Ways To Make Your Travel Photography More Authentic
It's no secret that my biggest passions in life include photography and travel. So when I can combine them together, I’m living my dream life.
I've traveled quite a few places while placing a large emphasis on travel photography (from a Western road-trip to Iceland) and I've learned quite a bit. For instance, I’ve learned that travel photography is so much more than just whipping out your camera whenever you see something pretty.
Here are some tips that could help make your travel photography easier, more effective, and most importantly, more authentic:
Batteries Will Give You Life…Literally
Whenever you’re traveling, you might spend all day or even days without an opportunity to charge your devices or batteries. That’s why it’s always important to make sure your batteries are fully charged. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times, I’m excited to snag a perfect photo, only to realize that my battery has died and I forgot to charge my other ones. I know, so embarrassing. But everything happens for a reason and I’ve learned from my mistakes so you don’t have to.
Even if you've charged your batteries before heading out, it’s always a good idea to buy one or two back-up batteries that are always fully charged so if your battery does run out, you have something else to fall back on. This is especially important if you’re also taking video, as that eats up the battery more quickly.
Make Your Camera Accessible
While traveling, having your camera on you at all times can become a chore, even though it's very crucial, especially if you want to capture candid and unexpected moments.
If you’re using a full-body camera, invest in a good camera strap that wraps around your neck or torso, so you just have to lift the camera to snap the photo instead of having to dig through your bag to find it. I use a strap from Peak Design that allows for the camera to pivot easily around your body, which really helps with comfort and eases accessibility. They also have a clip that you can attach to your backpack that allows you to have your camera on your shoulder at all times.
Shooting Landscapes and Cities
Whenever you’re shooting landscapes, use a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the scene as possible and the scale as well.
Also, play around with angles and framing n order to provide perspective to your photo. A lot of times, we can see a mountain that’s so grand in real-life, but a photo may make it look like a tiny hill. But that doesn’t have to the be the case. Having an object in the forefront of the frame can create a strong depth-of-field and provide the viewer a sense of scale.
If you’re trying to capture a person in a place, make sure you have a good balance in the photo between the person and the scene. If you’re taking a portrait, make sure the photo isn’t just focused closely in on their face. If that's the case, then the background might not be seen and it could take away the feel that this portrait was captured while traveling as opposed to your own backyard. Make the photo about the person in that space and not just about the person.
If you want to photograph strangers, ask their permission, especially if you want to shoot them up close. Be kind, respectful, and conscious of the culture everywhere you go.
Get To Know the Place
In order to create the most authentic travel photos, it’s important to spend time really getting to know the place you’re visiting and the people and culture of that area. If you want to take your travel photography above and beyond just capturing you standing in front of touristy places, truly take the time to get to know the culture beyond the tourist attractions. This might mean researching the place extensively beforehand or it may mean spending an extended period of time in that place. To be honest, this is something I could work on because I haven't always had the luxury of having this time.
It may take a while, maybe even more than one trip, to truly understand, connect with, and be able to effectively tell the story of the place. Take the time to talk to people instead of just asking to take their photo. Get to know them first and have genuine conversations before even asking for their photo.