Travel Photography – A skill yet to be mastered


Its been long since I have written anything on photography on this blog, and now I am here

Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of ph...

Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of photography (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to pen down certain thoughts on Travel and Street photography. Over last few years, I have tried several genres of photography including macro, monuments, portraits, wildlife etc. and the one which I feel I am not good in and struggled a lot is with Travel photography, Street photography and Environmental portraits. Over last weekend I stumbled upon a you tube video lecture by Ashok Sinha on travel photography and here are certain learnings and key takeaways to practice in this genre.

Travel photography is one of the most challenging genres of photography and probably falls in same quadrant as wedding and street photography. The challenge in this type of photography is to get the right shot, both technically and aesthetically. There is definitely a luck factor included to be at right place at right time to get that right shot, but it’s also about the approach and your individual qualities, about being able to sense the place, culture and people turning this even more challenging.

So, what is that one should always keep in mind while shooting on travel…….

1. Do not shoot ambiguously each and everything. Just think why you want to shoot a particular picture and what is the communication you intend to provide.

2. To get aesthetically correct pics, you need to understand… understand the culture, people and environment. There can’t be a good pic unless it conveys a story

3. Walk around the place before you start shooting, if possible come back again to same place.

4. Dont crib about bad weather, bad light, washed out sky etc., yes these are constraints, but good travel photographers have won over these by working with patience and changing odds in their favor.

5. Appreciate what the place is all about, observe what is happening around, a good shot is the one which can capture the true essence of the place, people. Appreciate the surroundings whether they are dirty, chaotic, cluttered, beautiful, crowded, secluded or whatever. Things may be of not your liking but that’s not the idea, rather the idea is to capture the essence of surrounding.

6.  In every photograph, human element is a must. Yes, do not forget to include human beings. Too many people or a single person, that’s something you need to decide based on what you are shooting.

7. Shoot from varied angles but not from human eye view. Shoot from hip, or get high, or get very low. This will actually create a lot of impact to the photos.

8. Try not to shoot postcard photos, they are already available for few cents. The idea of getting a different perspective is very important. There are millions of photographs of any monument say Taj Mahal, but what needs to be seen is how differently you can shoot the same monument. Some examples could be to include humans in foreground / background doing something, include human to bring the effect of scale or perspective.

9. Shoot in layers. Try to bring different elements in the frame. A frame can be divided into separate 3 -4 layers. Try to place something striking is in each layer. Example, some elements in foreground, middle of the frame and background of the frame or on the right side of frame or left side of frame or in the sky or in reflections

10. Keep in mind rules of photography like rule of thirds, leading lines, composition techniques, geometric patterns, shapes and effect of lights.

11. Frame your scene and wait for the right moment. Look into your frame and think what more addition or deletion or different placement can bring an impact. Remember patience is key. A lot of patience is needed, a lot….

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