Travel Photography: On Assignment

Travel Photography (part 3 of 4)

You’ve made your plans, packed your gear, and now you’re landing on location. Here are some guidelines to for going about the best part of the process: making the images.
When you land in a new location for the first time, even seasoned travelers can have information overload. Our reaction to all the new sights, sounds and people is exhilarating, but in the worst cases it can cause us to forget basic photo skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through photos taken by my friends, even some professionals, who just got back from their first trip overseas. They are still riding an incredible emotional experience, and they want to show me all 3,478 photos they took. And 3,400 are pictures of themselves standing in front of monuments. Keep a clear head and come back with photos you’re proud to show off.

Look for a unique angle on local landmarks. Try to show the location. When my friends wanted to ride the London Eye, I suggested we get tickets for sunset. My battery died, so I took this photo with my pocket point-and-shoot that had slide film in it. In this case, the view of the next car was more interesting than our own.

Look for a unique angle on local landmarks. Try to show the location. When my friends wanted to ride the London Eye, I suggested we get tickets for sunset. My camera battery died, so I took this photo with my point-and-shoot that had slide film. In this case, the view of the next pod was more interesting than our own.

A. Determine in your mind what do you want to SAY with your photos. (more than just a mug shot)
B. Be sensitive, but not timid.
C. Respect others with your actions and images.
D. Take active, candid photos.
E.  Include wide locations and detailed close-ups.
F.  Option: If you’re traveling for a purpose like a volunteer project, it can be hard to juggle photography with other daily tasks. Choose one day to really concentrate on images.

Shooting Tips
Think in sequences:
1. Beginning, middle and end
2. Far, medium close
3. Series for Slide Show
For the love of God, please take photos of something besides dirty children mugging for your camera.

Take active photos of people doing real things. Your relatives can only stand so many photos of children, even cute ones. At a Celtic festival in France, this pipe band let me hang out with them. But the real moment came when I stepped back and let them interact with each other. This kid was adorable, but even cuter when the guys told him jokes to calm his nerves before the performance.

Take active photos of people doing real things. Your relatives can only stand so many photos of children, even cute ones. At a Celtic festival in France, this pipe band let me hang out with them. But the real moment came when I stepped back and let them interact with each other. This kid was adorable, but even cuter when his dad told him jokes to calm his nerves before the performance.

Exercise:
Practice taking photos of people who don’t speak English.
Practice taking a group photo.
Practice taking candid photos at the subject’s eye level.

To make group photos dynamic, find an interesting background. Put people on different levels instead of lining them up. In Assisi, Italy, my group was exploring a medieval castle. When they all popped up on a distant turret, I put on a long lens and made an international cell phone call to get them to look my way.

To make group photos dynamic, find an interesting background. Put people on different levels instead of lining them up. In Assisi, Italy, this group was exploring a medieval castle. When they all popped up on a distant turret, I used a long lens and made an international cell phone call to get them to look my way.

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About mcgillmedia

I take pictures and teach other people how to do it, too.
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