Planning Your Travel Photos

 by Craig Ferguson www.craigfergusonimages.com

With summer coming up a lot of you are probably busy making plans to get away for a well-deserved vacation somewhere. I thought it would be useful to look at a few ways you can plan ahead of time to give yourself a greater chance of capturing some wonderful photos and great memories.It could be said that great travel photographs start long before the airplane is boarded or the camera picked up. What you do at home before you leave goes a long way to ensuring the success of your photography trip. One of the first things to decide is where to go. It sounds simple but it isn’t always. If you have family to consider, you need to choose a place that will appeal to them just as much as it does to you. What do you do when your wife wants to explore museums, daughter wants to go shopping, son wants to go scuba-diving and you want to photograph mountain landscapes? Are there any places that offer all those in the same location?

It could be said that great travel photographs start long before the airplane is boarded or the camera picked up. What you do at home before you leave goes a long way to ensuring the success of your photography trip. One of the first things to decide is where to go. It sounds simple but it isn’t always. If you have family to consider, you need to choose a place that will appeal to them just as much as it does to you. What do you do when your wife wants to explore museums, daughter wants to go shopping, son wants to go scuba-diving and you want to photograph mountain landscapes? Are there any places that offer all those in the same location?

Temple St night market in Kowloon has more than one hundred stalls seliing everything from clothes to watches to cheap secnd hand goods. The market is busiest around dusk, and is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Temple St night market in Kowloon has more than one hundred stalls selling everything from clothes to watches to cheap second hand goods. The market is busiest around dusk and is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to a particular city or country, it’s really time to start focusing on what you want to photograph. Presumably if you’re reading this you wish to do more than just take a few snapshots to record your trip. So how can you maximize your ability to be in the right place at the right time?

Like so much else these days, Google is the answer. Or at least it’s the starting point. Trip planning should start with a basic Google image search of the place you’re going to. Take note of what it brings up. Are there any particular scenes or subjects that keep appearing over and over again?

As you continue with your Google Images search, you may notice photographs from a particular festival or other special event. You can easily check into what these festivals or events are, and when they take place. If you can schedule your travel to coincide with these you may get to witness a unique event while at the same time getting some unforgettable photographs. Naturally if a particular festival is popular you may find that accommodation fills up quickly, and prices may be slightly higher than normal, but if it’s for a once in a lifetime spectacle it’s probably worth it.

Thailand Floating Market.

Thailand Floating Market.

Pay attention to what are basically the postcard shots. A lot of places have been photographed a million times, and are often seen on postcards, travel guides and the like. It’s easy to think of this type of photograph as something of a cliche but let’s face it – for most of us, when we go to a new place, we want to photograph that classic scene. You know what that classic photo is of but do you know where to go so you can photograph it for yourself? For some places, they are so well known and such a part of global culture that even without going to a place, you can have a pretty good idea of where it was photographed from. For every place like that though there are even more that are not such famous, and for those, time spent doing some pre-departure research is time well invested. Google Maps / Earth are great tools for this, particularly when used in conjunction with geotagged photos that can be easily found in places like Flickr. Once you have that classic postcard image under control, look around for some more unique ways to photograph the same thing. Something that stands out because it’s different.

Add in any photography you can do while your family are involved in activities, say photos in an open air market while your daughter is searching for bargains, or some casual street photography as you wander around town, or a beachside sunset as you enjoying a relaxing evening drink, and you may consider yourself to have a good selection of travel photographs.

You can see more of Craigs work at his website.

(Cover shot: Taleju Temple in Kathmandu’s world heritage listed Durbar Square. The temple dates back to 1564 CE.)

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