Travel Photography

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Travel photography is a subcategory of photography involving the documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, customs and history. So this book gives a small introduction to a travel photography and tips to make your photography better.

Text of Travel Photography

  • Travel Photography

  • Robert Caputo

    As a 25-year veteran writer and photographer for Na-tional Geographic Magazine, Robert Caputos work has ranged from documenting traditional cultures and wild-life to covering wars, famines, and political strife. Assign-ments in Africa, Asia, South and North America included text and stories about the Nile, Congo, and Orinoco Riv-ers, the rehabilitation of orphan black bear cubs in New Hampshire, HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the Kingdom of Mus-tang, and an in-depth look at the Horn of Africa.

    During this time, he won awards from NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Pictures of the Year, Communication Arts, and The Society of American Travel Writers Foundation (The Lowell Thomas Award). Solo shows include Horn of Africa in Perpignan, Recent Works in Birmingham, Alabama, and Shoot to thrill at the Dela-ware Museum of Natural History.

  • Contents

    Itroduction to travel photography

    landscape photography tips

    Travel photography tips

    Portrait photography tips

    Adventure photography tips






  • Each place we visit has its own particular look, character, and ambiance. If we want photographs of our travels to be good and lasting, they should capture all of these qualities, and say as much about a place as give the literal look of it. We are unlikely to long remember the smell and buzz of a flower garden in spring, the awe of gazing for the first time at the mountain we intend to climb, the caress of a tropical breeze, the thrill of a huge roller coaster, the wonder of our first wild bear, or the adrenaline of rafting white water. Our photographs need to bring these and other sensations back, to trigger our memories, and to communicate how we felt to others. To do this, we need to think and feel as much as look when setting out to make photographs. First and foremost,

    think about what made you decide, out of all the places in the world, to choose this particular destination. What-ever it is the beach, the rides, the mountain, the galleries, the food obviously appeals to you. If it didnt, you wouldnt be going there. That site or activity (or inactivity) is one of the things you want to photo-graph. But there are probably many other interesting

    Travel Photography Robert Caputo


  • aspects of the place you may not be aware of. Thats where research comes in. Read brochures and travel books. Go to libraries, bookstores, or onto the Web. Talk to friends who have been there. Pick up travel information at the coun-trys embassy. Find whatever you can that is relevant, and devour it. Understanding the customs and traditions of a place is vital. For one thing, you want to be sure you act in a way that is not rude or offensive while you are there, and its hard to know whats acceptable and what isnt with some knowledge. It can also help you understand things people do that at first encounter you might consider incomprehen-sible or even horrifying. When you arrive at your destination, be open and try to take note of the first impressions write them down if you have to. (A notebook is an essential acces-sory for a travel photographer.) When you see a place for the first time from the plane window, or when you drive


  • around a bend and there it is, or as the ship nears some distant island how do you feel? Where do your eyes go first? What do you notice about the place right away? A smell? The heat or cold? Blistering sunlight? Mysterious fog? A par-ticular building or vista? The way people move? Their dress? Whatever it is, remember it. First impressions are invaluable sparks to creative interpretation, and by definition are not repeatable. Youve seen the place in pictures, youve read about it. Now youre there, and all your senses can partake. Get out there. The only way to discover the rhythm of life in a place, and so figure out what to shoot, is to experience it. Many places, particularly hot ones, are active very early in the morning and late in the afternoon but rather in a lull around midday. Get up early, stay out late. If you are on a


  • tour that is scheduled to leave the hotel or ship at 9:00, get up well before dawn. Wander around before meeting up with your companions. If the tour goes back to the hotel or ship for lunch, dont go with them. Rather than take the bus back at the end of an afternoon tour, hang around until af-ter sunset and then take a taxi. Use any spare time to get out and look for photographs. Besides availing yourself of more opportunities, time spent discovering the place will enrich your experience. Get lost. Wander down alleys. Sit in cafs and watch life pass by. Dont eat where the tourists do, but where you see locals. Just set off down a street and see where it leads. Look around the bends, over the rises. Get away from the crowd. If you meander away from the tourists and tourist sites, away from what is too familiar and comfort-able, its much easier to adapt to the rhythm of a place, and to be more observant.


  • Travel photography is a subcategory of photography involving the documentation of an areas landscape, people, cultures, customs and history. Each place we visit has its own particular look, character, and ambiance.


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    Travel Photography


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  • Keep your eyes open and camera ready as you head out into the world. Architecture, colors, and mountains all give us a sense of place.

    Dont be shy about photographing people. The ways they are dressed and the ways they behave can help your images convey both the look and feeling of differ-ent seasons in different places.

    The Internet offers a great way to do research. Search for both information and pictures of the place youre going. Good research helps you save precious time on your trip.

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  • Carry a notebook that fits easily into your camera bag, and take notes about both what you want to photo-graph and what you already have. When you cover a lot of subjects, its easy to forget.

    Getting lost is a great way to meet people. Dont be shy about asking for directions.

    When packing gear for a trip, carefully consider each item. When was the last time you used it? Are you re-ally likely to need it? If the answers are a long time and no, leave it behind. You dont want to be overbur-dened with equipment.

    Quite often, foreground elements are low to the ground. You may have to squat or lie down to get them properly placed in the frame.

    Be patient and friendly with customs and security in-spectors at home and abroad. They have a difficult job, and getting impatient with them usually means it just takes longer.

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  • Travel Photography

    Get creative...


  • Travel Photography

    Wherever you go, be on the lookout for humour you can incorporate into your photographs.

    Practice and experimentation are the keys to doing anything well. Try different compositional techniques on your family and friends and study the results before you set off on a trip.

    Dont be shy about photographing people. The ways they are dressed and the ways they behave can help your images convey both the look and feeling of differ-ent seasons in different places.

    Practice motion photography at home before you leave. Go to an amusement park with rides, a race track, or even a nearby highway. You dont want to waste pre-cious time on your trip learning.


  • Travel Photography

    When you are on a trip, make an effort to get ahead of your companions so you can photograph them in the environment. Go in the first raft, on the first bus, or whatever, and shoot back.

    Check the weather forecast in the local media as soon as you arrive somewhere so you can make plans for sunny, cloudy, or rainy days.

    If you are without a tripod but want to shoot with a long shutter speed, set your camera on your camera bag, bundle up your jacket into a pillow, and use that there is always something you can use for support.


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    Use some distinctive feature of the place you are visit-ing as a silhouette against a rising or setting sun. The sun itself is too hot to photograph unless it is masked by haze or some object


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  • Landscape photography is a genre in-tended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. This popular style of photography is practiced by profession-als and amateurs alike


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    Landscape Photography


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  • Take time to explore. Part of the joy of landscape pho-tography is being out in nature. Wander around and get a sense of the place. It will take time and patience to discover the best way to show what makes it unique.

    Lens flare can be a problem with wide lenses. Use your hand or a piece of cardboard to screen the lens from the sun but keep the screen out of the frame.

    Visualize your photograph. Create the image in your mind the way a painter would create it on a canvas. Then think about the time, light, and composition that will translate what you see in your mind into a photograph.

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  • Its much more fruitful to spend time on one or two locations than to race around. A great shot of one place beats several mediocre ones of many. Such an approach allows you to be creative. Once you have re-corded the image you were thinking about, try some-thing different. Climb a tree, wade out to the middle of a stream, use a flower or ot