If you don’t want your travel photos to look exactly like everybody else’s there are a few things you can try to spice them up. The best way to do this is to think outside of the box when it comes to travel photography.
When we visit new destinations, we’re usually interested in taking shots of famous sites, attractions, buildings, and monuments etc. We’ve usually seen these images hundreds of times before in books, on TV, and over the internet.
Because we’ve seen these images so many times before most people like to take them for themselves. It’s quite understandable, but by digging a little deeper you’ll likely be able to capture the essence and soul of your destination. You may see things on vacation that you don’t see at home or seem a little out of place.
For instance, in many European cities you may find well-dressed businessmen and women riding bikes or scooters to work or absolute chaos on some of the bigger traffic circles. You could see the same people at a certain establishment every day or some of the location’s unique cuisine. Every city seems to have its own special atmosphere.
You can always take a photo of the Colosseum in Rome, but does it really represent the country better than an old lady hanging out the washing on her apartment balcony in the middle of the city or school-age children kicking a ball against their house door on a narrow, cobblestoned street?
The same goes for London. Sure, you could snap a shot of Big Ben, but hasn’t everyone seen Big Ben before? Though it sits above the city as a symbol of it’s history it also sits above the actual lives and stories carrying on in the city. How much more memorable would it be to capture a conversation between two of London’s punk underground. If you take a city break to Bath next door, don’t waste time taking pictures of the Royal Crescent when they’re already plastered on every postcard in every Bath souvenir shop. Instead look to the people down the street and the stories they’re acting out.
While it’s impossible to travel back in time by a century or two and take photos of historical sites, most old cities still have enough old sites for us to capture on camera. However, just because a destination has a rich history it doesn’t mean you should forget about the present. While looking into the past you may miss out on a fascinating scene today.
If you’re interested in landscape photography while on vacation, you can always take traditional sunset shots. But if you’d like to try something a little different, you can focus your camera on the local countryside or architecture and capture the effect that the sun has on the scene as it’s going down. This can be done if you have a couple of hours to spare.
Focus on a particular scene and take the exact same shot in 15-minute intervals. The best way to do this is to use a tripod so the camera doesn’t move. You’ll be amazed at the difference the sun has on the images when you view them side by side. The colors will typically change as the time goes by and the results will be both colorful and interesting, especially when they’re framed next to each other.
Another favorite for travel photographers is to capture images of the local residents as they go about their daily routines and life. While the buildings and monuments may be the most recognizable landmarks of a destination, it is the people that truly make them all unique. It’s always a good idea to visit a busy area such as a town square or shopping district and take the time to enjoy some people watching as they interact with their hometown.
Remember, every picture tells a story, and if you can tell your viewers the story behind each photo with the image itself, then you’ll have some excellent travel shots.