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Travel Photography Inspiration Project: India

Welcome to the first installment in the long term DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project. We start our world travels in India. The response to requests for photos was highest for this county more than any other and what a fine group of samples were sent! I asked each participant to not only include a photo or three, but asked them to help other photographers with tips for taking the same type of photo or about travel to India in general. All photos are copyright their respective owners. If you like what you see, follow the links with each photo to learn more about the photographer.


The Two Faces Of Life by Lila Braga

Took this picture when visiting Agra,just outside the great Taj Mahal. After a few minutes observing this lady I decided to ask for her permission to take her picture,she smiled and  then looked right at my pointed camera .The Indian people love to have their pictures taken,they are not shy about it too! Kids will approach you when they see your big camera,and often ask for you to take their picture.But just to be on the safe side, always take a few rupees with you ,as many Indians are very poor and sometimes very greedy too.I had a bad experience once and all that was needed to fix it was a few rupees…Beware of pickpockets too,be careful and do not go anywhere alone caring money and a fancy camera.And specially be very cautious in Agra as the locals are very aggressive towards photographers!


The Town, The Lake and The Mountains.. Pushkar by Sreenivasa Sudheendra

Nestled in the middle of the western ghats is the holy beautiful city of Pushkar. Captured in the magic hours, just before sunset is this panaroma of three pictures. If you are a foodie, this place has some of the tastiest ones for you.


This is the statue in Gyarah Murti, Delhi, depicting Mahatma Gandhi leading the Dandi March against British salt taxes. Photo by Nick Hine.

This is one of those happy accidents. The photo was taken from a taxi on the way to the airport. There is so much to see in India, and typically famous landmarks or interesting sights are mixed in with the mundane and the daily life. I always have a compact camera ready for these moments.


The Early Fisherman gets the Fish by Mukundh B

A group of  fishermen trying out their nets in motorized wooden boats at Elliots Beach, Chennai

Travel Tip: December/January/February is the prefect time to visit Chennai and Tamil Nadu for foreigners. No rains plus warm weather (cold for us though).


Varanasi by Hari

Chaos, chaos and more chaos! And then you find a serene river – the holy Ganga – silent and majestic. One of the holiest cities in India, with a certain aura of its own, Varanasi pulls you back to it again and again. You go once, you are addicted, with the tiny winding allies of one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Ganja smoking, fierce looking but friendly ‘Sadhus’, who might invite you to take a toke from their ‘Chillum’ – Varanasi is a piece from another era. You go there and forget that there is a life and world for you outside it.

1. The Look - Amber, India - Copyright 2011 Ralph Velasco

The Look at Amber Palace by Ralph Velasco

Tip: Look to capture everyday life, people just doing what they do, whether it’s sweeping a palace, standing in a doorway or smoking a cigarette.


Boatman Varanasi, 2006 by Alexandre Ayer

A boatman waiting for customers to cross the Ganges River, Varanasi (Benares), India, 2006.

When visiting Varanasi, you will se that the city is built on only one side of the river. Taking a boat to the other side will not only provide a good overall view of the city, but it is also a place where locals go to have fun, fly kites, a cup of Chai, a picnic… Many photo opportunities !

Mandvi Beach of Kutch - Gujarat - India

Mandvi Beach of Kutch – Gujarat by Bhaumik D. Vasavada

Kutch is 2nd largest constituency after Leh Ladakh in India. It occupies 23% of Gujarat state.  It also has seashore on its west side. In North West, it touches Pakistan border and in North Rajsthan state.There is a white desert located in Kutch and it’s beauty is mind blowing which you can see from the photo itself.Every year in the month of December from day before the full moon night , ‘Rann Utsav’ (Desert Festival) starts and lasts more than a month. It starts with inaugural Kutch Carnival in which many traditional and theme dances performed.


Bhaja Caves by Dev Wijewardane

The photograph shows a section of the Bhaja caves complex (2nd Century BC Buddhist temple) which is close to Pune in Maharashtra.

Because there is such a lot to see in India, do your research before you head over on holiday and know exactly what you want to see.

Remote corner of Varanasi

Untitled by Charlotte Jalvingh

Step of the ‘tourist trail’ and duck into little alleys; you might be surprised what you find.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in some pictures as well. Don’t become annoyed but try to make a deal: picture of me for you, picture of you for me.

Hattu _600

HImalayan Dusk_A view from Hattu Peak, Narkanda , HImachal by Nikhil M.

The Hattu Peak with an altitude of 3136mts from sea level provides the excellent view of the dense forest and the mighty Himalayan range that is snow laden.


Two camels rest peacefully with a glorious sunset in the background (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India) by Sergio Burani

I was in the desert near Jaisalmer, in Rajasthan, India, near the border with Pakistan.  The sun was setting rapidly. I saw these two camels with a gorgeous background.  I was rapidly running out of light and the two camels were not cooperating: they were looking in different directions. I was seconds away from losing the sun behind the horizon, when the two camels decided to gift me with their perfect position, for me and for you to enjoy.

I learned my lesson: in order to make excellent photos you indeed need technical skills, but also patience and trust that the situation will ultimately evolve in the direction you want.

A kaleidoscope of colours

A kaleidoscope of colours by Akshay Jain

2. Waiting on a Train - Old Delhi, India - Copyright 2011 Ralph Velasco

Waiting on a Train – Old Delhi Train Station by Ralph Velasco

The Old Delhi train station is full of photo opportunities like this.  I chose to stand off to one side and let life happen in front of me, and I was ready to capture it when it did.


Train, Ahmedabad, 2006 by Alexandre Ayer

Passengers brushing their teeth with the local equivalent of a toothbrush in a train in Ahmedabad station.

If you have time, travelling by train in India is a fascinating experience. It is slow and sometimes uncomfortable but provides great opportunities for meeting people and observing daily life by the tracks. Be weary of your belongings though, as night trains are a favorite shopping place for pickpockets.

3. Through the Screen at Humayun's Tomb - Delhi, India - Copyright 2011 Ralph Velasco

Through the Screen at Humayun’s Tomb – Delhi, India by Ralph Velasco

Look for interesting silhouettes that will allow you to incorporate what I call a “human touch.”  Instead of a standard silhouette of this hand carved screen at Humayun’s tomb, I looked for an opportunity to incorporate some people into the scene which makes for a more interesting image.


Taj Mahal, Agra, 2006 by Alexandre Ayer

Early morning light at the Taj Mahal, Agra.

Only a 2-hour train ride from Delhi, Agra and it’s famous Taj Mahal is a favourite destination for travellers. Entrance to the compound is about 15 US$ (better to purchase it 24 hours in advance) and you might be charged a little extra for carrying a DSLR camera. Make sure you get there before it opens (it can get quite crowded) so you can be the first person there. You will enjoy the beautiful morning light reflecting on the white marble structure, and your photos will be free of tourists.


Family In Front Of The Taj Mahal by Peter West Carey

Look for different views of the classic icons, including the Taj Mahal. This family is taking a portrait on an onyx thrown once used by royal leaders and I took the shot while thinking my day was done. Stay alert.


Symmetry – land and people by Andrea Westwood

Pushkar is a small city with limited hotel accommodation, and it is wise to book in advance, since the place is inundated with people for the festival. It is a pilgrimage place for Hindus, with the only Brahma temple in India, as well as livestock traders and foreign tourists.

Travel Photography Inspiration Project: India

Bustling city streets of Mumbai by Adil Ansari

Why to visit Mumbai: The sea town has a lot to offer, ranging from the Gothic/Victorian architecture to the most prolific film industry in the world.

For more information on how to have your shots considered for the next country, check out the original post here.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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