibilities for our photography. If you are shooting a big event, it is often not the event that is most interesting. If you follow those that are participating in the event, you can find more exciting moments that will make for better shots. I’m not saying that the event is not essential, but if it is meaningful, the event will be the payoff at the end of the journey. So get out there and look for different ways to present what is going on because the final result is made up of a lot of tiny moments.
Get Some Local Input
A lot of times, if you chat up the locals, you will be able to find some hidden gems that you might not have known about. When you treat people in the area that you are visiting with respect, they will usually reward you with what they think is a great place to check out. This could be something that might not appeal to you in the long run, but getting some local input on the sites around will allow us to see the area from a different point of view. We are always trying to get the local flavor in our shots, so it just makes sense to ask for some input from those that know the area the best.
Tell A Story
When you are taking a photo, try and tell a story in it of not only what is going on but what you were feeling when you captured the photo. Think of it like you wanted someone to know exactly how you felt when you took that photo. We can do this by adding additional elements to the picture to help tell the story. We can also do this by zooming in on a subject to capture the emotion they are feeling. When you can tell a story in the photo, it will up not only your photo game but also your ability to share the location in a better way.
Shoot Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Get out of your own way and try some new things that you might not have thought would make a difference. When you get out of your comfort zone, you can find some fantastic results that you might not expect. I know that I hate shooting at night cause I don’t feel as comfortable when I go out. With that said, I try to get out much more often at night because it helps me getter better and give me more tools that I can use in the future. The best way to learn is when you are uncomfortable, so try and get out of your comfort zone and take some shots you don’t usually take.
Get Out In The Bad Weather
When you think about the weather, nobody likes to go out when it is rainy or when it’s just plain ugly outside. When you do, you can find a different side of the location that you are in. You will find a different vibe and overall feel where ever you are. When you get out in the bad weather, you will see places through different eyes, and weather makes for some dramatic photos. Weather rolling in on the city changes the whole perspective of that city, and you should be willing to get a little wet or uncomfortable to get the shot. Think about everything you are missing by staying in when you should be outside.
Treat Each Time Like It’s The Last Time
Early in my photography journey, I have made this mistake all too many times. We should treat each place like it is the last time that you are ever going to be there. We often think we can get that image the next time, but there is nothing like getting it in the moment. I wanted to take a photo of a shack on the side of the road one time, and I thought well I will just get it next time. I still regret not stopping and snapping the shot because the lighting was so good, and there was a bit of rain. All those elements would have made for a fantastic shot, but I was tired from the day and wanted to get back to the hotel. So don’t even let yourself not do what you want to do when you are in a location. The truth is that you may not ever get there again or have the same conditions again. So treat each place like you will never revisit it, and you will find that you will go out of your way to explore more.
So when you start getting out of your own way and looking at places with a different set of eyes, it will help you find better moments when you travel. Yeah, I could’ve talked about how we need to do our research and scout, but I wanted to touch on the more fundamental nature of the creative process. Sometimes when you do too much research and get out of being in the moment, you lose the ability to have that spur of the moment capture that will change the way that you view the world. So get out there and shoot. We are meant to be storytellers, so don’t let your story lack substance because you aren’t looking through fresh eyes.