Travel the world and come back with a suitcase full of memories – all this only with your camera lens
Do you happen to remember the smell of a pretty flower you saw in the garden, the thrill of sitting in a roller coaster ride, the adrenaline rush you experienced during white water rafting, the fragrance and taste of local food and the warmth of the natives who gave you shelter? The photographs you click during your travel should bring these sensations back and help you share those fun-we-had stories with your loved ones. So how do you click the best shot?
You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved…
– Late American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams
For capturing a picture that comes alive every single time you look at it, you need to think and feel as much as you need to look.
My trick is to get away from all things familiar and comfortable. Get away from the crowd and tourist areas, wonder down valleys and streets, sit in a café and mingle with a local while sipping on a local drink and watch life pass by.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION
Firstly, think about what made you zero in on this destination? Whether it’s the beaches, snow-capped mountains, food, shopping, architecture or adventure; you’ll obviously want to photograph it. But there may be many more unknown and interesting aspects about the place.
Don’t pull the camera out of your bag as soon as you land at the airport or the railway station. Experience the feel of the place and try to note down your first impressions. What caught your attention? The way people dress, the smell, the weather. Think of ways you can creatively interpret these things through your pictures. Time spent in discovering the place will enrich your experience.
BOND WITH THE HAPPY LOCALS
If you love photographing people and their emotions, invest time in building a bond with the person you want to photograph. Even a simple smile can create wonders. It’s often a small gesture but it makes the person feel much more comfortable, thus making the image look alive. There’s an additional plus point too – it will also add to making your trip memorable.
To be a better communicator, read up on the customs and traditions of the place. Certain kind of behaviour is considered unacceptable in certain cultures and you’d definitely not want to be rude or offensive to anyone.
GOOD LIGHT EQUALS TO GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
Being at the right location at the right time can enhance the quality of your photograph. Wee hours of morning, late afternoons, dusk, fog, harsh sunlight – all can create dramatic shadows and bewitching effects. Your awareness and sensitivity to light is what makes the difference.
There are various ambient lighting conditions and it’s very important to know them well in advance. Get up early, stay out late and keep a tab on weather forecast, sunset and sunrise timings. This will help you make images with different lighting moods of the location. Post sunset, the light and hues are breathtaking if you are near a coastal area. You can make some interesting landscapes during this dusk hour.
Be flexible and ready to face unexpected situations like bad weather, transportation delays, etc. Don’t let rains ruin your plans. Use that day to scout breathtaking locations for the next day.
CARRY LESS, CAPTURE MORE
Travel light. Don’t carry unwanted stuff while you are capturing people, street or culture. The lesser you look like an outsider, the better images you can get.
To look like a normal tourist to the crowd and stay unnoticed, pack less and stay hassle free. Carry limited equipment – a DSLR, three lenses, an extra battery, a charger, a few memory cards and a cleaning kit. A compact camera or mobile phone can also be very handy. If you don’t get enough electricity, batteries can help you survive for a few days. Also, a lot of resorts have just one charging point, so it might be a good idea to carry a power chord for charging multiple gadgets at the same time. Carry extra memory cards, so that you can avoid carrying a laptop to transfer images.
If you are photographing while travelling in an open jeep or a bus, consider carrying few pillow covers with you. When you are not shooting, you can keep your camera inside this pillow cover to avoid dust.
SHOTS YOU MUST NEVER MISS ON A TRIP
- Passports and boarding passes
- Takeoff views
- Welcome signs or boards
- Unique architecture
- Traditional festivals and parades full of colour
- Open-air and flea markets
- City skyline
- Adventure sport
- Street food
- Locals doing their daily chores
- Cobblestone alleys and busy boulevards
- Fun modes of transportation
- Cool typography in a new language
- Seasonal landscapes
- Local birds and animals
- Sunsets and sunrises