6 Ways to Capture More Unique Travel Photos

There’s something to be said about having a nice collection of travel photos. They document not only your personal journey in other cities and countries, but also showcase the artistic side of your photographic abilities. 

1. Always Be Ready
You can’t take pictures if you leave your camera at the hotel! So the most fundamental thing is to bring your camera out with you. If a DSLR is too bulky, invest in a smaller point and shoot or micro 4/3 system. Not only do you need to bring your camera, you need to be ready to shoot. Many images happen spontaneously and disappear as fast as they appeared. If you’re too busy fidgeting around in manual modes and miss the shot – the moment is gone forever. Shoot in a mode that you’re comfortable with. 

If you are leisurely taking shots, shoot on Aperture-Priority mode and adjust the exposure compensation as needed. You may be more comfortable in one of the creative modes, which is perfectly ok! If you’re shooting in RAW, it will enable you to do some post work to process the image if it isn’t perfect straight out of the camera. Remember, it is better to capture an image slightly under or overexposed than it is not to capture an image at all.

2. Don’t Do What Others are Doing
Are you ever in a situation where you’re at a popular tourist attraction and everybody is jockeying for position to take the same picture from the same location and angles? Well, it doesn’t take a lot of creativity to find different shooting perspectives – you can go higher, find other angles off to the side or below, or incorporate other photo enthusiasts into your shot. You’ll find those types of images to be much more creative than ones taken from the most popular traditional angles and perspectives.

3. Do Some Research & Make Connections
It is a global world out there! Flickr and other photo sharing sites have made it easy to find interesting locations to shoot. You can search the most popular photos from a certain city or landmark and try to replicate or put your own stamp on some of your favourites. 

4. Take Risks
Often, taking calculated risks pays off! It is a simple risk/reward calculation that you have to consider. You really want to take that picture of an angry butcher at the market? Well, what’s the worst that could happen and is it worth the risk to you?  You need to ask yourself “how far will I go to get the shot?”

5. Get Off the Beaten Path
There’s nothing wrong with tourist sites! However, it does become increasingly difficult to get unique images from them. Luckily, it doesn’t take much effort to get off the beaten path. It could be as simple as getting out of your resort and visiting the local town, walking a few kilometres to another part of the beach, or doing a bit of research into some lesser known sites that you may find interesting. Getting off the beaten path even just a little can expose you to more unique and memorable experiences and some cool images too!

6. Take a Timeout
On extended travels or vacations, you may feel camera fatigue or a lack of creativity on certain days. Sometimes you’ll feel that picture taking is a chore you need to do! It should never be like that. Remember that you’re there primarily to experience another culture, its people and their city, photography should really be secondary. On days where you just don’t feel like shooting, trade your camera for your iPod and find creativity and inspiration in the lives that pass you by. One way to keep inspired is to do some volunteer photography work wherever you can. This could be something you run into coincidentally during your travels or prearranged with an NGO, charity, or other organization. 

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