A Quick Word About Travel Photography

 

OK, here's the thing: I'm seeing way too many selfies and pictures of people in front of famous landmarks or buildings on travel and photography blogs and that's fine but let's try to do something different, OK?

When we travel to a country we also want to learn about the culture and the food and meet the people. Yeah sure, we visit the famous places, landmarks, beaches and what not but you won't see any pictures of us in front of a building or monument on this blog. Through my photography I want to show a country and its people, the atmosphere, the chaos, the beauty as well as the ugly... I'll tell you how you can start doing this really simple without writing a photography guide.

UPDATE: I decided to write down some proper travel photography tips with examples after all...

 How buildings and people relate to each other always does great in pictures. Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo.

How buildings and people relate to each other always does great in pictures. Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Street Photography vs Travel Photography

A good way to make a portrait of a country is shooting the streets and if you think about it; a lot of travel photography is street photography and vice versa. Both styles merge into each other pretty well and the streets of a country will tell you a bunch of things. How people live, how they dress, what they eat, how they build, how they move from one place to another, ... it tells you almost everything about a culture and its people; also the uglier facts. Why not focus on that a little bit more? Get some depth in those travel pictures you shoot.

 People in action are an easy subject to start with. Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

People in action are an easy subject to start with. Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

And the interesting part is that whatever my pictures show you will be different from what your pictures will reveal about a country. Each photographer or traveler has his own way of framing and filtering when walking on the streets. Each has their own focus and style.

How to start

The good thing about street photography is that you don't need much. A phone with a camera and you're set. You can start roaming the streets and take pictures. A rule that you'll hear from most street photographers is: GET CLOSE. And it's true that getting close will result in interesting pictures but when it's your first day on the streets you'll be hesitant to get really close to your subjects.

The solution? Start from a distance. Just don't use a long zoom lens and start taking pictures like a creepy paparazzo. It shows! A medium-wide fixed lens like 35 or 50mm is perfect. What you have to do is look for interesting compositions with backgrounds and buildings. Look for great light or colors. Make sure something's happening in your pictures and there don't have to be people in every picture.

 Scene from a distance. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Scene from a distance. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 Look for colors. Bangkok, Thailand.

Look for colors. Bangkok, Thailand.

Just because getting close is a general rule, doesn't mean photos taken from a distance aren't interesting. As you get more comfortable you can go closer and closer. Just be confident and don't snap and run. People will sense your sneaky behavior instantaneously. Take your time if you can when setting up for a shot.

Action

A subject that's easy to start with is people who are doing something interesting. It's easier to take their picture because they're busy and are less likely to pay attention to you. Again, be confident when taking the picture.

 People that are busy pay less attention to you. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

People that are busy pay less attention to you. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Events

Another good idea is to shoot events or festivals. It's busy already and you'll be more comfortable taking pictures because you won't stand out as much. Also, if you frame well, one picture can result in a great scene with lots of action going on. Check out the master Martin Parr for that.

@theworldaheadofus

Ok, this blog post isn't about telling you what to do neither is it a travel photography course. I just want to see more pictures about the actual country you visit and less selfies, no matter how good looking you are. So, if you want to try something different please let us know by showing us you best travel/street shots on instagram! Use hashtag #theworldaheadofus