Travel photography can be landscape photography if the travel destination is scenic and less traveled, but most of the time travel photography overlaps street photography, since it’s more about people and cultures.
Hometown Is Boring
This is probably one of the reasons travel photographers prefer to travel afar although shooting at home is the most economical; at home we tend to be blind to the beauty that surrounds us.
Photography is all about what’s in the photographer’s eyes, and when the photographer’s eyes become numb, it’s more difficult to capture the beauty, the unusual and the different.
When I first visit a place, I photograph every inch of it with excitement, but I find I photograph less when four seasons have passed and less and less as the years fly by. For example, do you still shoot your local food market, occasionally or even at all?
When I saw the ordinary scene of my home city on Rough Guides’ List “Best Places to Watch the Sunrise“, I felt such a pity that it could no longer touch me to the same degree it touches other people worldwide.
“Exotic” Photos Are Touristy
However, photographing in a foreign country could have its downside. It is very similar to dating.
When you first date someone, every part of her is fresh to you, but it’s actually not her true face. When you have been married to her for years, the novelty is gone.
When you first visit a new place, you’re a tourist. It’s indeed much easier to discover new things you don’t often see back in your hometown, however, you take the same touristy photos everyone else does.
If you stay in the same place for only a very short period of time and keep moving on to new places, it’s as if you were someone who constantly dates different people and who never settles down. You never go deeper into any one place and you miss the opportunities of discovering the true face of any one location.
Cultivate Your Eye
The key to refreshing your hometown in your eye is to cultivate your eye. In this excellent article, the author elaborates how to train your eye using the example of a supermarket.
The skill you will use to train your eye is to imagine yourself as a foreigner or even an alien from the past, or another planet. Then you may find the foods artificial and fake, not as natural as before, you may find the supermarket is colorful, full of billboards and pricing labels, you may find the shoppers are bored or excited, and you may notice the long queues and the overwhelming amount of choice for consumers.
On the other hand, if you prefer to “change the climate”, don’t mind travel expenses, and want to explore more of this world, Ed Graham has offered precious advice.
The Fewer The Better
Slow down, take fewer pictures and you might get better ones. By slowing down your pace, you experience more in your new location and you will recognize more scenes that are worth capturing.
This echoes the “touristy” point. The more time you spend, the more you observe, the less likely that you will take touristy photos.
Photographer Jason Row also shares tips on how to take a travel stock photo.
Shoot What Sells
If you want to fund some new equipment or to take a photographic trip, your goal is more marketing-oriented than leisure. Your chosen destination needs to be trendy while not too far away; somewhere magazines, newspapers or websites are likely to need images of. You also need to balance between budget and equipment to carry, money and passion.
Whether you shoot in your own city or travel to faraway places, if you know what to photograph, cultivate your eye and take time to work on each shot patiently, you will capture the land with a fresh eye yet without the touristy look.