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The one thing that I always wish for on any trip is more time, but I also think that no matter how long I have somewhere I will always wish I had an extra day, week or month.
As a photographer, you will rarely have the luxury of time, whether you are on an assignment or a personal trip. The reality is that there are so many things to photograph, in so many different way,s that you could spend a lifetime just photographing one city and get vastly different results every day. So making the most of your limited time is absolutely essential in maximizing the output of a trip.
On any given day you will only have enough time for a certain number of locations, so it is imperative to make the most of a scene and get enough saleable shots which are different enough from one another. This is even more important if you wish to make money from stock images with travel photography.
Research and planning can help immensely in ensuring that your time on location is well spent. But equally you will need to learn to think creatively on location to maximize the potential shots that are on offer. I try to get between four to six shots at any location which are different enough to send to my image libraries for editing (that doesn’t just mean vertical and horizontal orientation).
Here are a few tips to help you maximize a scene to get a variety of shots:
It might seem obvious but if you move around to different points around your subject it could give you a completely different view of the same subject. That could mean you photograph from higher up or even lower down if possible.
This will require a little bit of creative thinking but it could give you completely different photographs to what you already have. Look out for people or objects, such as flags, that you could incorporate into the foreground.
It’s incredible how different places look and feel at different times of the day. Go early morning for soft light and less crowds, and you get a tranquil feel. Or how about mid-afternoon with the crowds to show the chaos of a place. Catch the golden light late in the afternoon for a wonderfully warm photo.
You can do this in post production, but I’m a firm believer in getting the shot right as you take it, so experiment with the image framing. Put your subject on the left or right, or tilt your camera to add some diagonal lines to draw the viewer in. The way you frame your composition can give a completely different look and feel to your image.
It’s easy to forget to photograph the small details when you are in awe of that beautiful landscape or the famous landmark, but the details are what can really give your images variety. Whether it’s the detailed carvings, the ornate tiles, or the beautiful artwork, these details are what you may miss sometimes when you visit those famous landmarks. These sorts of images are also ones that Picture Editors find essential when laying out a magazine spread as they can be reduced in size to fit any space while still looking great. Some of my best selling shots are of these details!
This might sound strange, after all, if you are photographing that famous landmark or a beautiful landscape, why would you want to miss it completely? You should still take the pictures of the landmark or the landscape, but after you have got multiple shots of your main subject in the scene, start having a look around for other things that you can capture. It might be a beautiful autumn colour leaf on the ground or a street performer near the landmark. The aim is to try and maximize your output at every opportunity.
Remember that just a few additional shots at every location can add up over a trip and give you an extra load of saleable photos. But even the last shot should be good enough, and have enough thought put into it as the first one.
Can you think of anything else? What do you do to make sure you make the most of a scene? Share your tips and photos below.