19 Feb 2017

How to Take Better Travel Photos


Travel photography is a passport to meeting people and experiencing new cultures. It's an exciting and rewarding pursuit, and especially so when you are able to capture a rare moment. Some of the best pictures are by no coincidence. Preparation and good sense can get you just there!

Before you visit the country, research about the local customs, beliefs and the people. The more you know about the place, the more you can conjure up pictures that you want. Be creative and get inspired by reading up on travel magazines and checking up photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram for ideas.

Talk to the locals. Say Hello and Smile. Don't be shy about engaging them. Some of the ways you can do is to:

  • Tell them where you are from
  • What you like about their country
  • Express interest in what they are doing
  • Get them talking about themselves

Taxi drivers, for are full of information on where to go and what to eat. You might just be able to fish out some of the best photographic sites through them. 

Ask Permission
When taking portraits of the local people, be sensitive and ask for their permission. Learning to say 'Can I take your picture' and 'Thank you' in the local language helps.

If you engage them in a friendly manner, it's unlikely they will turn you down unless they are really camera-shy. It's also important to make photography not just about taking pictures but about giving back too. Show the person the pictures you have taken of them or teach them how your camera works. With children, they are usually more than happy to let you photograph them and are equally excited to view the pictures. You might even grab another great shot while they crowd around you! 

Have Patience
Some of the best pictures are a result of tremendous persistence and patience. Rather than going from place to place, stay at one spot to observe the surroundings. Test your camera settings so that you are ready to click when the right subject comes along.

If you can't find any inspiration, wander down the alleys and see where it leads. Sometimes, sitting at a café and people-watch is also a wonderful way to explore photography angles.

Be Respectful
If the place has no-photography or no-flash policy, adhere to it. Common places are temples, government buildings, and concerts. Where it is a private moment like a prayer session, we should respect the space and put our cameras away.

The same goes for natural habitats. Don't frighten an animal or damage a coral reef just to get a shot. Keep it natural.

Sometimes, you may find that there are many people waiting to photograph the subject, have the courtesy to give others a chance and you will be rewarded the same.

The camera is not just an extension of your eye but also your heart. While getting a good shot is important, be thankful for the opportunity to be where you are. Enjoy the moment, and let your photographs do the storytelling!