Why I took lousy travel photos? Part 2 of 3

Why I took lousy travel photos? Part 2 of 3

Travel offers an opportunity for us to view a new place with a fresh pair of eyes. Part 1 speaks to the choice of gear if you are interested to read this article from the beginning.

Most people captured what they saw during the trip to share it with friends and families from home.  Instead of taking image that looks like thousand others and bored your audience to sleep, try some of these techniques to show how it felt like to “be there”:

  • Find a theme. For example, statues in Bali, people in China, food in Tuscany, etc. You can always expand the theme to the related subjects, such as adding the people element to your people theme by capturing what they do for a living.

    Maintenance crew at Great Wall (MuTianYu, China)

    Maintenance crew at Great Wall (MuTianYu, China)

  • Create moment. Yes, you may get lucky once a while with a great moment. However, to increase the occurrence of great moments, you need to be patience and anticipate the moment. In the image below, I noticed two men were repairing the fence around a historical building. I framed the shot and waited for a couple minutes for the workers to remove the decor. The unique decor and the word “FRANCE” stitched on one of the men’s vest identified the place and the people.

Parisians at Work

Parisian at work. (Paris, France)

  • Consider taking a variety of images from different viewpoints by kneeling, seating, laying down, jumping or even… running.


Roma vendors at Eiffel Tower

Running Vendor

Roma vendors running from authority. (Paris, France)

  • Keep an eye out for… something unusual.  I like to take a stroll early in the morning before the city comes to live – you can never quite expect what you will find. I was on the way back from San Marco Square in Venice when I saw a Gondolier polishing his boat, getting ready for the tens of thousands tourists flocking into the city within the next two hours. Always keep an eye out for something unusual and you will be rewarded.

    Gondolier preparing the boat for the day.

    Gondolier preparing the boat for the day. (Venice, Italy)

  • Ask. Praise. Or sometimes, a hand gestures. I do not have a talent for languages; therefore, I learned a few universal hand gestures to ask permission for photography. In some cases, people are more than happy to have their photo taken and showcase their best side.  Many people shy away from asking for permission to shoot. In that case, you will never find out what you have missed.

    Man with Cheese

    Cheese Monger (Paris, France)