Using Themes for Awesome Travel Photography


Travel photography can be overwhelming. Arriving at a new place, your attention is on overload—look at that! The temptation is to snap everything in sight, gorging the memory card with content. It’s fun to be trigger happy on a trip, but it can also be overpowering.

Even if your goal is to make images for the family slideshow, there are some themes that will help you organize your travel photography so you can more fully tell the story of a trip—a story with exciting content and composed of beautiful imagery.

Do Some Night Photography

I have a friend who puts away his camera as soon as the sun is sinking. But most cameras made after 2007 have really good ‘vision,’ meaning their sensors are able to ‘see’ in the dark and record clean enough images that can spice up your travel photo montage. So don’t put away your camera just yet when you see the sun setting. You might just get some amazing shots.

Bangkok street copyright Aloha Lavina

Photo by Aloha Lavina.

Take People Photos

Photos of people are some of the most interesting and memorable images of a place. It may be a little intimidating, but try taking photos of strangers, and when you do, try to tell their story. It helps to include a detail or two that contextualize the portrait: what do they do? Who are they with? The charm of a portrait is in its details.

Balinese dancer with Hanuman mask copyright Aloha Lavina

Photo by Aloha Lavina.

Catch the Fauna and Flora

Animals and flowers are great story bits. I was in Ayuddhya and visited the elephant camp there. As soon as I entered the camp, I spotted a baby elephant jogging around the compound, until he got tired and sat down.

baby elephant copyright Aloha Lavina

Photo by Aloha Lavina.

At another place in tropical Bangkok, there were these lilies all in a row, graceful and delicate in a shallow depth of field at a wide-open aperture.

xuan hue copyright Aloha Lavina

Photo by Aloha Lavina.

Make Some Documentary Images

Images that record events give a depth to travel photography. The story of work, for example, tells a lot about a place. What people value and how they interact with their environment are often revealed when we learn about how they work.

Balinese workers load a boat in the early morning light copyright Aloha Lavina

Photo by Aloha Lavina.

When we make travel photos, we also make our memories of that place tangible, a story captured that we can flip through, and withstand the passing of time.

About Author

Aloha Lavina is an Asia based photographer and writer whose photographs and writing have appeared in CNNTravel, Canon PhotoYou Magazine, Seventeen magazine, The Korea Times, and several books. You can see her work at her website and follow her on her blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *