Who doesn’t like to travel. Certainly none of the photographers I know. New experiences, new opportunities, new photos with which to bore the relatives on your return home.
But are they boring? Are they purely descriptive? This is where I went, this is what I saw, this is what I did. How many shots of London Bridge or the Opera House have you seen already?
So, then you go searching for the new angle and find another dozen or so photographers are also there. They must all subscribe to Light Stalking.
Here are some suggestions that might make your photographic experience just that bit more enjoyable as a photographer.
1. Create Interesting Content in Your Frame
Although there is a tendency in the excitement of the moment to get close and crop in the frame so you have no doubt what the subject is, you can always include the personal touch by including yourself or someone or something else in the foreground to add to the story and provide a viewing point for the viewer.
2. Get Some Detail
Someone famous once said: “If you’re shots aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”. Although, I suspect, this could be the cause of his very demise, it is worth considering if the territory is safe. How close? As close as you dare.
3. Don’t Stick to the Tourist Trails
Even when you are on a guided tour, watch for the opportunities to nick down an alley way or through a door. You don’t need to go far before you will find those little surprises that make a difference to a photographers day.
4. Walk Slowly
If you are still with the annoying relatives being led by the leader of Jacky Chan Tours who are intent on keeping a minute by minute schedule, hang back a bit. They’ll wait – you hope. In this way you can get in between the crowds and get the uncluttered shot of the dog in the ally you wanted.
5. Shoot the Crowd
When you visit the museums and galleries there is a temptation to shoot for the art work. Forget it. Go for the people looking at the art work. That’s where the interest is.
If you see a gathering crowd in the street, chances are there is something interesting brewing. Head straight for it. Become part of it.
Don’t forget all the things you read about in the photography mags or on Light Stalking. Shoot for texture, colour, tone, lines, curves and all the other elemnts of design. This is a place to practise your skills as well as apply them.
7. Have Your Camera Ready at All Times.
This shooting business should be so obsessive, people with whom you are travelling will have forgotten what you look like. Don’t worry about relevence or etiquette; just shoot and run.
8. Stretch Your Imagination.
Get closer, get dirty, get wet, get hot, get cold, get shouted at, get the photo.
As a photographer, what will probably make your trip memorable is you have come home with shots no-one else has. But just in case, make sure you have a few shots for the people who at least need a clue.
For those among you who like a postcard, all shots were taken in Vietnam over a 3 week period in January, 2013